The Breakthrough Club Community

Breakthrough Club is a social and vocational program for persons with a mental illness. The club was originally part of Episcopal Social Services. In 1992 it became a freestanding non-profit organization modeled on the Fountain House "clubhouse model" concept in New York City. Breakthrough Club is fully accredited by the International Center on Clubhouse Development.

In 2008, mental health funding was drastically cut in the state of Kansas and by local government agencies. Breakthrough Club lost 75% of its funding and had to drastically cut services.

In 2012, Breakthrough Club reunited with Episcopal Social Services (ESS); together, both organizations are available to serve those who are poor and/or disabled by symptoms of mental illness. Breakthrough Club continues to grow and remains a valuable resource for those living with mental illness in the Wichita community.

Breakthrough Club developed out of the need to help persons who have mental illnesses improve the quality of their lives. Early leaders of the Breakthrough Club program decided to implement a clubhouse model program in Wichita, KS. The "clubhouse" model, started by Fountain House in New York City, caught her attention.

The idea behind the clubhouse is that the staff and members are equal, sharing equal responsibility for the day to day functioning of the clubhouse. This is different than most rehabilitation programs because the clients are working through their mental illness with the support of staff and others who are experiencing the same difficulties. Fountain House defines a clubhouse this way:

"A clubhouse is committed to helping people with mental illness stay out of hospitals while achieving educational, financial and vocational goals. Responsibility for operation of the Clubhouse lies with the members and staff, who are engaged in all aspects of Clubhouse operation."

It's our hope that when our members come on a daily, weekly or monthly basis that they feel personally invested in their recovery and in helping others recover.

The clubhouse model affirms the value of members and their ability to be part of a meaningful community regardless of mental illness.

The Four Guaranteed Rights of Membership are:

• A right to a place to come
• A right to meaningful relationships
• A right to meaningful work
• A right to a place to return