Milwaukee's Grand Avenue Club is one of many beneficiaries of a rich trove of Clubhouse wisdom penned by the founders, members and staff of what has come to be called "the Clubhouse Movement." The first Clubhouse was founded in New York City in the late 1940's and is still flourishing. Over the past 70+ years more than 300 Clubhouses have been founded by a wide variety of communities in every part of the world.

What distinguishes the Clubhouse approach from other effective community-based approaches to mental illness? We turn to early Clubhouse literature and quote from an unsigned article written, or delivered as a speech, at an International Seminar.

"The most important factor in recovering from the devastation of mental illness is not being GIVEN a service. It is being MET, as a whole, worthwhile, equal, productive, adult.....the healing will be in the encounter with each other."

The GAC community reveres the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs. As part of our commitment to promote the understanding and effective implementation of these Standards we have created a spacious, attractive, colorful space on the first floor of our Clubhouse. Its purpose is to invite colleagues (members and staff), potential members who have scheduled tours of GAC, and our visitors to explore Clubhouse literature in a congenial, well-illuminated, and welcoming room.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in a tour, please see our website at
Rick Knight, Ricardo Hernandez (both standing) as well as Shelby Manuel, Kayla Bockhop, Dennis Soczka, Barbara Davis, and Paul Holmes in the Community Corner exploring Clubhouse Standards.
In an effort to engage all our colleagues in an exploration of Clubhouse philosophy, an informative bulletin board was created by Grenesha Reed and Avi Hellman.
A mythical creature, a bird that rose from the ashes, has been associated with GAC since January 1992, when we named our newsletter "The Phoenix." This particular phoenix is skillfully crafted from colorful tiles in the studio of the Karakashian Brothers of Jerusalem. Brought to us by a GAC colleague, we display it proudly in our new Clubhouse Corner.
Adjacent to the Clubhouse Corner is our brand-new Media Room, This space will be a place to create media about GAC. It is also the place in which we are writing the new edition of TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES CLUB HOUSE ("THE TEACH MANUAL.") a guide to the meaning and implementation of the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs.
A few years ago former GAC board member Barbara Teske-Young arranged for her friend, a photographer, to take professional portraits of GAC colleagues. The photos are displayed in the Clubhouse Corner. At the center is a copy of the March 14, 2021 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, featuring an article by Jim Higgins about how GAC'ers supported each other during earlier pandemic times.
Colleagues participating in our newly energized Arts Programming, have created a mural for the Community Corner to display the results of GAC Arts Workshops. The mural consists of handmade paper, clocks made from vinyl records, alcohol ink art, string and marble paintings, papier mache sculptures, and colleague photographs! In this photo, the mural is framed by colleagues Paul Holmes and Avi Hellman.

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club