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Our Philosophy

Our Mission and Vision for HOPE Clubhouse

HOPE Clubhouse is a community resource that fills a significant gap in the opportunities for people living with mental illness in Southwest Florida. HOPE Clubhouse offers opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships, and access to housing in a supportive, caring, dignified and respectful community setting. Members of HOPE Clubhouse develop hope for recovery and achievement of their full human potential.


HOPE Clubhouse will be certified under the international standards of the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD) and will be well known as a high quality,vital community resource whereby individuals living with mental illness become empowered to achieve independence and employment in a setting free of discrimination.  Our clubhouse will bridge communities through hope, dignity, respect and opportunities.


HOPE Clubhouse is founded on the belief that recovery from mental illness is possible with the help and support of others and the community.  We believe that members can overcome the effects of brain disorders to lead satisfying and productive lives.  Our clubhouse gives everyone the chance to form friendships, gain respect through work, improve social skills and reduce the stigma so commonly associated with these illnesses.  It is the hope and desire that our clubhouse becomes a permanent fixture in the landscape of the community where our members may continually find enhancement to their quality of life.










            Membership is voluntary and without time limits


            Membership is open to anyone over the age of
            18 with a history of mental illness, unless that
            person poses a threat to the safety of the

            clubhouse community


            All programs and services of HOPE Clubhouse
            will be provided free of charge to its members


            There are no clinical therapies or treatment
            oriented programs and members participate as
            they feel ready and according to their 
            individual interests


            Members are given help accessing the best
            quality services in the community including
            affordable and dignified housing, mental and

            general health services, and government
            disability benefits


            Members are seen as valuable participants and
            are not defined by a disability label


HOPE Clubhouse ensures every member …


A guaranteed right to a place to come

A guarantee to meaningful work

A guarantee to relationships

A guaranteed right to a place to return

History of HOPE Clubhouse - In Only 3 Years!


A group of dedicated mental health advocates from Lee County traveled to Pinellas Park, Florida to view a clubhouse called Vincent  House.   After visiting Vincent House our advocates knew that establishing a clubhouse in our area would fill a critical need and provide important services for the citizens of Lee County. 

We became incorporated on August 3, 2007 and a mere six weeks later we received our IRS determination letter giving HOPE Clubhouse 501(c)(3) status.   With the help of a few small donations, we began to develop our clubhouse logo, printed some business cards, letterhead and a brochure, and began a marketing strategy to introduce ourselves to the Southwest Florida community. 

Representatives of HOPE Clubhouse made presentations to area service organizations such as Rotary Clubs, human service agencies, mental health providers and many businesses and private individuals.  The response was phenomenal.  Through a  donation from the East Fort Myers Rotary Club we were able to purchase and implement QuickBooks Non-Profit software for our bookkeeping system. 

In December 2007,  a major contribution was bestowed upon us by a very generous philanthropic couple.  This gave us the financial help we needed to continue on with our work promoting HOPE Clubhouse.


In February  we completed our Business Plan and mailed out our first clubhouse newsletter to over 400 people throughout Lee County. 

In June HOPE Clubhouse became a member of the Florida Clubhouse Coalition, an organization formed to unite all Florida clubhouses so that combined strength could focus on the need for additional mental health services in Florida.  

We were blessed by the incredible kindness of the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties and  began to see our vision for bringing a clubhouse to Lee County become a reality.  With the help of United Way the first administrative office of HOPE Clubhouse  opened at 4040 Palm Beach Boulevard  in the new East United Way House.

HOPE Clubhouse formed a new partnership with NAMI Lee County and began working together to provide better services to our citizens. 

Two of our board members were asked to participate in the Mental Health Task Force of Lee County.

In November the News-Press published an article about the newly formed HOPE Clubhouse.  This article generated numerous inquiries and resulted in recruitment of new volunteers.

In December FineMark National Bank & Trust hosted a special holiday event for our organization and over 150 attended.  

We began plans to develop a comprehensive website.


Our website was completed and our Annual Meeting was held in January.
The Development Committee presented the board with recommendations for established donation levels.

The first orientation session was held at the East United Way House for our 8 new office volunteers.

