Brookdale Welcomes Shore House Students Starting This Fall

Shore House is poised to make a dent in the 60-80 percent unemployment rate among people living with mental illness, thanks to a recently awarded Kessler Foundation Community Employment Grant. The funds have allowed them to partner with Brookdale Community College to create a custom workshop certificate program for adults living with a mental illness. Brookdale welcomed the new students last week at an orientation program that allowed them to tour the campus, meet instructors and learn about the computer and entrepreneurship courses that will be available to them.

“By providing professional training that leads to meaningful employment, the Shore House-Brookdale program epitomizes the Kessler Foundation’s mission,” says Elaine Katz, Senior Vice President Grants & Communications for the Kessler Foundation. “Their Clubhouse model builds on their members’ strengths and provides mutual support. Coupled with proper training this initiative brings us closer to our goal of building sustainable pathways to a stable economic future for those that otherwise may have none.”

Shore House is the first and only accredited Clubhouse in New Jersey. “A central component to the Clubhouse model is teaching our members transferable skills which they can use to re-enter the workforce,” explains Shore House Executive Director Rich Ambrosino. “This grant allows us to provide our members with the skills they need and want to continue to enjoy successful happy lives.”

The enthusiasm we have for our members going back to school as part of the college certificate program made possible by a grant from the Kessler Foundation is contagious. Brookdale’s Dean of Continuing & Professional Studies Joan Socco recently made their feelings plain “We are so looking forward to this program, that will help you get a job, start your own business and enrich your lives,” she said. “You are now officially Brookdalians, a part of the Brookdale family!”

Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, director, Small Business Development Center, spoke to the students at an orientation last week about being an entrepreneur, “We are here to inspire you,” she said.

Shore house member and new student Taylor had this to add “This is something I’ve wanted to do forever but never had the resources to help me go back to school.” Available resources now include professional support and state-of-the-art facilities in a college setting, and transportation, all covered by the grant.

Shore House Program Director Bailey Taft adds “This education program will empower members to learn new skills while drawing on their life experiences and unique interests. The innovation of the opportunity to practice all their new skills at Shore House as part of the Work-Ordered Day that is the crux of our organization will increase proficiency, confidence, and self-esteem among participants.

“Unlike Clubhouses in other states (and despite being a proven success), Shore House receives no funds from insurance or state or federal government. They rely solely on private donors. “I want to thank Brookdale College and the Kessler Foundation for making this partnership happen. Raising the standard of living for people with mental illness is an uphill battle in New Jersey, and grants like these are crucial to our survival and growth.”

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