Crossroads began with an idea of "what could be" in 1993. Twelve individuals were attending an afternoon program at Day Centre of the Cape Breton Hospital. Dr. Gillian Leigh had visited Progress Place in Toronto and came to us, sharing her experience of this wonderful thing called "clubhouse". We visited Connections Clubhouse in Halifax and became inspired by their energy, sense of purpose and community. We started envisioning a new reality for us: a community filled with caring, working and successful people; individuals feeling hopeful and reclaiming their lives.
The Kitchen Club & The Sandwich Tray
The journey towards clubhouse began with small but significant steps.
Committed to our vision, a few of us at Day Center started the "Kitchen Club". Up until this point, the refreshments had been provided by the hospital cafeteria. They would prepare the snacks, deliver them to us and clean up after break. Once we learned about the partnership at clubhouse, we began planning, shopping and preparing the snack trays that the group enjoyed at break time. This small but instrumental step towards “taking care of ourselves” rather than “being taken care of” was in fact, a big change in how we saw ourselves.
If you visit Crossroads today, you will see a faded old sandwich tray hanging proudly on our wall; it reminds us of our wonderful beginning and the many people who journeyed with us in those early days.
Opening Our Doors
We formed a Clubhouse Planning Committee, which included committed Day Center staff, colleagues from Mental Health Services, our first Coordinator and three client representatives from the afternoon program. We will forever be grateful to members of this planning group:
Ms. Sylvia Chaisson
Mr. John MacDonald
Ms. Janice Smith
Ms. Marie MacAdam
Dr. Gillian Leigh
Ms. Ave Tobin
Ms. Marilyn Ivey
Ms. Colleen Cann
Together this group met regularly to create a clear vision, develop initial policies, secure funding, hire our first staff, identify a location, etc. We formally celebrated the closure of the "afternoon program” at Day Centre and invited those twelve individuals to apply to be our first clubhouse members. Eight remarkable people chose to embark on this new clubhouse adventure. (Many of those first eight members are still a part of our community today!) We held our first Membership Meeting in October of 1994.
In the Spring of 1995, the first colleague team from Crossroads went to Progress Place in Toronto, an international training base, for 3 Week Clubhouse Training.
Armed with buckets to clean and a sense of hope for the future, we moved into our first club at 288 Bentinck St., Sydney in May of 1995. A month later, we chose our name "Crossroads" – a symbol of our partnership with one another and of the many new roads we saw lying before us. Later that month, in June of 1995, we opened our doors to welcome the community.