Friday, June 1, 2018

What Working in the Culinary Arts Team Means to Me

Culinary Arts Team working hard at Vincent House
Working in Culinary Arts gives me the capability of learning how the food preparation process happens; from different types of dicing to food presentation. I worked in food service as a general manager for many years prior to my stroke, and being in the Culinary Arts team gives me the opportunity to continue doing what I love to do.
-Sonya Herring

I love working hard in the kitchen and making friends with the members that attend Vincent House. Washing the dishes is my favorite thing to do.
-Malcolm Campbell
            Culinary gives me stamina that I can’t find in other teams. I am always doing something so that makes me energized. There is always something to do which I like a lot.
-Tom Lancaster

Culinary is a really good experience for me because when I move out, I’ll be ready to cook food that I won’t have to eat too much fast food as often. Also, Culinary has great people with great potential that I can really learn so much from them.
-Eric Vitan
            I enjoy working in the Culinary Arts unit because you learn skills in the kitchen and garden. The members and staff here at Vincent House are very nice as well.
-Steven Raymond
            I like being in Culinary Arts because I enjoy doing janitorial duties, such as sweeping and mopping. The people I’ve met at my time at Vincent House have been outstanding. I enjoy talking to other members out on the gazebo and getting to know everyone. The food that we make is always fantastic and healthy, lunch is probably my favorite part of the day.
-Charlie Strubbe

Mike cutting pineapple
I like working in Culinary Arts because of the fantastic people in the team, and I believe I’m scratching the surface of loving the work that’s done in the kitchen. Working is becoming fun, and I enjoy the food prep, cleaning and sweeping, and the cooking aspects. All is going pretty well in the team!

-Mike Taddeo

Monday, May 21, 2018

It All Starts with Community

As part of our continuing series, today we turn the spotlight on the Vincent House Community Relations Team.

The Community Relations Team on a typical Friday afternoon.

By Rena Massey

Alex and Amiee working side-by-side
The Community Relations Team  facilitates the work of the Clubhouse. We take care our members and promote advocacy. We are the link between the Culinary Arts Team and the Arts & Communications Team and keep records of all Clubhouse business. We are in charge of the front desk and the phone center. We are the first members that visitors see and our graciousness helps to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness.  We even create birthday cards and congratulatory cards when our members get employment. We reach out to members who have been absent to lift their spirits and prevent isolation. We run Hidden Treasures, our thrift store. We also manage the Vincent House Leisure Bank an actual working bank that allows members to have savings accounts or meal tickets. We keep travel logs accounts, attendance records, and staff schedules. We do a thousand little things that keep the Clubhouse up and running, in short, we are indispensable!  

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vincent House Team Spotlight: Arts & Communications

Just a few of the Arts & Communications Team who work together
to produce newsletters, video productions, social media and other
creative content supporting the Vincent House mission.

Vincent House’s operation relies on the work of members in several different teams to run smoothly. This week, we’ll take a look at the Arts and Communications Team, and the work they contribute to Vincent House.

Members and staff working together in
the Arts & Communications team.
The Arts and Communications Team focuses on three different areas of publication for Vincent House: Print Design, Video Production, and Marketing. Hot off the press, the ARTS team produces a daily printed newsletter called The Daily Sunflower. It features articles written by members, today’s menu, important upcoming events, the clubhouse standards, and more! In addition to the Daily Sunflower, the ARTS team also creates members’ ID cards, flyers, and additional graphic design work, all in house. “It’s really cool to work on the different design projects offered by the ARTS team,” says member Anthony.

In addition to print design, the ARTS team produces its own video publications as well. The Weekly Vincent House News Broadcast is a big hit every week, where members get a chance to practice their directing, reporting, and video editing skills. Members enjoy making fun skits as well to brighten our work day. Whether it’s in front of or behind the camera, there is always something exciting happening at Vincent House.

Finally, the ARTS team manages the community image of Vincent House through marketing. “I enjoy the challenge of marketing,” says member Athena. “It’s fun to represent Vincent House, and it’s always a learning experience.” Via social media, website development, and weekly blogs, the ARTS team maintains the vision of Vincent House across the World Wide Web. These valuable skills in marketing help members to spread awareness of the Vincent House mission of #RecoveryThroughWork and #ClubhouseInternational!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Clubhouse Colleague Training at Gateway House

Vincent House and VAAC team (from left to right:
Asaf, Justin, Ben, True, Sierra, and Corydon) 
Vincent House is a part of the international Clubhouse model. We operate under the same standards and values as any clubhouse across the globe. As such, we collaborate together at several training events around the world. For the past two weeks, two Vincent House members and two staff, along with two representatives from Vincent Academy Adventure Coast, traveled to Gateway House in Greenville, South Carolina for the Gateway House Colleague Training. 

The training began on Monday, February 26th, 2018. Our Vincent House team arrived in South Carolina and were happy to start off the event with a great group of fellow clubhouse members. “Everyone seemed to know each of us by name midway through the first day,” exclaims Vincent House staff member, Corydon Martin. Throughout the training their days were filled with discussions on clubhouse operations and how to engage members with meaningful work. 

