I have been a member of Grand Avenue Club for 15 years. I heard about GAC from my psychiatrist. When I first got here, I was very shy, but then I got comfortable with some people, and now I think most GAC colleagues would describe me as an outgoing, confident, and funny woman.

Years ago, orientation was a full 2 weeks and we got a chance to work on all the floors immediately. I enjoyed all of them and, subsequently, I worked in all 3 units.

I started on the third floor where I worked with our Supported Education Program and our daily newspaper, The Source. In Culinary, I worked closely with Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes, preparing meals and typing recipes. Then, when we started our upscale resale shop, Water St. Boutique, I started to work there with my first floor colleagues. Now, I mostly work in our Retail & Business Management Unit, where I do inventory of the clothing we have for purchase at our Water St. Boutique. I also love working in the store serving customers. Lately, our sales have been really good and we believe we are going to reach our 2021 revenue goal!

Because of the pandemic, I stayed away from GAC for a year and a half. That was very lonely; I was all by myself all the time. I did absolutely nothing; I stayed inside and I watched some television.

I was even scared to go to the grocery store, but I had no choice so I walked there. When I did shop, I was careful to clean and disinfect absolutely everything I brought home. That's how scared I was.

I spoke to my sister on the phone fairly often and she always asked me whether I was going out. When I said, "No. I have been home by myself for 2 weeks," she replied, "You better be careful. You are going to get sick."

Thankfully, I didn't get sick. Once I got vaccinated (Pfizer) at the pharmacy, I started moving around more. I came back to GAC. The first time I came back, I was so glad to be around people that I feel close to. At first, we wore no masks, but we resumed wearing our masks inside GAC as soon as this was recommended.

Now that I've settled in, I come to GAC just about every day. I also moved closer to GAC. I am now living on the eastside in an apartment that is much safer than my previous apartment.

It is so wonderful to be back. I am looking forward to going to the Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center with everyone on Saturday, September 18. I am also looking forward to GAC's Art Show this coming Wednesday evening, August 25 in our fabulous gallery on the fourth floor.
Above: Imogene and Kimberly Johnson enjoying the paddle boats at Grand Avenue Club's annual outing to Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center in 2019.
Above: (l-r) Grenesha Reed, Eva Norton, Amy Multhauf and Imogene Hines were the first all female GAC work crew at the Milwaukee County Department of Housing Group Placement.
Above: Imogene working as a top sales associate at Water St. Boutique. Here she is calculating a customer's bill just before accepting payment.
Above: Kate Klug, Barbara Davis, Jenny Teuscher, Katie Donner, Shelby Manuel, and Imogene in the Retail & Business Management Unit.

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club