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How’s a New Staff Person Supposed to Prepare for This?

While I’m still a little new to Horizon House, one thing I’ve already learned is that no two days are ever the same at a Clubhouse! But knowing this still did not prepare me for the changes that happened as the result of a worldwide pandemic.

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on life here at Horizon House. To keep everyone healthy, we made the difficult decision to close our physical space. I admit, I felt a little panicked.  Was I ready to handle everything that came along with working during a pandemic? How do we support one another when we have to be “physically distant”? The daunting feeling of not knowing what would happen next made me feel very powerless.

Our once busy, bustling Clubhouse building was strangely quiet, but it quickly became clear that our Clubhouse community was as connected as ever! It was then that I learned that Horizon House would do what Clubhouses always do – come up with a plan! We focused on meeting the needs of our community, making sure everyone had meals and supplies, and making sure everyone felt connected. It felt amazing being part of a community that was dedicated to helping those in need and even better that I could play a part in it.

The phones were busy! Every member was called and by the end of March, Horizon House had provided well over 100 meals and a boatload of homemade chocolate chip cookies “to go” for Clubhouse members, and we are still delivering meals regularly. We are also continuing to interact as a community. We are utilizing Zoom meetings as we continue to develop our newsletters. The Dual Recovery Anonymous group is holding conference calls three times a week to give members and staff a way to support each other on the road to recovery. And we’re holding daily conference calls with members and staff to help give us all a sense of normalcy.

The message that the Clubhouse is sending is clear. We are all in this together, and if we work and support each other, we will get through this.

~Shaquille Jones joined Horizon House as Assistant Program Director in November 2019

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