May 14, 2022. Our fifteen year anniversary of the GOC. Can you believe we have been here for 15 years? We had a Founders Luncheon to celebrate. Many of the people who brought the GOC to Gainesville attended. In 2007, there was only one other mental health Clubhouse in Florida at the time. Somehow, these founders had the wisdom and foresight to say we needed just a thing in our community.
A Mental Health Clubhouse helps adults living with chronic mental illness get back into the community and find jobs. It is peer recover, and Members gather a lot of their strength from each other. Members learn they are not alone, and they see many other people with significant mental illness taking steps forward in their lives.
In attendance were people like the Stevens family. Bruce and Joan Stevens helped bring the GOC here, in part, for their son David. David was one of our founding Members. Sue Eichner, who had a very long career at Meridian attended. She recognized for many years that the Gainesville, area needed this type of service. Terrie Mullin, and her daughter Alexis were involved. Alexis was another founding GOC Member. Other long-time Board members such as Trish Sokol, Jodi Irving, Markus Dietrich and others attended.
Mike Demers was our first Executive Director. He moved from Massachusetts to take the helm. Mike Demers as a long history with Clubhouses and is well known in the International Clubhouse Community. Mike had visited Gainesville because he had family nearby. He recognized this community needed a place like the GOC.
The GOC struggled for many years, as we tried to acquire sustainable funding. We persevered through the tough times, and are now stable and poised for more growth.
Thank you to everyone involved in our founding, and our founders luncheon.