Elkhart County Clubhouse provides jobs for mentally ill residents

A community center in Goshen is offering employment resources for residents with mental disabilities.

And the Elkhart community is helping the center by offering employment opportunities to its members.

Elkhart County Clubhouse is partnering with several local businesses to provide purpose for many of its members suffering from mental illnesses.

The center's goal is to enable its members to reclaim their lives while maintaining hope.

“Oftentimes I would have a lot of anxiety at work and sometimes it would build up so badly that I would have to leave for the day,” said Steve Ghrist, an employee for Springer Design.

“I was convinced that staying in my room and not leaving and going to the bathroom in 2 liters was not depressing, but it is," said Joshua Barhydt, another employee for Springer Design.

Barhydt and Ghrist both felt useless because of their mental disabilities but found opportunity at Springer Design.

“I started getting interested in what they actually did and became a printer,” said Barhydt.

Both men are members of the Elkhart County Clubhouse and this job was a part of the center's transitional employment program.

“We have employer partnerships, we have relationships with employers across the town that help people get jobs,” said Rich Meyer, director of Elkhart County Clubhouse.

After moving in to their 5th Street home four years ago, local shops wanted to help.

“It's amazing when you get behind someone and encourage them how much of a difference that makes” said Tyler Springer, owner of Springer Design.

Springer, hires from the Clubhouse because he knows a little encouragement and productivity can go a long way.

“Week after week you really see these people transforming seeking fulfillment and it's really amazing” said Springer.

And for Ghrist says opportunities like this is life changing.

The Elkhart County Clubhouse has over 100 members today and partners with several small businesses in Goshen to provide those members with jobs.

This story was first reported in the Elkhart Truth.
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