HOPE Clubhouse presents mental health advocate and reigning Miss District of Columbia, Haely Jardas, as keynote speaker
In honor of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, James Wineinger, executive director of HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida, encourages the public to save the date for the Mental Health Educational Symposium, set for Oct. 24.
Fort Myers native Haely Jardas, the reigning Miss District of Columbia, will be the keynote speaker at the “Food for Thought: Feeding the Mind, Body and Soul” symposium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, 1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.
The theme “Food for Thought” reflects the initiative behind the Hope Clubhouse new edible Garden of Hope that promotes better nutrition and healthier lifestyles for adults living with mental illness.
In the September Miss America contest, Jardas established the platform “Mental Health Matters.” Having suffered from anxiety and depression, Jardas’ message to the public was that anxiety disorders and depression are common, particularly among college students. However, they are highly treatable illnesses, and help is available. She continues to encourage the public to reach out to lawmakers at all levels to pass mental health legislation.
A graduate of Cypress Lake High School and the American University in Washington, D.C., Jardas is honored to return to her home town as the symposium’s keynote speaker. Today, she is a program manager for the D.C. Statehood Initiatives Agency.
In addition to the keynote address, a panel of local advocates will discuss the state of mental health care in Southwest Florida, and what can be done to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illness. The panel for the “Food for Thought” Mental Health Symposium will include Judge H. Andrew Swett of the Lee County Mental Health Court; respected Fort Myers psychiatrist Dr. Omar Rieche; and Hope Clubhouse member Cindy Bishop. News-Press executive editor and vice president of content Cindy McCurry-Ross will serve as emcee.
Continuing Education Units can be earned for qualifying professionals in attendance.
About Hope Clubhouse
Hope Clubhouse is a community of support for adults living with a mental illness in Southwest Florida providing opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing. Hope Clubhouse is a 501(c)3 organization located at 3602 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers, Florida 33907. Call (239) 267-1777 or visit www.hopeclubhouse.org to donate or for more information.
Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida revamped its landscaping on Sunday with the idea that the new trees and plants put into the ground will provide therapy and food for the organization’s clients and staff. Read full News-Press story.
Banks has been a member of Hope Clubhouse for 3 and a half years and is currently employed in one of our Supported Employment placements. He works at the historic Burroughs Home in the River District of Fort Myers. The Burroughs Home is operated by the Uncommon Friends Foundation, a local non-profit with the mission to promote character education in schools, business ethics in the workplace and historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and James Newton Archives.
This is Banks’ first Supported job though HOPE Clubhouse and he is doing a terrific job. Prior to membership, Banks was building a career in TV production but has no intention of restarting his career. In his spare time, Banks likes scuba diving and spearfishing.
Banks reports that he loves working at the Burroughs Home and feels it’s a good fit for him. His duties include cleaning up after weddings and other celebrations that take place at the home and on the grounds, keeping the yard clean of debris, leaf blowing all of the walkways, cleaning everything inside or outside, and the worst job: cleaning the men’s room.
Clubhouse support has provided Banks with the greatest amount of on-the-job personal security. Banks believes that the Clubhouse SEP training is great; it’s good to know support is there in the backing if he needs it, and that knowledge gives him a greater feeling of self-confidence. Banks is able to call Colleen if he has any concerns and Colleen is in regular communication with Banks and his employer to ensure that things are going smoothly for everyone.
Banks likes being a member of Hope Clubhouse. He thinks it has a very good purpose in providing the ability for social interaction, and it helps with finding jobs. Banks is grateful to be a part of Clubhouse activities. He’s glad it is here, and feels that it’s a great place to go.
As far as offering advice for other Hope members looking for meaningful work in the workforce, he offers this: “I would say stick with the job hunt, stay active in the Clubhouse, and your number will come up.”
- His main priority is to take care of the ‘Jail Mail’ that is delivered to the prison inmates.
- He researches attorneys’ files and sorts them into 3 categories: private attorneys, the public defender, and others. He also scans and emails those files.
- He loads and unloads the Xerox machine, checks in deliveries from the post office, makes business cards for the attorneys, and makes backup runs to the post office.