Day Activities and Employment

Green Door is the only program in the District of Columbia that utilizes the Clubhouse model to get people with mental illness back to work and living in the community. Working from the individual’s strengths, the Clubhouse provides members with the opportunity to learn employable skills through meaningful work and to participate in a supportive community. Green Door promises life-long support as members become self-sufficient and involved in the wider community. Green Door is based on a model that was designed by people with mental illness for people with mental illness.

Green Door participates in the Ticket to Work Program of the Social Security Administration. Mental health consumers in the District of Columbia who are eligible for this program may assign their assign their ticket to Green Door to participate in the Ticket to Work Program.

Green Door’s Clubhouse program is located in a beautifully restored Victorian mansion in Northwest Washington. In a Clubhouse, everyone is equal. It is a place where members can make friends and join in social activities, get help with recovery from drugs and alcohol, learn self-advocacy, and improve basic literacy skills. Green Door’s Clubhouse is certified by the International Center for Clubhouse Development. As a certified Clubhouse, we follow specific standards of operations that were designed by members and staff together. There are more than 300 Clubhouses worldwide. Green Door is one of the largest and the only one in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Green Door’s Clubhouse program helps members get skills they need to become employable. Members go through a two week orientation, then spend several months training in one of Green Door’s Work Units – Member Services and Orientation, Dining Hall/Café, Media and Communications, Employment, and Education. Staff help members build on skills they already have and teach them new ones.

For example, the Café operates like any other café in the city — providing snacks, coffee, and a trendy atmosphere. It also serves as a teaching tool for members to learn how to provide customer service, how to operate a cash register, and how to price a menu. The Dining Hall plans and prepares the daily lunch menu — feeding more than 100 members and staff daily. This Unit also prepares refreshments for Green Door parties, special events, and Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners for members and their families. Members not only learn how to prepare food, but also how to make food orders, how to serve, and how to clean a commercial kitchen.

Green Door members have a stake in everything we do and take part in the development and implementation of all programs. Members are on the management planning team and the Board of Trustees. Green Door has a consumer and family Medicaid planning group that develops Medicaid services. Working together, members and staff run the Green Door Clubhouse. Weekly policy meetings, open to all members and staff, allow for discussion of major issues and revision of Green Door policies.

After working in the Clubhouse, members are placed in six-month transitional jobs in the community. Transitional placements are low-stress jobs in mailrooms, food service, and maintenance, and provide competitive pay by the employer. Once members complete several transitional jobs, and build up their confidence and résumé, Green Door teaches them how to get a permanent job.

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