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.