Circle of Friends Clubhouse director visits Constantine Rotary

THREE RIVERS — Travis Kohl, director at the Circle of Friends Clubhouse in Sturgis, talked about the facility at a Tuesday, Oct. 30 meeting of Constantine Rotary. He has worked in the area of community mental health work for 11 years, and been director of the facility for two-and-a-half years. Kohl said people with a mental illness die on the average 25 years earlier than others. He said the goal of the clubhouse is to “promote health and wellness”.
“If you are depressed you don’t do a lot; you sit at home. We help adults with mental illness get back into the community, help build a bridge for them if they need it, to their family and friends. People with mental illness are no different from you and I, but can suffer from self-depression, isolation and anxiety. We build their confidence up, help them regain their skills with a variety of things. We help them access medical needs, jobs, education, a large variety of things,” he said.
“I look at this as a way to build healthy relationships, to regain the self confidence you once had. It’s a step above a day-program. It’s more than just teaching brand new things,” he said.
The average daily attendance at the clubhouse is 16; Kohl said the facility can currently accommodate up to 25. He described a day at the clubhouse.
“Our people are ‘members.’ They run the program. It is entirely voluntary. It helps build self-confidence. They prepare budgets, plan and prepare meals (cook lunch) and do medical billing. We are open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. We have a whole house meeting at 9:30 a.m. to discuss what each person wishes to do that morning. We have a snack shop, a newsletter. At 1:00 p.m. there is an optional health and wellness walk. Community Mental Health owns our building (the old Sturgis Journal facility) but we run it, so we paint and address small wear and tear issues. The building is currently for sale, so we will be needing a new location,” he said.
Kohl said the clubhouse is currently seeking people to serve on the advisory board. Board members must be willing to advocate and provide support for adults recovering from mental illness. They must attend monthly one-hour meetings, give a minimum two-year commitment, and participate in open houses and fundraisers.

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