On September 3, 1991 Rachel became the Executive Director of a new, nameless program called a "Clubhouse." On that day, she was the program's only employee; she worked alone until December 23, when rented space was identified and the Clubhouse had a home. Members were recruited, furniture and kitchen supplies were delivered, and...on January 9, 1992 the newly-named Grand Avenue Club held an Open House and opened its doors!

Many years have passed. Rachel has worked closely with members and staff to create and strengthen the strong and effective culture that is GAC. Together, they have established a satisfying community in which they work together to do everything to run GAC. Together, they have created enviable employment opportunities for members, support for members' educational pursuits in the community, a satisfying evening, weekend, and holiday program and community partnerships with organizations that can offer members services that they need.

Next week, Rachel will be embarking on a new venture, one that we have come to call her "semi-retirement." No longer our Executive Director, she will remain involved in several Clubhouse projects, including the revision of our popular book, "Together Everyone Achieves Clubhouse," typically referred to throughout the Clubhouse world as "the TEACH Manual," which assists Clubhouses throughout the world to develop their own communities. She will also be helping a Clubhouse in another country acquire support for its wellness program, and, most important of all, staying in close touch with her Clubhouse colleagues.

And so, we are not sending her off to another place. We did, however, want to express our appreciation for her skills, her commitment, her friendship, and her marvelous New York sense of humor. Grand Avenue Club has changed our lives for the better and we hope that it will continue to change the lives of present and future members. 

Last Saturday, we had our annual outing to Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center and just yesterday we made a party in Rachel's honor. After a wonderful meal prepared by the Culinary Unit, many of us spoke of how Rachel and the Clubhouse have impacted our lives.  

Above: Grand Avenue Club colleagues on Saturday, July 23 2022, at Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center.

Above (l-r): Jenna Houillon, Michael Anderson, Tim Voss, and Walter Heard.

"I have always appreciated and admired Rachel's passion and commitment to GAC. She truly believes in the people here and the Clubhouse movement as a whole. She's been a strong female leader in my life, and has taught me to speak my mind and stand up for myself; and for that I am grateful."

-Jenna Houillon

"To quote an old yogic phrase: 'Rachel is a mother to the world, we are the world and she is our mother.'"

-Tim Voss

Above: Ricardo Hernandez (member since 2018) and Rachel Forman.

"The most important thing that Rachel has done for me is offer me friendship. She was the first person to reach out to me and has ever since."

-Ricardo Hernandez

Above (l-r): Shoshana Elias, Bonnie Bruch and Rachel Forman.

Below: Rachel Forman and Ray Bierle.

Above (l-r): Barbara Davis, Rachel Forman, and Rachel Washington.

"Rachel is my friend. She has helped me through some hard times. When I needed her, she pulled me through when I didn't know where to turn. She has been a hands on Executive Director and always has an open door policy where you can come and talk to her about whatever you're going through, and for that, I thank her. I am surely going to miss her presence every single day and I'm going to miss her "hello's" and "how are you's." To me, those statements come from the heart of a person that really cares."

-Barbara Davis

"Rachel has always helped me have a purpose. She has been a tremendous help in my life. She has advocated for people in Milwaukee living with mental illness by showing us our value, purpose, worth, and that we can do anything we want to. She's helped us step up in life and has been there for us."

-Rachel Washington

Above: A celebration of Rachel Forman's 30+ year commitment, dedication, and inspiration to Grand Avenue Club.

Grand Avenue Club

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club