James Wineinger, CEO of HOPE Clubhouse, speaks to San-Cap Rotary. Rotary photo
James Wineinger, CEO of HOPE Clubhouse, speaks to San-Cap Rotary. Rotary photo

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following report from the Rotary Club of Sanibel Captiva meeting at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club on Friday, Dec. 11, was submitted by Shirley Jewell of the Rotary Club.

Just before I forget and get lost in this column, I want to wish everyone - Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year. For the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary it’s been a great year for working with our community partner organizations and for working shoulder to shoulder with our Rotary family on projects that help families around the globe. 

Rotary International is a humanitarian service organization with over 1.5 million individual members supporting advancement of understanding, goodwill, and peace around the world. Rotary clubs support projects locally and globally with emphasis on education/ literacy, fighting disease such as Polio and AIDS, health care of women and children, clean water, investing in the realization of support for many projects that contribute toward the sustainability of local economies and the growth of a community’s well-being. Projects, also, may support a community’s well-being by addressing social issues that contribute toward poverty, unemployment, and medical/mental health.  Rotarians contribute globally nearly $100 million every year toward humanitarian programs in which Rotary members participate and voluntarily raise funds.

At a recent meeting SanCap Rotary welcomed James Wineinger, the CEO of HOPE Clubhouse. HOPE Clubhouse located in Fort Myers is committed to providing community resources 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, achievement of their full human potential.

Again we talk about numbers and facts…

·         NEWSWEEK… “Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (18.2 percent of the total adult population in the US) suffer from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.”

·         SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION…”Approximately 9.3 million Americans ages 18 and up, experience “serious mental illness” –that is, their condition impedes day-to-day activities, such as going to work.”

·         JAMES WINEINGER, HOPE CLUBHOUSE…Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death here in the states…90 percent of these individuals have some form of mental illness.

·         JAMES WINEINGER, HOPE CLUBHOUSE …60 percent of Adults suffering with mental illness don’t get the treatment they need.

In 2007/2008, a group of mental-health advocates organized the founding of HOPE Clubhouse a 501c3 charitable organization and started their outreach efforts in Southwest Florida for funding and support to provide a place that will serve the mentally ill within Southwest Florida. This place was to be a safe-haven for the mentally ill within our community.  HOPE Clubhouse provides a non-judgmental environment focusing more on the needs of the mentally ill…the clubhouse refers to those served by the HC, as members.  They find their members through partnering organization such as Salus Care of Fort Myers, Lee Memorial Hospital, law enforcement, United Fund, etc.  Many of HC members are homeless needing a place to get out of the elements and receive a meal. 

This is somewhat routine for many outreach programs servicing this population but HOPE Clubhouse provides a place to form friendships and participates in social activities.  The HC staff works to find homes for the homeless and works with Goodwill and other employees to find jobs for their members, works with veterans organizations and medical professionals to locate medical/dental treatment, works finding training programs available within the community.  The main goal is to give HOPE to their members providing opportunity for a better life and tools for becoming a contributing member of society.

Hope Clubhouse staff works in partnership with its members…not focusing on their mental illness but on their needs. Their model wellness and health.

There is a definite stigma and shame placed on anyone who has a mental illness. Mostly this is because of ignorance but the fact is that many mentally ill persons suffer alone. Their families can’t get the help they need and feel that somehow they have failed the person who needs them most. They don’t share this feeling with many; they suffer alone too. 

HOPE Clubhouse provides a place that is safe to express their needs.  The HC provides a safe environment for their members and currently is working on expanding their services and facilities adding showers, mailboxes, computer areas  for job searches and training, a socialization area, meeting rooms, and medical/dental  services .  

Many of us talk about doing something in this country for the mentally ill and their families but what are we really doing?  Check out HOPE Clubhouse on-line, maybe this giving season, you can give a donation in the name of a friend or relative that will be played forward in such a productive way in the community. “JUDGE NOT – THERE, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO I.” …Biblical Quote.,

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has returned to The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for its 7 a.m. Friday morning meetings. As usual, guests are always welcome. Come check out the recent Dunes clubhouse renovations, have a wonderful buffet breakfast, meet great people, and enjoy outstanding speakers. Rotary will not meet on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1.