Dear editor,

I recently found out that Community Corner Clubhouse is closing its doors after 26 years. I have been a member for 18 years. This has greatly saddened me as I use this program to this day. The closing is to happen in about 90 days. The reason for the closing is that North Central Health Care and the (Marathon) County Board will no longer fund the Clubhouse, so it is a financial decision on their behalf.  Sometimes I think this is all just a nightmare that I will wake up from, but then reality hits and I start to cry knowing this is all true. I keep wondering what am I going to do without Clubhouse? I am afraid and scared that I will go backward in my treatment.  

My name is Kelly. I am a single mother of four children and a grandmother to nine wonderful grandchildren. I have worked several jobs to keep my family afloat.  Eventually my youngest two children went into foster care. The youngest one stayed in foster care until she was 18. My other child did come back home. Around this time I began my different hospital stays for mental illness.

I ended up at the crisis center where they diagnosed me with major depression. At this time I was referred to Community Corner Clubhouse. I became a member in 2004. There I found out I was not alone. I was able to connect to other adults, make friends, gain skills and get my self-confidence back.

I also had opportunities at Clubhouse. I have gone to a Clubhouse International Convention, a Clubhouse International training for 2 weeks, and I have also participated in many seminars on mental illness. Things I do at Clubhouse make me feel useful. Some of the activities I have learned are reception, record keeping, computer skills, helping other members, copier and fax machine.

I have moved in with my daughter and her family and had to find a new psychiatrist. He is really good and has diagnosed me with bi-polar. Now I come to Clubhouse three to four times a week from Waupaca County. Clubhouse makes my hour ride with Veyo worth it!     

Clubhouse members and family need to have a voice. Most members and family want to help keep the doors open by fundraising, given half the chance.  Clubhouse was not able to fundraise like they did in the past. If given the opportunity for the time to have fundraising, members, friends, family and community can work toward keeping doors open.

Kelly Kaufman of Embarrass

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.