Earlier this year, Shore House clubhouse members completed a certificate program from Brookdale Community College in Microsoft Office and Entrepreneurship. This opportunity was made possible by a grant from the Kessler Foundation and created specifically for adults living with mental illness. As a result, students from the non-profit Shore House may use the skills they learned to obtain jobs or even start a business.

“I am proud of our faculty and staff for creating this partnership to provide an opportunity to empower and instill hope for the students of Shore House,” said President of Brookdale Community College, Dr. David M. Stout. “Access to education goes a long way to restore independence and self-worth.”

Shore House Program Director Bailey Taft said, “This education program lived up to the hope that it would immediately increase their skills and expand the possibilities for their future professional lives and contributions to the clubhouse.

Jan, one of the clubhouse members that took part and commented on the program, said, “I plan to volunteer at Shore House by using the skills I learned in both courses at Brookdale.” In addition, she is interested in starting her own business. The experience at Brookdale has supplied a resource to pursue that dream.

Instruction for the entrepreneur program was through Brookdale’s Small Business Development Center, part of a national organization that provides counseling and training to small businesses, including developing and delivering informational tools to support business start-ups and existing business expansion.

Sam enjoyed Brookdale’s campus. He said, “It was a beautifully kept campus, and the classrooms were modern.” Furthermore, about what he learned, he said, “I will apply a few of the financial lessons to my small business. To start, by looking into hiring an accountant to manage my sales accounts.”

It was clear that the experience was a positive one for members. Based on their feedback throughout the program. Students were impressed with the facilities and found the course materials helpful and manageable. Many commented that their professors were outstanding as well.

“I was amazed by the facility and happy to be at Brookdale every day,” said Mary, a student in the program. “I found the teacher to be great and the courses easy to understand.” She plans to take what she learned to improve and support what she does at Shore House.

People were so kind and sweet and gave me compliments, said Bree. “The school gave me a positive experience.” When asked if she would like to continue her education and take more classes, she said, “Absolutely! I want to do social work and activism.”

This was their first time in any adult education or training program for many clubhouse members. Very often, cost and health challenges prevent them from achieving that desire. The grant provided transportation and the customization of the entire curriculum, making it accessible to all who were interested.

“Making education opportunities for adults living with mental illness a reality is one of the cornerstones of our clubhouse model,” said Shore House Executive Director Rich Ambrosino. “I want to thank Brookdale Community College and the Kessler Foundation for making this partnership happen.”

When Taylor joined Shore House, going back to school was a top goal. So, he and everyone from Brookdale and Shore House could not be more excited to celebrate in June as all the students will walk across the stage at Brookdale’s Completion Ceremony.

About Shore House

Shore House, an Accredited Clubhouse, is a unique recovery program offering meaningful social, educational and employment opportunities to restore hope, independence and self-worth for people living with mental illness.​ Our vision is for all people living with a mental illness to have access to the opportunities they need to be happy, confident, productive member of their community, living with hope and a sense of belonging and purpose.