Recent News

No Longer Lonely - Acceptance and friendship at Vail Place have transformed Fatuma’s life Before arriving at Vail Place in November 2017, Vail Place member Fatuma felt sicker and lonelier than she ever had before in her life. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety, and paranoia when she was only a teenager, Fatuma (now 38) had struggled with mental illness most of her life. “I had been seeing a psychologist for almost 16 years. But medication wasn’t helping me. I had no one close to me to share my problems with,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.” A Phone Call Changed Everything With the help of her doctor and Hennepin County mental health professionals, Fatuma was directed to Vail Place. The first time she visited, however, she felt uncertain about whether she would fit in with the other members of the Clubhouse,  whose backgrounds and interests seemed different from her own. A phone call from another Clubhouse member named Caitlin changed everything. “I was having a bad, bad day,” Fatuma said. “Caitlin called me and said she wanted to check on me and see how I was. If people don’t come to the Clubhouse, they call to ask how you are. She told me they missed me.” Having someone demonstrate that they cared and were concerned made all the difference. “I hung up the phone. I didn’t have a car at that time, so I walked right to Cub Foods and bought a bus pass,” Fatuma said. “I took a bus to Vail Place the next day.” ‘Everybody at Vail Place Understands Me’

Do you have a minivan you're willing to donate? Our little white minivan died at the Dr. Vail Hour fundraiser! We need a minivan to go grocery shopping for the Clubhouses and to take members to the grocery store and smaller group outings and excursions. A mini...

Many Paths, One Story In both his professional and personal life, HR Coordinator John Fournelle has a fondness for stories. As he prepares to celebrate his two-year work anniversary at Vail Place in November, John said one of his favorite parts of the job is the opportunity he has to interact with Clubhouse members and learn their stories. “It’s not an ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ kind of environment here at all,” said John. “We are all part of Vail Place and I value the fact that I get to know so many people here.” In his role as HR coordinator, John has “16 mega areas” for which he’s responsible including payroll, benefits, training, onboarding and more. Across the agency, John said Vail Place is on target to have 70 employees by year’s end, so managing data is a major task. John has also been instrumental in new initiatives at Vail Place, like the current Tobacco Free program and the organization’s Diversity Council. John spends most of his time at Vail Place’s administrative offices in Hopkins, as well as at the Hopkins Clubhouse, but he also frequently travels to the Uptown Clubhouse and Vail House in Dinkytown, a 23-bed residential group housing facility formerly known as Cabrini Transitional Housing. “It’s really important for me as HR Coordinator to not only meet with managers onsite regularly but for the people there to know who I am and how they can work with me as needed,” he said.

Vail Place was recently awarded the 2018 MACMHP Program Innovation and Community Collaboration Award by the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) for our commitment to going tobacco-free in our facilities. Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention and Mental Health Resources nominated Vail Place along...

‘A Community of Total Honesty and Trust’ Clubhouse member and rapper Danny Evans sings the praises of Vail Place Danny Evans admits he was reluctant about joining the Hopkins Clubhouse. However, since becoming a member in April 2017, his life has been transformed in many ways. Danny, who...

Twenty years ago, Vail Place member Fiona K. could barely will herself to leave the front steps of her home, much less socialize or talk in front of a group of people. That was before she found Vail Place. According to Fiona, Clubhouse has transformed...

Suzanne’s successful career as a magician is no illusion After starting her career as a computer programmer, a performing artist known professionally as Suzanne the Magician, transformed her life…with magic. Suzanne recently celebrated 33 years as a professional magician, and now says she realizes that “if there is a destiny, I was destined to do this.” It was puzzles and not magic tricks, which first attracted Suzanne’s attention. “I always loved solving puzzles when I was a kid. I’d get those Mensa books and spend time trying to figure out the puzzles,” she said. In college, Suzanne was drawn to computer programming (“That’s a puzzle, too, isn’t it?”) but in the mid-1980s, she took an informal magic class for a few months from a local magician. In 1985, her then-boyfriend (now husband) was playing in a band on the weekends, so Suzanne started working magic gigs at two Ground Round restaurants in the Twin Cities. “I would perform for four hours on Friday night at one location, and four hours on Saturday night at the other,” she said. “Eight hours a week of practice for a magician is a lot, especially for someone just starting out.” Still working as a computer programmer, Suzanne expanded her schedule to include regular appearances at the American Café, now The Metropolitan. In just a matter of a couple of years, she was in high demand with corporate clients and had accumulated enough regular gigs to quit her day job and do magic fulltime. Brush with Fame

Vail Place members and staff will be at the Minnesota State Fair this year for Mental Health Awareness Day. There will be speakers, entertainment and 34 exhibitors focusing not just on mental illness, but also mental wellness. WHERE: Dan Patch Park at the Minnesota State Fair WHEN:...

This weekend, August 17-18, Vail Place will participate in the 13th annual Great River Ragnar Relay race. A team of our members and staff will be at the event to raise awareness for mental health and to fundraise for our community programs. Ragnar Relays are overnight...

‘I Didn’t Find Vail Place - Vail Place Found Me’ Board member Char Chmielewski talks about the organization’s impact

When Char Chmielewski first became involved with Vail Place seven years ago, she anticipated coming at the experience solely from a business perspective. What she didn’t expect was how deeply her heart would be touched by the courage and resilience of Vail Place members, or the huge impact the organization would have on her personally. “I have so much compassion for the members at Vail Place,” Char says “Although it’s heartbreaking how hard it can be for them sometimes just to live life on a daily basis, at the same time I feel so proud that they are taking their lives back, diving into the programs and just doing the work. Plus their attitudes are incredible. They are so grateful for the community they’ve found at Vail Place.”

Total Care Collaborative - Accountable Communities for Health The Accountable Community for Health (ACH) project between Vail Place and North Memorial Health is building a system of care for adults experiencing behavioral health disorders and co-occurring physical health diseases. The ACH reaches out to patients based...

Nothing beats a phone call for reaching out to friends and family, but if you need more ideas here are some great ways to get more pledges for Tour de Vail! 1.    Make a Facebook Live video asking for pledges. 2.  Tell everyone their money will be...