For more than 28 years, Grand Avenue Club colleagues enjoyed a Clubhouse community that was open 365 days a year. That is because GAC has always been more than a community that needed to be run from Monday to Friday, a place to ready oneself for work and have access to paid employment with quality employers, and a place where you could receive assistance with finding a case manager, a psychiatrist, or health insurance.
After a 10 week closing from March through May 2020, we carefully restored our Monday to Friday Work-Ordered Day while adhering to guidelines on masks and social distancing.
During this time, our members could not count on seeing friends, acquaintances, or workmates regularly. Like everyone else, our members experienced loneliness, isolation, and the absence of social spontaneity. While some were able to adapt, others really suffered and are still feeling the negative impact of isolation.
Now we are returning--albeit slowly and carefully--and with on-going adherence to public health guidelines to our fully realized Clubhouse.
We have resumed our monthly Sunday afternoon work support groups. We are now open late for Wednesday evening dinner, recreational activities, and art workshops, as before. We are planning to celebrate Labor Day 2021. In September, we are going to spend a day at our beloved Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center. In early October, we will return to regular Saturday afternoon hours.
Evening, Weekend, and Holiday Programming is a pillar of The Clubhouse Model all around the world. While GAC's rejuvenation is undoubtedly the result of the cautious loosening of pandemic restrictions, it is also related to our experience of daily friendships. It is so good to be able to be spontaneous with each other, to laugh together, and to be together casually.