Senator Curt VanderWall presented the award to Anthony.
Anthony shared details about his recovery journey: “Early on in my employment journey I struggled to build endurance and stamina as well as physical strength to do the jobs. Not only was endurance and strength a challenge for me but also time management while holding multiple jobs. I was getting paid sub-minimum wage and holding seasonal positions and oftentimes had to rely on temp agencies to fill in gaps when I wasn’t working. When I began working I was fearful of discrimination due to stigma in the community, and when the pandemic happened it caused another sense of anxiety and fear caused by being high risk and stigma for being cautious. Despite all of the challenges I have faced with employment, I was able to overcome them and now I have consistent year-round employment with above minimum wage pay. I have been able to increase my social network and I have made several friends through the years at my various jobs. In my steps toward recovery, employment has enabled me to create a structured routine and help establish ways to stay balanced. These routines are key components in managing my mental illness. Through my employment the ability to have more disposable income has increased my social avenues and gives me more options for better choices in diet and fitness. My employment continues to be vital and beneficial to my recovery and give purpose and meaning to my life.”
Amy Kotulski, Club Cadillac Director, also attended and spoke about Anthony’s work: “Anthony started coming to Club Cadillac in 2013 and became interested in our employment program. He worked our seasonal Lawn Crew position and had wonderful success. He learns quickly, is adaptable, and has many skills that helped him thrive in those jobs. A combination of Anthony’s drive and the confidence he built working transitional employment helped him obtain independent employment in the community. Anthony has become a role model and leader in the Clubhouse by sharing his experiences working the transitional employment placements with new members, and talking about his jobs in the community. He has been a strong leader on our Employment Committee and helped us revamp our Lawn Crew position for the 2022 season.”
Clubhouses are comprehensive rehabilitation, recovery and support centers that help people with major mental illness live successfully in the community. Clubhouses are federally recognized as an evidenced-based practice by SAMHSA. There are more than 200 Clubhouses in the United States that support over 45,000 adults in their recovery, with 43 clubhouses in Michigan, more than any other state.