On a recent late summer afternoon at the TOP clubhouse, an inspiring event took place: the first-ever awards ceremony and dinner party in honor of members who are gainfully employed. The horseshoe-shaped table was filled to capacity and members and guests enjoyed speeches, a slide show and a delicious chicken dinner prepared by the kitchen unit. Between dinner and dessert (three flavors of ice cream), certificates of recognition were awarded to ten club members for their outstanding performance and dedication.
At TOP, members who express a desire to work have the opportunity to utilize the services TOP offers, including psychosocial rehabilitation counseling, to clarify and fine tune employment goals and objectives, participation in clerical and kitchen units to build confidence, and Transitional Employment to build job experience. Members can choose Transitional Employment, Supported Employment or Independent Employment—whichever type of employment opportunity interests them based on readiness and skill.
TOP is a safe, supportive psychosocial clubhouse that provides a community where members have a place to belong, feel empowered, and contribute to the daily operation of the clubhouse. Its members are homeless and formerly homeless adults with mental illness, including mentally ill chemically addicted (MICA) individuals, who have lived on the streets for as little as a few months to as long as 25 years. Goddard Riverside created TOP in 1988 to complement the services offered to homeless, formerly homeless, and mentally ill individuals. Some 50 participants attend TOP, which is open to adults 18 years of age and older, although most are 30 to 60 years old.