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Wellspring Clubhouse has enabled individuals with mental illness


Wellspring Clubhouse, a program of St. Luke’s Penn Foundation, epitomizes the vision that Penn Foundation’s founding Medical Director Dr. Norman Loux had when he envisioned mental health services for the community in the community.

Located in Sellersville, the Clubhouse is a voluntary social, educational and vocational rehabilitation program for adults living with mental illness that is based on the original “Clubhouse Model” founded by Fountain House in New York City in 1948.

“For 30 years, Wellspring Clubhouse has enabled individuals living with mental illness to remain in and be contributing members of their community. With its support, these individuals have defied the stigma and limitations unfairly associated with mental illness and have gone back to school, to work, to volunteer and more,” said Jocelyn Giancola, Wellspring Clubhouse program manager.

“It has given their lives meaning, which in turn, makes our community healthier. The Clubhouse offers these individuals a special place where they are always welcome, where they are appreciated, where they are more than their illness and where they are never alone.”

To mark its 30th anniversary, Wellspring Clubhouse celebrated with the community at large during an open house in April. The celebration included food made by its Health and Wellness Unit, tours of the Clubhouse, member stories and a choir performance.

Wellspring Clubhouse was developed by Penn Foundation’s Continuing Care team over several years in the 1980s. At the time, there was very little funding available for social rehabilitation, so the team implemented pieces of what would later become integrated to help form Wellspring Clubhouse, such as a breakfast program, a resource library, two social clubs, a stationary store and a newsletter.

The team began fundraising and built up funds over a period of eight years. In 1992, it received a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to help establish a Fountain House model Clubhouse. The planning committee composed of Clubhouse Director Lu Mauro and five members began planning and implementing the grant objectives, including finding the Clubhouse a home.

The team was able to renew this grant seven times due to meeting and exceeding grant objectives. Therefore, for 14 of its 30 years, The Pew Trust funded Wellspring Clubhouse, only stopping once the Clubhouse achieved sustainable funding through Magellan Behavioral Health and increases in funding from both Bucks and Montgomery counties.

During that time, it also found its original and current locations.

“Wellspring Clubhouse started out in a two-story farmhouse but outgrew it. We moved into our current home in Sellersville in 2008 and have been here ever since,” Giancola noted.

“At Wellspring Clubhouse, we believe in people, the environment is welcoming and uplifting, and it is voluntary. We believe that by focusing on individuals’ unique strengths and talents instead of their diagnoses and symptoms and valuing their partnership in the actual operation of the Clubhouse, people will grow in confidence and tell you about themselves, their goals and their dreams. The person is in the driver’s seat,” Mauro said.

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