Vinfen’s Point After Club held their 4th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Celebration on May 5 at Lawrence Heritage State Park, followed by a Gala Reception in space donated by the city of Lawrence. The event brought together dozens of clubhouse members, staff, friends, family and supporters, which focused on the theme of “Risky Business” to educate the public on habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illness.
The afternoon kicked off with a set from the Point After Club Allstar Jug Band and Chorus. Clubhouse Director Tom Coppinger and member Anna Harris welcomed everyone to the event, and introduced members Mirna Alvarez and Gloria Robey to provide an explanation for the “Risky Business” theme, both in English and Spanish.
Clubhouse member Keith Adamson then shared his story of recovery, addiction, and long-term sobriety with those in attendance, receiving an enthusiastic round of applause. After, Mental Health Advocate and Vet to Vet Founder Moe Armstrong spoke about his own recovery and asserted the effectiveness of the clubhouse model. “We need to educate the world in peer support, because peer support groups are the future,” Moe said. “A place like Point After Club- a safe, sober, secure place where people can be reached person to person- that’s the dream.” Inspired by Mirna and Gloria, Moe chose to deliver his address both in English and Spanish.
Also speaking at the event was Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Lawrence Eileen O’Connor, who shared a proclamation on behalf of the mayor asserting how much of an asset the club has been to the local community. Finally, Cove Clubhouse member Paul Tougas spoke about his art installation, which he’d put up as part of the Gala Reception at Lawrence Heritage State Park. The exhibit, which Paul personally curated, brought together work from artists at 45 Clubhouses internationally to create a powerful mosaic that spoke to the diversity of all those who participated in the project, and the string of common experience uniting Clubhouse members worldwide.
To learn more about Point After Club, visit www.pointafterclub.org.