HOPE Clubhouse submitted a grant to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to help secure funds to hire an executive director.

The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South awarded us a grant for the purchase of office furniture.

Two executive board members attended leadership classes for non-profit organizations hosted by United Way and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Plans began for the HOPE Clubhouse Holiday Appreciation Event to be held in December.

We were awarded a major grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to aid in our search for an executive director.  Two board members attended the breakfast for grant recipients in late September.
We immediately formed a search committee and began formulating plans to hire the first executive director for HOPE Clubhouse.

HOPE Clubhouse began working with Children's Home Society of Florida to partner and share a single-family home in Fort Myers where we could officially open as a clubhouse.

In December we hosted a holiday appreciation event at Bell Tower Park and over 70 were in attendance.  It was a special evening filled with awards, remembrances and recognition for outstanding achievements.


In February Debra Webb was hired as Executive Director of HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida, Inc.

Plans were finalized with Children's Home Society of Florida and HOPE Clubhouse moved from the East United Way House into a facility at 1495 Maple Drive.  Our clubhouse was now officially open!

In March we acquired 3 clubhouse members and we had 13 active members participating in the HOPE Clubhouse program.

We received a SENergy grant in the amount of $11,000 for the purchase of
computers, a telephone system,  and electronic equipment.

Our first official fundraising event was held at the home of Board Member, Dr. Omar Rieche and raised approximately $12,000.

Executive Director Debra Webb and the clubhouse member. John Megara, attended a three-week training session at Gateway House in Greenville, South Carolina.

HOPE Clubhouse received grants for computer equipment from the Rotary Club of Fort Myers and the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South

We became a partner with the Harry Chapin Food Bank.


  What Is A Clubhouse . . .

A community of people organized to support individuals living

with the effects of mental illness

Through participation in a clubhouse people are given opportunities to rejoin the worlds of friendship, important work, employment and education

The descriptive name was taken from the first clubhouse established  in 1948, Fountain House in New York City and has served as a model for all subsequent clubhouses developed around the world

The term “clubhouse” communicates the message of membership    and belonging

Membership is open to anyone who has a history of mental illness

Members are seen as valued participants and not patients and are    not defined by a disability label

Participation is voluntary but all members are encouraged to work in areas including clerical duties, reception, food service, transportation, outreach, education, financial services, and much more

Clubhouses are built upon the belief that every member can sufficiently recover from the effects of mental illness to lead personally satisfying lives

The clubhouse concept is organized around the belief in the potential for productive contributions from everyone and hold the conviction that work and work-related relationships are restorative and provide the foundation for growth and individual achievement

Members and staff share the responsibility for the successful operation of the clubhouse as they learn each other’s strengths, talents and abilities

The daily activities of a clubhouse are organized around a structured system known as the work-ordered day which parallels the business hours of the working community

There are no clinical therapies or treatment-oriented programs. Members participate as they feel ready and according to their individual interests

The clubhouse provides members the opportunities to return to paid employment through both transitional employment and independent employment programs

Clubhouses provide evening, weekend, holiday and social programs

Members are given help accessing the best quality services in the community including affordable and dignified housing,  mental and general health services, and government disability benefits

Members reach out to other active members  who are experiencing difficulties and may need extra help

The clubhouse offers educational opportunities for members to complete their academic programs

Members and staff meet in open forums to discuss clubhouse policy and future planning for the clubhouse

Although the first clubhouse was started more than fifty years ago and has been replicated more than 350 times around the world, the clubhouse concept is still a radically different way of working in the field of community mental health.  Most program models still focus on assessing a person’s level of disability and limiting the expectations based on that assessment.  In a clubhouse the expectations are high and mutual work, satisfying relationships and meaningful opportunities in the community are the vehicles of choice.

References: ICCD (2002) The International Standards for Clubhouse Programs, New York, NY


 Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida (HOPE Clubhouse) has received a three-year accreditation from the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD). This is the first time HOPE has applied for this evidence based designation. 

