Headquartered in Fergus Falls, MN, we have two clubs: Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes. We serve adults in Otter Tail and Becker Counties of Minnesota who have serious and persistent mental illness. Because we are a club, we refer to the people we serve as friends or members. Most of our members live alone in their apartments and struggle with isolation, loneliness, and poverty. Occasionally they will have bumps with law enforcement, and have ongoing problems with money management, rent, problem solving, and relationships. They tend to have behavioral symptoms that limit their success in relationships as well as employment. Some are homeless, and most are extremely poor. Most members participate in out-patient treatment of one kind or another and work hard to avoid hospitalization.
A Place To Belong started in 1997 when the state mental health treatment facilities were closing and people who were in residential care were being discharged into the community. Area consumers and professionals alike were very concerned about what these individuals would do with their time when they were no longer supervised and not participating in treatment. How would they cope with isolation and loneliness? With the support of the State Legislature, funding was allocated and social clubs began cropping up throughout Minnesota. A Place To Belong was among the first social clubs and continues to be among the most successful.
We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made of 30% consumers of mental health services, or family members of consumers, and 70% mental health practitioners, and community members. Our board meets once per month and oversees the fiduciary activities of the organization. They also oversee the management of the agency.
A Place To Belong employs five part time employees:
Sue Wilken, Executive Director-30-35 hours per week
Julie Borges, Activity Director, Fergus Falls-35 hours per week
Christine Fizette, Activity Director, Detroit Lakes-35 hours per week
Fonda Knudson, Activity Director, Certified Peer Specialist: after business hours, intermittent, special events, intermittent working in both clubs-25 hours per week
Julie Buckley, Detroit Lakes, Driver-12.5 hours per week