Brooks Rehabilitation Center Provides Long-Term Recovery and Stability to Individuals with an Acquired Brain Injury
In 2008, Brooks Rehabilitation opened the Brooks Clubhouse to bridge the gap between medical rehabilitation and integration into daily life. The Clubhouse helps people like Jamar White regain social, physical, cognitive and vocational abilities. When he was 16 years old, White was hit by a car while walking down the street one night. He wasn’t found until the next day and he remained in a coma for weeks. White began his therapy at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital and continued his recovery at one of the Brooks Rehabilitation outpatient clinics. Following his outpatient rehabilitation, White became an integral part of the culinary unit at the Clubhouse. “I have always wanted to cook, and I have learned a lot.” White had no professional culinary skills prior to his treatment at Brooks Rehabilitation. Now his skills range from food preparation, to sanitation, and help with cooking and baking. White was also the first Clubhouse member to earn a food handler license through the Brooks Clubhouse. He was recently hired for full-time culinary employment with the help of the Brooks Clubhouse vocational counselor and job coach.
The Clubhouse plays an integral role in rehabilitation for patients like White because there is a significant transition from rehabilitation to “normal” life. The Brooks Clubhouse day program addresses lifelong living for individuals over the age of 16 who have suffered an acquired brain injury and have completed formal medical rehabilitation. It is currently the only Brain Injury Clubhouse in Florida and one of only 24 in the world.
“I love the teamwork in the kitchen because it motivates me to play my part, and I love to see the smiles on the customers’ face.” – Jamar White, Brooks Clubhouse Member and an integral part of meal preparation at the Clubhouse
The Clubhouse is membership-based organization, with a sliding scale fee structure dependent upon household income. While the Clubhouse has received some grants to supplement its operations, the majority of operational costs are provided by Brooks Rehabilitation Community Health Foundation. Approximately 65 percent of costs are currently funded by the rehabilitation hospital.
Open five days a week, the Clubhouse offers two tracks for members: a community track, and a vocational track. The goal of the community track is to enhance rehabilitation outcomes, life skill abilities and general quality of life. The program focuses on helping members meet their goals by providing opportunities for socialization, life skill training and meaningful, productive activities in a safe and caring environment.
“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something” – Clubhouse Motto
The vocational track is for those with a goal of employment as well as enhancing their rehabilitation outcomes, life skill abilities and general quality of life. The Brooks Clubhouse helps facilitate employment opportunities through pre-vocational training, volunteer work and supported employment. Members have the option to choose from several areas of training in the three main work units at the Clubhouse: Kitchen/ Dietary, Business/Clerical, and Facilities Maintenance /Product Production. Each of these work units have between five to 15 members working daily, side-by- side with staff and volunteers, to accomplish the daily work at the Clubhouse.
To date, more than 280 individuals have benefited from the Brooks Clubhouse. For those who want, and are able, to return to work, the Clubhouse provides the skills and support needed. Of those who enter the vocational track, approximately 12-15 individuals return to work every year.