Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition and Tradewinds Honor Friendly’s of Sturbridge at the Statehouse in Boston

Photo: Left to right; Tradewinds Program Manager Brittany Clark, Friendly’s of Sturbridge Manager Pam Sampson, Tradewinds Employment Coordinator Dawn Sanchez, Friendly’s Employee and Tradewinds Member Mike Proulx and State Representative Peter Durant.

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Friendly’s of Sturbridge was recognized and honored for their excellence in their diversity practices for providing gainful employment to individuals with mental illness with the support of Department of Mental Health (DMH) funded Clubhouse rehabilitation and recovery centers. Massachusetts State Representative Peter Durant presented an award, at the Statehouse in Boston, to Manager, Pamela Sampson, who received the award on behalf of Friendly’s of Sturbridge. The event, organized by the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC), recognized twenty-seven companies.  The event was held to both honor the companies who have created a diverse and welcoming workforce while also working to lessen the stigma of mental illness, often experienced by those with psychiatric conditions when seeking employment.  Those employed by the companies honored at the statehouse are amongst 4,000 Massachusetts Clubhouse members who gained employment with support this past year.

Friendly’s Manager, Pamela Sampson spoke at the event at the Statehouse. Here is a brief snapshot of what she spoke of on Tuesday. “Let me begin by saying my experience with Tradewinds has been wonderful. I was a little bit skeptical when first approached but knew that I would be doing a good thing to help someone learn a job skill and become a productive working in the job force.  Tradewinds Member, Mike P started with Sturbridge Friendly’s just about 9 months ago in a Transitional employment position and in that time I watched him change. Change for the better! He was a shy, unsure, introverted young man. But over these 9 months he learned several skills within our restaurant.  He is a changed young man!! He is no longer a shy person. He comes in with a big smile and a skip in his step and eager to get the job done!!! He is appreciated by all coworkers.  Our experience has been so rewarding that we have just hired two more transitional employees, Jeremy and Terri! Jeremy is learning the day shift service assistant position and Terri is learning the day shift Greeter position.”

Massachusetts Clubhouse centers serve over 7,000 Massachusetts residents, as they work to re-gain their footing, gain employment, complete their education, build relationships, and develop leadership skills towards living successfully in the community with support. “Countering the myths about people with psychiatric conditions, there are hundreds of companies in Massachusetts who are choosing to look past disability and see ability and opportunity as they employ members of Massachusetts Clubhouses,” said Reva Stein, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC). “Having a job not only brings in a much needed pay check, but serves to inspire and encourage people, recovering from often challenging conditions, that they too can achieve their dreams and goals.” Clubhouse rehabilitation centers across the state, that have achieved quality accreditation, honored the companies during the Celebration Event.  Legislators presented awards to the local companies with the help of the DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula. Each honoree had been identified by their local Clubhouse as a company that has built a welcoming and inclusive workforce.

 

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