Last night I attended the one-year anniversary celebration of Fountain House Bronx, and it was a lovely affair. The atmosphere was celebratory, the speeches were inspiring, and the food was wonderful, but my favorite moment came after most of the activity was over.
I stepped out into the backyard where the club had created an amazing garden with donated compost and soil from the city. Standing near the garden was a member of the club, and he began telling me how hard they had worked to create the garden. He was clearly very proud of it. He said to me, “I feel a part of this place and this garden. I’ve never had this before.” By “this,” he meant a community of people where he belonged.
Today more and more mental health funding relies upon Medicaid, a program that aggressively focuses on a checklist of short-term outcomes. But it’s important to remember that, sometimes, people just need a place where they are wanted and needed. This man had a purpose and a place; he made his garden grow. I’m clear that is a huge step toward his recovery.
Kenneth J. Dudek
President, Fountain House