Gainesville Opportunity Center serves area clientele who are experiencing persistent mental illness. GOC is an evidence-based mental illness rehabilitation/recovery “community-reintegration through work partnership” that emphasizes client/member work, participation, and choice. Client/members and staff work side by side together as colleagues to accomplish work and goals, and to offer a variety of opportunities for social interactions. Members live independently outside the organization in their own apartments or residences. The model originated in New York City, and there are now over 300 clubhouses worldwide. Our Members demonstrate that people with a persistent mental illness can successfully live productive lives and work competitively in the community, regardless of the nature or severity of their illness.
The model adopts a “people first” philosophy such that individuals with a major mental illness can be great contributors to society with support. The priority is to change old perceptions of people with a mental illness as being clients or consumers of services in need of help, and to not focus on the illness. There are no chart reviews, and for the most part you will know an individual’s illness only by their disclosure. There are no medication clinics on site, no psychotherapy, nor group therapy per se although the paid staff can help members with transportation and encouragement regarding these outside supports and psychiatric treatment plans.
Communities like Alachua county include many individuals who are eager to work, but who have mental illness disabilities that are stigmatized and therefore contribute to isolation. Research demonstrates that recovery/rehabilitation from the major mental illnesses is grounded on self-empowerment derived from meaningful work.
This is a UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY for the traditional rehabilitation, mental health, or psychology student. The Clubhouse model is a highly successful evidence-based model in a not-so-traditional setting. The nature of a clubhouse is ‘you never know where the day will take you’.
Interns are responsible for helping GOC members in coordinating daily on site meals, picture-taking, video and other media projects, producing a newsletter, posting to social media, promoting health and wellness, walking our beautiful neighborhood, organizing social activities and fundraising, as well as over-seeing basic financial record keeping activities. Interns assist in all aspects of the work, working side by side with members (and staff) to ensure that tasks are complete in helping run the Clubhouse. Interns can also assist in client job development (filling out applications, guidance in writing resumes, conducting mock interviews), and job placement (working side-by-side members at their place of employment in the community). As opportunity permits, you can assist in advocacy/case management issues such as entitlements and benefits.
As we believe in utilizing the strengths and talents of all members and staff, we will seek out yours and we will tailor a ‘special project’ for you to work on. In addition, we will tap into your hobbies and passions that you can share to help run a weekly social activity which could occur evenings, weekends and holidays.
Here are some attributes useful for this Internship
- Out-going: able to reach-out and ask client/members to assist in projects or tasks
- Self motivated: limited supervision to complete tasks when given the objective
- Patient: can acknowledge that working side-by-side can take twice as long to do
- Flexible: can ‘go with the flow’; does not need to follow a strict planned day
- Team Player: can go that extra mile, put on a smile, and just help if you can
- Sense of Humor: you know what they say about all work and no play
Brett Buell, Development Director