Support Amy and all the members of Grand Avenue Club by donating today!

November 2018

Dear Friend of Grand Avenue Club,

 

I had been running a call center for 10 years but in November 2012 my life fell apart when all my health issues caught up with me: fibromyalgia, gastroparesis, depression, PTSD, and anxiety.  I didn’t know it then, but I also had bipolar disorder.  My frequent physical and psychological breakdowns really took a toll.  I lost my job because of my health issues.

           

Losing my job meant losing my health insurance and access to my doctors and medications. I went through a severe withdrawal and a complete break from reality.  I suffered several minor strokes and was bedridden for 9 months and barely mobile for a year. Although my application to receive Social Security Disability was rejected, I qualified for Badger Care, a state health insurance plan and got help, but my progress was slow. After a year and a half of physical therapy, I was only able to walk 3 blocks and stand for 20 minutes. Because I was then diagnosed with bipolar illness, a psychiatrist was able to offer me psychotherapy every other week.

           

But I was still a wreck, leaving my room only to go to the bathroom or to a doctor’s appointment.   

           

Then my therapist recommended Grand Avenue Club (GAC). But I wasn’t ready to force myself out of the door to get there so I ended up being hospitalized for a breakdownI had lost hope and felt reduced to nothing. When I was released from the hospital, my therapist mentioned GAC again.  It sounded interesting, but I had to get out of the house first. Finally, I came to GAC and joined.  I chose to work in the Education/Employment Unit.  My goal was to get back to work.

           

I started slowly at GAC, coming in every other day.  The walk to the bus stop was very hard, but at least I was leaving the house and being around people after years of isolation.  I loved using my computer skills so on most days I helped put together GAC’s daily newspaper, among other things.  Everyone was so welcoming and supportive.  I was dealing with so much in my life, but someone was always there to help or to listen.

           

After a few months, I was given the opportunity to do a Group Placement at United Way.  This gave me confidence and I felt productive. I was then offered a Transitional Employment Position at Derco Aerospace.  That was when things started turning around.  It was part-time and I was earning a regular paycheck again!  I was motivated and learned Derco’s computer system pretty quickly so I got to do other things around the warehouse.  By this time I was doing so well I went off my primary anti-depressant.

The experience I got at Derco was enough for me to land a full-time Independent Employment position with Astronautics Corporation of America.  I have been working 40 hours a week for 6 months now, and I’m doing it on my feet, constantly moving parts and boxes.  For the first time in my life, I have health, dental, vision, and life insurances as well as a 401K.  My supervisor is urging me to take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program.  After my one year work anniversary, I will return to school to study Inventory and Production Management.  That way I can move up and work in several departments.

 

GAC supported me all along the way and helped me rebuild my life.  I went from near death and a disconnect from reality to being a functional person taking care of herself.

 

I’ve just gone off my second anti-depressant. In the last 2 years, I have lost

almost 80 pounds. I have opened up to being in a relationship with my boyfriend for the last 6 months – this after closing myself off from others for years.

Grenesha Reed, Eva Norton, Amy Multhaus
and Imogene Hines on their way to work, February 2017

I would not be where I am today without GAC. I hope you will contribute generously to our 2018 Winter Appeal so that more members can members

can resume a good life or experience it for the very first time. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

 

Amy Multhauf

Amy and her boyfriend
Summer 2018

  • Amy’s story is one of many illustrating how Grand Avenue Club opportunities lead to increased productivity and life satisfaction. We serve approximately 450 active members every year.

 

  • As of today 238,021 children and adults in Milwaukee County experience the challenge of a mental illness. Of these, 57,125 cope with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, and major depression.

 

  • Active Clubhouse members have significantly lower mental health care costs and far fewer psychiatric hospitalizations compared to other psychiatric patients.

 

  • In 2017 GAC members earned $1.4 M in taxable revenue, nearly all of which was spent in Milwaukee County.

 

Your generous support is critical to our success. Thank you!



Support Amy and all the members of Grand Avenue Club by donating today!