On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Whaler Inn & Suites of New Bedford was honored at the Statehouse in Boston for being an exemplary employer of individuals living with psychiatric conditions and for choosing to diversify its workforce by employing members of Anchor House. Funded by the Department of Mental Health (DMH), Anchor House is an employment and recovery center operated by Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR), a nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization offering programs for individuals with mental illness and addiction disorders across seven states.
This event was organized by the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC), a nonprofit organization that develops the leadership of those who have a psychiatric illness.
Alongside staff, these individuals, called “members,” help to run these centers while also receiving services. DMH-funded clubhouse centers serve over 7,000 residents of the Commonwealth annually and provide services designed to help their members live successful lives in their communities. Clubhouses across Massachusetts offer a welcoming, productive place for members to come during the day; assisting members with gaining employment, pursuing educational goals, researching and securing housing, and helping with dual recovery from addictions as well as peer and wellness supports.
FHR’s Anchor House, located in New Bedford, serves approximately 200 residents of New Bedford, Fairhaven, Wareham, Acushnet, and North Dartmouth, promoting recovery from mental illness through employment and a community-based support network. FHR also offers clubhouse programming at Towne House in Fall River, Corner Clubhouse in Taunton, Fairwinds Clubhouse in Falmouth, and Harbor House in Providence, Rhode Island.
Representative Antonio Cabral presented the award to Jamie (hotel manager) and Heather (housekeeping manager) of Whaler Inn & Suites alongside more than 20 legislators, their staff, and DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula. In total, 30 companies were honored at the event.
A select group of employers received special recognition for their leadership on the MCC’s Employment Expansion Project Employer Advisory Board. These industry leaders work to outreach other companies to develop additional employment opportunities for Clubhouse members and to deepen their own company’s commitment to employing individuals living with psychiatric challenges with support.
Representative Marjorie Decker, Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, honored these outstanding employers, stating, “What you are being honored for today is what we want all the companies in Massachusetts to be doing, so thank you for recognizing ability and providing opportunities.”
These members of the Employer Advisory Board are: Jeremy Scott, Owner of Affordable Cleaning Solutions, Steven Beck, Executive Director of the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, Andrea Gewirtz, Vice President of Statewide Services for the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Jeanne Strickland, Executive Director of the Newton Community Development Foundation, John Peacock, Executive Director of the Waltham Chamber of Commerce, Andrea Allard, Executive Director of the Westfield YMCA, and Leisa Meade, Edgar Rodas, and Angel Ruiz Rodriguez, Human Resources Generalist, Project Coordinator, and Environmental Service Manager, respectively, of the Milford Regional Medical Center.
Whaler Inn & Suites has employed a number of members from Anchor House for the past year in a transitional employment arrangement. Through this employment opportunity, members engage in various tasks at the hotel including vacuuming, cleaning, and setting-up the rooms for the guests. The members have found Heather and Jaime at the Whaler Inn & Suites to be sensitive to their needs and very accommodating in helping them succeed. Although no members are currently working due to seasonal business fluctuations, Heather and Jaime remain committed to helping Anchor House members regain a sense of self-sufficiency and to be successful.
Grace Cabral, FHR Integrated Marketing and Communications Manager
(401) 642-4406, firstname.lastname@example.org