By Chris Engelhardt
The Citiview Connections Clubhouse, a Long Island City center for adults with psychiatric disabilities, has a new location and the recent move has helped generate interest about its mission and professional services, the center’s director said.
Citiview is operated by Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, one of the oldest and largest providers of vocational, training and employment services in New York City. The goal is for members with chronic mental illness to learn new skills, forge friendships and access employment and educational opportunities.
Members also participate in educational, recreational, social and vocational activities, and take work-related roles to carry out daily operations at the clubhouse. A total of 105 members are currently enrolled in the clubhouse.
Russell Roten, director at Citiview, said the clubhouse opened in December 1994, at 42-15 Crescent St. in Long Island City. But after the lease for the space ended this year, the clubhouse had to change locations. It found a new home, at 33-24 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City, where it has operated since April 1.
And since the move, Roten, who started as director in February, said he has seen an increase in interest for membership and a stronger rapport among members.
“It’s a community of people who really understand each other,” he said.
The clubhouse features a business center computer lab, transitional employment unit, café and living room. It also includes a state-of-the-art kitchen, where homemade meals are prepared daily.
Cherry Griffin, a coordinator for the transitional employment unit, said staff assist members with job searches, résumé writing and practice interviewing. Members are placed in part-time positions in the community for six to nine months earning minimum wage or more, she said. Some members also work toward getting referrals to obtain GEDs.
A major aspect of Citiview, said Mitch Levine, a seven-year member, is social interaction among members. Whether through fulfilling cleaning duties, shopping for groceries or participating in open mic nights, developing social skills is crucial.
“Staff and volunteers always work together,” said Levine, who handles phone reception duties. “My time is more structured because of Citiview.”
With Citiview set to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, Roten said his hope is to continue to provide members with a holistic experience and to help them meet their personal goals.
“People come and go, but that’s because someone gets a job or goes to school,” he said. “But we keep in touch. Once a member, always a member.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.