Member Spotlight: Teal

Member Spotlight: Teal

A journey from isolation and unhappiness to social fulfillment

Teal G. was in a dark place before coming to the Clubhouse. She was very isolated and lonely. And when she would spend time with others, she chose people who, as she describes them, were not good for her. She was also disowned by her family. She recalls, “I had difficulties going into the hospital multiple times, engaging in self-injury, everything. It was no good.”

A glimmer of hope

One of the times Teal was in the hospital, she heard others talking about Vail Place. She decided to give the Uptown Minneapolis Clubhouse a try. From her earliest visits, Teal felt welcomed and comfortable. She commented, “When I first came, I was very medicated and had a hard time expressing myself verbally. I wasn’t concerned about stuttering here, not having the right word. I didn’t have to be nervous.” She was relieved to find the community at Vail Place to be extremely encouraging and supportive. 

It didn’t take long for Teal to realize there were many friends to be made. She truly enjoyed talking with other members, and many of them had a great sense of humor. These people were a welcome change from the negative influences she was used to surrounding herself with. She describes her relationship with other Clubhouse members as “wonderful.” She gets along with everyone and has created meaningful bonds. “I have great friends here,” she said. Sometimes, she even gets together with other members outside of Vail Place.

Finding purpose

Teal not only likes talking with other members, but also playing an active role at the Clubhouse. “I’ve always enjoyed running the snack bar,” she commented. “Now that my knees are better, I run the snack bar at Hopkins.” She likes coming to the Clubhouse in the morning, reading the paper, going to the snack bar and having lunch with others. Afterward, she goes home and does any business she has to take care of. She looks forward to her role at Vail Place and takes it seriously, saying, “I look at this as work, a job. I make sure all of my appointments are after 2:00 p.m. so that I can come in the morning.”

One of the activities Teal especially looks forward to is attending Camp Knutson. Camp Knutson partners with Vail Place to provide a supportive and fun-filled camping experience for members on its 30-acre campus. Teal has made great memories there and considers it a special place. “There’s a big round table that all the Hopkins members sit at,” she said. Camp Knutson has been one of her favorite activities for years now, and she has been a Vail Place member for over a decade.

A new chapter

Things are different for Teal – and much happier – than all those years ago when she was isolating herself and without a family. “This is my family now,” she said. Teal recognizes the healthy growth Vail Place has helped her achieve in her life. “The main change,” she added, “is that I’m not alone.” She now feels like she has a place to go and people to be with.

That purpose and sense of community has prompted her to spread the word about Vail Place to others she knows and cares about. She recently encouraged one of her neighbors to join. After becoming a member, her neighbor was able to find employment through the support and resources there. Teal has experienced first-hand and seen from others what a difference the Clubhouse community can make in a person’s life. If you ask Teal, she’ll tell you Vail Place is “just amazing.”