The United Way’s mission is to improve lives and build communities by engaging individuals and mobilizing action. The Canadian Mental Health Association is one of the United Way’s community partners that focus on building healthy people and strong communities. This is one of three areas of focus that the United Way supports.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is an organization in the South Okanagan and Similkameen that helps individuals with mental illness. One of the programs that CMHA offers is Unity House in Penticton which is a clubhouse that serves adults in our community who live with mental illness. This program gives members the opportunity to connect and socialize with others in a safe environment, through activities, outings and drop-in meals. Healthy lunches are provided at a low cost seven days a week and suppers are provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The center is open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays open until 6 PM with the exclusion of holidays. Information and education on community resources are also provided to clients, and members are able to use their computers for a very low monthly fee. The business unit for the members includes computers, faxes, photocopiers, and laminators to help perform the tasks required for the clubhouse or the clients. The Unity House offers work experience through volunteer opportunities and they encourage a sense of belonging and empowerment among their members. The staff is amazing and the cooperative and caring nature of this clubhouse can be felt the minute you walk through the doors.
This community based program provides support from which clients with mental illnesses can pursue improvements in health, social functioning and community involvement. Unity House is a healthy community that maximizes members’ independence, choice, promotes individual growth and well-being. Clients are encouraged to participate in making the weekly menu, shopping for food with staff, meal preparation, serving, and clean-up. It is a safe and relaxed setting for people to come together, learn from each other and work together. The new community garden also gives clients the opportunity to work together for a collective cause. Unity House offers a variety of social and recreational activities such as bocce ball, cultural presentations, and once a month they have a community yard sale.
Article submitted by Miranda Tumbach
United Way Community Events Summer Associate
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.