Catholic Charities Providing Bright Horizons

Submitted Article

FULTON, NY – Thanks to the efforts of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, those receiving mental health services in the greater Pulaski area have a place to turn to for additional support and community involvement.

Catholic Charities’ Bright Horizons Clubhouse provides a community service club for past and current recipients of mental health services.

Recipient run with the aid of peer support, Bright Horizons offers club members a wide range of support.

Catholic Charities Providing Bright Horizons
Jill Slocum (right), program advisor with Bright Horizons Clubhouse in Pulaski, and clubhouse member Helen prepare lunch for members in the clubhouse’s kitchen.

“Our emphasis at Bright Horizons is on the rehabilitating properties of cooperative volunteer work, socialization and informal presentation,” explained Program Advisor, Jill Slocum. “Our members work together to keep the club running smoothly.”

Slocum, a former special education teacher at Oswego County BOCES, has served as program advisor since July.

At Bright Horizons, Slocum helps members with every aspect of operating a clubhouse including preparing meals, planning activities, handling phone calls, household chores and whatever else needs to be done to successfully run the clubhouse.

Recently the members have been busy apple picking and baking pies for their upcoming Thanksgiving dinner and choosing community projects to get involved with.

One project the members look forward to is visiting the Friendship Shop in Sandy Creek and volunteering their time to wrap Christmas presents.

“Our members enjoy being involved with their community and being a part of Bright Horizons,” said Slocum. “This is a very rural area.  Having a club like Bright Horizons available to provide members with social interaction is wonderful. It is a positive experience for them to join us for lunch and share a meal with their fellow members. For many it is their only hot meal of the day.”

Another aspect of the clubhouse that the members look forward to is the wellness support group meetings that are held twice a month on Friday mornings.

Led by Phil Laux and other members of Catholic Charities’ Peer Advocacy Program,  the wellness support group meetings address a number of pertinent issues facing those dealing with mental illness such as honing ones basic living skills, establishing and managing a budget, functioning effectively in social situations.

Jerry, a Bright Horizons member for the past two years, enjoys the companionship the clubhouse offers.

“I like meeting the people that come to the clubhouse.  I look forward to coming to Bright Horizons and visiting with them,” he said.

Inspired by a recent conference, Slocum said that Bright Horizons will soon be seeing some positive changes in its future as she looks for more community service products for the members to be involved with as well as the possibility of establishing arts and crafts classes and exercise classes for the members at the clubhouse.

“The recent New York State Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Conference, held Oct. 3 and 4 in Ellensville was very enlightening.” said Slocum. “It was a wonderful learning experience.  The conference brought together professionals and peers for a series of workshops and presentations that provided us with many different perspectives on working with this population. We also had the opportunity to socialize and share information on the latest developments in understanding and working with people with psychiatric disabilities.”

Helen, a member and secretary for the clubhouse enjoyed her time at the conference and appreciates the benefits of having Bright Horizons in her community.

“Bright Horizons gives me the opportunity to help myself with my mental health issues. As secretary I take minutes for all our meetings, take care of all correspondence with our members, and various other duties that need to be done. I enjoy being involved with clubhouse,” she said.

Bright Horizons will soon be making itself more visible as it reaches out to raise awareness of the clubhouse and better educate the community about the services it offers.

“My goal is to increase our membership and increase the amount of activities for our members,” said Slocum. “I love the people that visit our club house, and I love getting to know them. They are very accepting and very helpful. I am proud to be associated with Bright Horizons as it provides members with a place to come together with people who have similar difficulties in their lives and gives them a chance to see how others are doing and to help each other. I encourage community members to stop by Bright Horizons and learn more about the services we provide.”

Located at 3944 Port St., Pulaski, the office at Bright Horizons is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Slocum at 298-7230 or Catholic Charities of Oswego County at 598-3980.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.

Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.