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Recovery Through Work: ​The Key Clubhouse Is Changing Lives

December 28, 2023

Recently the Kiwanis Club of Dania Beach District 24 held a Council Holiday Meeting with its members and two of the meeting's Guest Speakers: Marilyn Markus-Lieberman and her son spoke of an organization they are a part of that changed her son's life for the better, ​The Key Clubhouse.

The Key Clubhouse is a membership community for individuals living with Serious Mental Illnesses including: Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, Schizoaffective Disorder, PTSD and Anxiety Disorders. By helping individuals maintain stability and achieve recovery, Clubhouses can reduce the economic burden on the community by minimizing the need for expensive Mental Health Crisis Centers.

The organization follows the International Clubhouse Program, which has been adopted by 320 Clubhouses in 34 countries throughout the world. This evidence based program has been shown to reduce the rate of Crisis Hospitalization and Incarceration among people with Mental Illness while also helping people find higher paying employment in the community.

Individuals join The Key Clubhouse as members to volunteer their time, learn new skills and rebuild old ones, find jobs in the community, socialize and assist each other. Membership is FREE.

A big part of the program is helping members prepare for and obtain competitive employment in the community. The Clubhouse's Employment Unit develops partnerships in the community for Transitional and Supported Employment positions for its members. They also assist members in obtaining Independent Employment positions.

The Clubhouse is run by the Members and Staff working together as equals. Every morning and afternoon, meetings are held to organize the tasks to be completed during that day. Members Volunteer for tasks, alongside Staff Members. Members are encouraged to take Leadership Roles by Leading Meetings, Conducting Tours and Orientations and Teaching Skills to other Members.

Key Clubhouse offers its Members a work ordered day in which the talents and abilities of members are recognized and encouraged. By being a part of the Clubhouse, Members will have opportunities to obtain paid employment in mainstream business through a Clubhouse created Transitional Employment Program, as well as through Clubhouse Supported and Independent Employment Programs.

In addition, Members will have:
• ​Assistance in accessing: Community–Based Educational Resources.
• ​Assistance in accessing: Medical, Psychological, Substance Abuse, Wellness and other Community Support Resources.
• ​Access to: Crisis Intervention Services if needed.
• ​Evening, Weekend, Holiday, Social and Recreational Events.
• ​Assistance in: Securing Safe, Decent and Affordable Housing.
• ​Low Cost: Breakfasts and Lunches, prepared and served by our Culinary Unit, which is run by Members and Staff.

How It Started
The Key Clubhouse Of South Florida Organization was founded in 2008 by a Grassroots Group of family members and a young consumer to help people living with Serious Mental Illness reintegrate into the community. After two years of Fundraising and Outreach, the group opened the doors of The Key Clubhouse in July 2010 in Downtown Miami to its first 10 members.

The Clubhouse quickly outgrew its small office space and moved to the Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler Supportive Housing Complex in 2013, where it operated until July 2021.

Through a partnership with Carrfour Supportive Housing, the Clubhouse moved into a new 5,000 Square Foot space in July 2021 on the bottom floor of Northside Commons, an 80-Unit Supportive Housing Complex built primarily for: Low-Income Individuals living with Serious Mental Illness. Approximately half of the apartment units are occupied with Members of The Key Clubhouse. In this location, the Clubhouse is expanding its program to serve more individuals in the community who can benefit from its rehabilitation, Socialization and Employment Services.

The program is funded by the Thriving Mind/Department Of Children and Families, Miami-Dade County, several private foundations and numerous generous contributors.

The Key Clubhouse includes: a Culinary Unit, Business Unit and Communications Unit where Clubhouse Members will work side-by-side with Staff to rebuild their lives. Members will be able to learn Real-World Skills in a Restaurant-Style Training Kitchen, Snack Bar, a small Bank, Video Production Room and Thrift Shop, as part of the Clubhouse’s “Recovery Through Work” Program.

About The Program
The Clubhouse International Program Model is recognized as an Evidence Based Program by the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This Program Model has been highly successful in securing longer-term and better paid employment for its Members.

The Clubhouse has an Open Door Policy: Adults living with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness, regardless of their Insurance Status or Place Of Residence within the County, are welcome to join.

Key Clubhouse is a Member of Thriving Mind/South Florida Behavioral Health Network, the Managing Entity for State-Funded Behavioral Health Services in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

Their mission is to afford people whose lives have been disrupted by Mental Illness the opportunity to Recover Meaningful and Productive Lives through Self-Directed Reintegration into the Workplace and the Community. The goal is a High Quality-Of-Life for all Members, ongoing improvement, and the ultimate elimination of stigma associated with Mental Illness.

The Key Clubhouse offers a stigma-free welcoming environment where everyone is respected and valued for their Personal Strengths, Talents and Skills.

How To Help
The Key Clubhouse is able to offer its program for FREE because of the support we receive from the Community. We have an Open Door Policy at Key Clubhouse: any Adult who has a Serious Mental Illness is welcome to join, whether or not he/she has Insurance. Your contribution allows us to offer a daily program of socialization, meaningful work, pre-employment training, employment placement and HOPE to people seeking to improve their lives.

For more information or to get involved, call: (305) 693-3508 Email: Or visit:

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