People with disabilities experience a lot of discrimination in our society. Growing up I always wanted a place where I would not be seen as a person with mental illness, but just a person like everyone else. I finally found that place when I came to Venture House. This is a great place because members feel free to express themselves without fear of stigma or discrimination. Being a part of Venture House has been such a great experience for me. This place has helped me in many ways emotionally and mentally. I found something to live for within myself. By sharing my ideas and experiences I am able to help myself and those around me. I now realize how valuable I am. I also have the most positive outlook on life that I’ve had in years. I plan to go back to school sometime soon. My goal is to learn more about mental health so I can use that knowledge to help more people have a better life.
Venture House… Who’d have thought a property once a funeral home would one day evolve into something that would accompany me through a debilitating mental diagnosis, welcoming me into a community with others just like me?
This month makes approximately four years since I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in such a service to our community. Before I was referred to Venture House I was a very scrappy young man at the age of 23. Having battled my diagnosis of schizophrenia for roughly four years I felt alone and unwanted by family and society. Then Venture House came, offering to accommodate me in a realm of safety and understanding, free to explore my abilities and foster my characteristics that would empower me in my time of weakness.
From then till now Venture House has walked side by side with me in all my endeavors offering me support and guidance in everything I do. This agency is a resource and a place where troubled individuals can find haven and respite from a world where all you hear is negative portrayals of us, and a system that looks at us in a demeaning light.
Venture House has helped me to go back to school at a prestigious peer training academy in Manhattan where I worked my way to being certified as a Peer Specialist. I now have been working for the past year in the field slowly reshaping my family’s image of me and also gifting me with the ability of forming a new family: my Venture House family.
Since becoming a member I was reminded that I have the ability to succeed and the knowledge to keep succeeding. Their employment department has aided me with the acquisition of three jobs since becoming a member. When I first arrived I was assisted with getting a job as a security officer then went on to school got a better job and then an even better one. Venture House is a strength in our community and continues to inspire and nurture me and others to move up and expand their abilities in life, reclaiming their lives and finding a safe space where they can exist free of stigma and judgement and be treated as valued individuals.
Venture House has been a wonderful place for me to meet people with similar mental health issues and life situations. It has also been a place for me to keep out of trouble. They have jobs and housing opportunities that I can choose from. The clubhouse helps motivate me to try and be more open to others. The volunteer work here has helped me become more proactive. I hope that the foundation here will never wither away because it is a great place for people with mental illnesses to cope with their health problems and build their self-esteem.
A Member’s Parent
I had never heard of Venture house before my son became a Clubhouse member. Now, I couldn’t imagine his life without it. You all have given him the opportunity to thrive when life looked dim, by encouraging his gifts. His trips to Clubhouse International conferences expanded his self-confidence and taught him that mental illness is world- wide and that you can lead a positive and fruitful life with this disability. I want you to know how much your dedication and genuine caring for all your members is appreciated! Your staff is just wonderful!