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First Savings Bank Nationally Recognized for Employing Members of Penn Foundation’s Wel

FSB_Award_4.1On November 16, 2011, First Savings Bank received a National Clubhouse Employment Award in recognition of its partnership with Penn Foundation’s Wellspring Clubhouse in employing individuals with mental illness. Bank President & CEO Fred Schea and Customer Care Center Supervisor Marie Koch traveled to the Capitol in Washington DC where United States Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick recognized the bank’s leadership in helping individuals with mental health challenges re-enter the workforce.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Wellspring Clubhouse to provide workplace opportunities for its clients,” says Schea, “ We hope the participants in the program have learned as much from us as we have learned from them about desire, courage, and a willingness to take on new challenges in life.”

“Work is so important to mental health recovery,” explains Lu Mauro, Wellspring Clubhouse Director. “It provides a sense of pride, accomplishment, and contribution. It also provides an opportunity for Clubhouse members to participate in a regular role in the community, just like everybody else. In the three years we have partnered with First Savings Bank, eight Wellspring Clubhouse members have completed a successful 6 -9 month Transitional Employment Placement at the bank.”

“Supervising the participants in the Transitional Employment Placement program has been a very rewarding experience,” says Marie Koch, Customer Care Center Supervisor at First Savings Bank. “They are wonderful people who work very hard to do a good job every day. The work they do is productive and helpful for the Bank – they are not just filling a desk. It’s great to have them as part of the Customer Care Center team.”

“Working at First Savings Bank was very important to me because it helped to build my self-esteem and face my challenges every day,” says Wellspring Clubhouse member Patty Hannon. “Having the support of my boss and other employees who were always there to help me made it a wonderful experience. I thank them for this wonderful opportunity.”

The November 16th event is organized by the National Employment Expansion Project, an effort to engage employers in helping those with mental illness in overcoming the stigma that poses a barrier to self-sufficiency for many. Those hired receive support from over 200 employment and recovery centers across the country, called “ICCD Clubhouses,” a service recently recognized as an Evidenced Based Practice by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Wellspring Clubhouse is a voluntary rehabilitation program based on the original “Clubhouse Model” developed by Fountain House in New York City in 1948. The purpose of the Clubhouse is to promote recovery and instill hope among members with mental health and/or co-occurring substance use challenges. The Clubhouse Model features member leadership and involvement in all aspects of the program. Members work side-by-side with staff as colleagues to run the program, to learn or teach skills, and to offer support and resources needed to achieve a satisfying and improved quality of life in the community.

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