Creating Change in the World
The Carriage House
On May 1, 2014, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Pope Francis reminded the world that “Work is part of God’s loving plan for humanity.” Since 2000, The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation has been providing grant support to The Carriage House to advance this basic teaching of Jesus Christ and promote their Sponsor’s, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, legacy of service to the most vulnerable.
One of Andy Wilson’s core beliefs that guides him on a daily basis is that “Work is good.” For Wilson, his work as the Executive Director of The Carriage House, Fort Wayne’s Clubhouse Program affiliate that serves those with chronic mental illness, begins every day at 7:30 a.m. It is apparent as soon as one steps foot through the door that it is a community of equals, a feeling that Wilson works hard to foster. The Clubhouse programs practice non-traditional rehab for the mentally ill. It is not insignificant that those who come to get well are called “members,” rather than “patients.” In keeping with Wilson’s belief that work is good, the members at The Carriage House work the reception desk, clean the facility, and prepare the meals served daily.
Wilson’s goal is to “set the tone” and maintain a “culture of hope,” as he describes it, by which he and everyone who participates in it, especially its members, “assure that the community is healthy.” The community Wilson oversees is made up of The Carriage House staff of eight and its over 400 active members, as well as their families. Through the dignity of work, the facility allows its members to be needed and, along with their families, to begin to recover their lives. In this way, the community at The Carriage House, Wilson says, is able to truly have a larger effect and “change the world.”
Written by: Charlie Klingenberger,
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