Sunday, February 14, 2021 is Valentine's Day! At GAC we are celebrating much more than romantic love.

We are celebrating a range of relationships: our friendships, working partnerships that come out of our community life. We are celebrating the idea of commitment embedded in the Clubhouse principle that membership is a lifetime opportunity or, as we say very often "once a member, always a member." Here you have 10 photographs of GAC colleagues--members and staff--who not only work together, but are close friends. Most of these relationships began in a work setting and were encouraged by our non-pandemic weekend, evening and holiday programming, which we hope to resume.

We wish you, those you love, and all your friends a wonderful Valentine's Day.
(Above) Barbara Davis and Helen Christus, Water St. Boutique. Barbara says, "I like working side by side with Helen, creating the outfits for the mannequins, and talking about our work and what we can do to make the boutique look even better." Helen says, "Coming to GAC has given me both self-esteem and life-long friendships, including my friendship with Barbara."
(Above) Jenny Teuscher and Rick Knight, Retail & Business Management Unit. Rick says, "Jenny and her friends were lifesavers when I went into quarantine after a Covid exposure. We do sometimes give each other a hard time, but I know I can count on Jenny." Jenny says, "We're polar opposites, but we make a great team. We never would have become friends without GAC, and I'm very glad that we are."
(Above) Sheila Hutchinson and Michael Thorson, Culinary Unit/Membership, Education & Employment Unit.
Sheila and Michael have been close friends since 2008, even before they joined GAC. Joining around the same time, they agree that the friendships and working partnerships they have made at GAC are very important, especially throughout the pandemic of the past year.

(Above) Ricardo Hernandez and Jenna Houillon in the Culinary Unit. Ricardo says, "This is the first time I have made friends. GAC people really care and call me when I haven't been around for awhile. Everyday the place feels more like my family." Jenna says, "The relationships that we have are not formal; they are not forced or assigned to us. They develop naturally through the work we do together. Every day ends with a sense of accomplishment. We're hardworking but have fun and now I have a caring group of friends that I see every day."
(Above) Leroy Doyle and Tiru Moten, Culinary Unit. Leroy says, "GAC makes me feel safe in the world. When I come here I can trust people. Tiru and I work together every day and we have become really good friends." Tiru says, "Coming to GAC gives me something to do during the day. Since joining GAC 11 years ago, I have made close friends. I help in the dining room and I enjoy prepping and cooking. Now that I do more work, my relationships have gotten stronger."
(Above) Tim Voss and Michael Anderson, Culinary Unit. Mike says, "I feel so good about my GAC friends. I have people to talk to and to work with. I really like it. I have met my best friends here. I call them from my home if I want to. I didn't have that before I came to GAC."
(Above) Kate Klug and Shelby Manuel have a good working partnership in the Retail & Business Management Unit. Both research brands and prices of clothing on the internet and count on each other for support and advice. Shelby says, "Kate and I work really well together. She tells me what do to and I just do it! She is now a very good friend of mine. Kate says, "When Shelby and I work together, he always cares about my well-being in addition to the work that we are doing. I love that."
(Above) Rachel Forman and Neil Weber, Administration. Neil says, "I have known and worked with Rachel for many years. I always return to GAC because of the relationships there that feed my soul. My relationship with Rachel is one of them."
(Above) Shawndie Dauden and Kayla Bockhop, Culinary Unit. Shawndie says, "GAC people are good people and that includes Kayla, an occupational therapy student in Culinary. I always greet my colleagues and make a point to say goodbye in the afternoon. I care about my friends here and you act right around people you care about." As for Kayla, she says, "I never expected to form relationships so quickly. I wish I could be here forever and will cherish the friendships I've already made at GAC."
(Right) Darryn Candler and Rachel Forman, Retail & Business Management Unit/Administration. Darryn says, "Rachel feeds our minds and nurtures us. When I wake up in the morning, I think about GAC. GAC people are everywhere and I love communicating with people. It helps me when my mind races and I can't focus."

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club