 Opened in 2010, HOPE Clubhouse is a voluntary rehabilitation program for people living with mental illness. HOPE Clubhouse has officially joined 350 other accredited Clubhouses around the world that are based on a unique collaboration between businesses, families, communities to help members reintegrate back to the workforce. Members work side-by-side with staff as colleagues to run the program, to learn or teach skills, and to offer support and resources needed to achieve a satisfying and improved quality of life in the community.

 HOPE Clubhouse has served 159 people who are living with severe mental illness and has helped 58 members to re-enter the workforce. HOPE Clubhouse has partnered with over 10 employers such as LeeSar, GoodWill Industries, South Seas Resort and Gavin's Ace Hardware. HOPE Clubhouse also assists with housing as well as supporting members to attend secondary school and or to get their GED. 

 Accreditation involved the entire Clubhouse community in an interactive process of self-evaluation and strategic planning. After conducting its own in-depth self-study over the course of four months, HOPE Clubhouse was visited by an ICCD Faculty Team that reviewed the Clubhouse and its adherence to the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs. The Faculty Team included trained members and staff from strong ICCD Certified Clubhouses.

 “ICCD accreditation means that we adhere to the thirty-six International Clubhouse Standards which have been agreed upon by ICCD accredited Clubhouses around the world,” says Debra Webb, Executive Director. “These Standards provide the basis for members and staff to operate the Clubhouse together based on a specific philosophy and rehabilitation methods. The Clubhouse philosophy believes in the potential of all individuals to lead a satisfying and meaningful life, including becoming employed.” 

 Dr. William Madaus, Chair of the Board of Directors explained, “This accreditation validates HOPE Clubhouse’s commitment to excellence and to the evidence-based Clubhouse model. Evidence-based practices are an important concept today because we must demonstrate that our specific interventions achieve identified outcomes in community integration such as employment, volunteering, and education as well as reduced hospitalization.” Webb added, “HOPE Clubhouse has been fortunate as the Southwest Florida Community has been very supportive and has embraced our model. HOPE Clubhouse has been funded by United Way, Lee County Human Services, Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Central Florida Behavioural Health Network, Able Trust as well as many dedicated donors and civic organization such as Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs.
 If you want more information on how to become a member, please call HOPE Clubhouse at 239-267-1777. --------
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------   Susan Bennett, Debra Webb, REACH FREQ Earn Statewide Public Relations HonorsTrio Honored for bringing "Saturday Night Live" alum Kevin Nealon to Southwest Florida for a DONATED comedy performance benefiting HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida. 
 Aug. 8, 2013 - FORT MYERS, Fla
-- Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., Debra Webb, and REACH FREQ were honored with a statewide award for excellence in public relations from the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. 

 A Judges Award was presented for achieving maximum results using a minimum amount of money for “An Evening of Laughs with Kevin Nealon” benefiting HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida. “Saturday Night Live” Alumni Kevin Nealon donated his talents to HOPE Clubhouse for a one-night comedy show in January, bringing more awareness of the non-profit’s mission, and showing individuals living with mental illness that laughter truly is the best medicine – all while raising $21,000 for the not-for-profit.

 HOPE Clubhouse, which is led by Executive Director Debra Webb, received $27,046 in donated advertising and marketing/PR services to promote the comedy show, including TV spot production by Nealon’s brother Chris, who owns REACH FREQ, a video production company. 

 HOPE Clubhouse is part of an international network of 350 clubhouses that offer residents living with mental illness opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring and dignified community setting. For more information, visit .

 Tuesday’s award marks the 20th consecutive year that Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., has been recognized, making it one of the most honored marketing firms in Florida with 189 awards from FPRA for campaigns on behalf of its clients.

 Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., is a full service marketing and public relations firm that provides strategic solutions for many of the area’s leading businesses and not-for-profit organizations. The Fort Myers-based firm was founded in 1991 by Susan Bennett, an accredited public relations professional (APR), certified public relations counselor (CPRC), and a charter member of the Counselors’ Network for the state’s most experienced professionals. Bennett is a former Gannett Co. executive and member of the launch team of USA TODAY.

 The Golden Image Awards competition is conducted annually by the Florida Public Relations Association to recognize outstanding public relations programs in the state of Florida and to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionals. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning, and design. ----------------------------------------------------

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