The Training Team visits a local member at their job
One special field trip during the training was a drive over to TJ Maxx to see Gateway House member, Spencer, in action at his new position there. It was a great opportunity to admire how the clubhouse model really does transform lives and help members get back to work. 

From featuring Vincent House staff member, Asaf Baruh, as an anchor on the Gateway House newscast, to inviting everyone to the local Marvel Comic art exhibit in Greenville, the training has been an exceptional opportunity for new growth and friendship between our clubhouses. Vincent House will be happy to have all of our members back next week, and we look forward to implementing a new action plan to better help members here in Pinellas Park.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Vincent House Team Spotlight: Career and Learning Center

Did you know that Vincent House has a Career and Learning Center in addition to our Recovery Through Work Program? In 2011, Vincent House’s Career and Learning Center (CLC) was established in partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), a government program under the Department of Education to help individuals with disabilities secure the resources they need to return to work. The CLC serves our members who are clients of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in securing permanent employment.  It is separate from Vincent House's Recovery Through Work (RTW) program.

Current Vincent House members who are ready to pursue work after participating in RTW can meet with a DVR counselor to identify the needs and resources individuals may need in order to be work ready, and then link them to these resources. Often one of these resources is a job coach. Staff of the Career Learning Center are job coaches and work in partnership with DVR counselors to help folks meet their vocational goals so that they can be successfully employed.

While many different nonprofits in the Tampa Bay area provide services similar to our Career and Learning Center, what makes the CLC at Vincent House unique is that the staff in both the CLC and Recovery Through Work teams work in partnership on behalf of the members to ensure that the member is working on their vocational goals and skill development while participating in the RTW. The Career and Learning Center works with individuals of all disabilities, not just mental illnesses however if an individual referred by Vocational Rehab also has a diagnosed mental illness, our job coaches can refer them for membership in the Recovery Through Work program. Many of our current members initially came to Vincent House as clients of the Career and Learning Center.

Staff in the CLC provide a full range of job development services. They help members in creating resumes, applying for jobs, and preparing for interviews. In addition, staff are able to assist members in fine-tuning professional appearances, advocating to employers, and attending interviews with the members. The CLC goes above and beyond by helping members in completing new hire paperwork, supporting them through orientations and first days of training, as well as monitoring each individual for six months after they secure the job. 

Vincent House CLC staff liaise between community employers to develop partnerships for employment opportunities for our members.  If you are a current DVR client and are looking for a provider for job development or an employer looking to partner with Vincent House to secure skilled, reliable employees, please contact Lindsay Taylor, Program Director of Vincent House’s Career and Learning Center to discuss the next steps to meeting your goals!   

Friday, February 2, 2018

Welcoming Kerstin to Vincent House

Vincent House recently hired a new staff member in the Arts and Communications team, Kerstin Cook. Kerstin brings a unique skillset and kindhearted personality to the Vincent House team. Get to know a little more about our newest community member below in this featured interview.

Kerstin Cook
Kerstin first came across Vincent House when she was looking for a career which either focused on art and marketing, or one in a non-profit organization that helped people for a worthy cause. “Ideally, I wanted a job that served both purposes, but that seemed like a far reaching goal. That was until I came across Vincent House, and the Arts Rehabilitation Specialist position listed just that,” she exclaimed. Upon her first visit to Vincent House, meeting our wonderful members and seeing the unique Recovery through Work approach, Kerstin felt an immediate connection to the community. “I feel lucky and happy to have been offered the position, and now look forward to coming to work alongside members every day.”

Everyone in the Vincent House community brings a unique perspective and skillset to the team, and Kerstin is no exception. She began her career in digital marketing and graphic design as a Social Media Content Producer for Stetson University Marketing. There she developed skills in brand voice, journalism, and photography. After graduation, she started working at Riviera Dunes Marina as an Office Assistant, where she learned valuable customer service and sales skills. “I’m grateful for what I have learned and accomplished in my career so far. However, I knew I would be happiest in a position where I could really help people that needed it. I believe my diverse set of strengths and collaboration with members will help our community grow in new ways,” Kerstin stated.

Kerstin with members in the Arts & Communications team
We are excited to welcome Kerstin to the community and see how she will benefit our members in our Recovery through Work approach. Every member and staff works together to build up Vincent House, and strive for the best. “I can personally see value in the Recovery through Work platform,” Kerstin stated. “When I was without work for a few months after my graduation, I felt unmotivated and weary about searching for a job. Now, I take great pride in my career and helping members to achieve their own career goals.” To accomplish this, Kerstin brings some creative ideas to the team. From her background with social media and design, she believes we can further develop Vincent House’s social presence, in order to spread the word and help even more potential members in the area. “Ultimately, I believe that we can grow stronger together, creatively and in new ways that members want to go.”

Finally, we all like to know what our Vincent House staff enjoy doing outside of work. As an artist, Kerstin loves to practice her artwork, both traditional and digital. She frequents museums and gardens to get inspired, and she hopes to have her own gallery show open within the next two years. Additionally, Kerstin likes to write creatively, and even founded the poetry slam club in her high school. “I have a lot of diverse interests, from art to television, and I even have the aspiration to write my own rap album someday!” Kerstin exclaims. “I think Vincent House would be a great place to collaborate with members to make our own unique projects.” So once again, please help us in welcoming Kerstin to our Vincent House community.