History of Adventure House

From the basement of a local church…
…to one of the largest clubhouses,
per population, in the world! 

Adventure House had its beginnings in the basement of a local church in Shelby, North Carolina. There, Clients and staff from the Mental Health Center met to form The Adventurer’s Club. Persons attending the program were no longer called Patients or Clients, but were referred to as Members. In March of 1986, a small mill house was located, with the rent donated in order that our limited Resources could be used for operational expenses. At this time, about seven members were attending on a daily basis.

We converted this day activity program into a Clubhouse Model Rehabilitation Program, based on the internationally recognized Fountain House in New York City. Within a few months, our attendance jumped to 22 members per day. We changed our name to Adventure House and established a very strong work-ordered day. We then began looking for a larger house to accommodate our growing membership. With the assistance of a coalition of four local banks, we purchased our current Clubhouse in October 1987.

In February 1988, Adventure House began the first Employment Program for persons with Mental Illness in Cleveland County. Our Transitional Employment Program enabled many of our members to work real jobs for real pay with local employers. The Clubhouse often provides transportation supports to these jobs, as there is no public transportation in this rural community.

In May 1989, Adventure House opened the first Supported Housing Program in North Carolina that utilized individual apartments. Since that time, our Clubhouse based Supported Housing Program has expanded to 29 apartments, all occupied by Adventure House Members.

In 1991, Adventure House achieved another first. We were the first Clubhouse operated by a Mental Health Center, to become Free Standing. Since then, we have assisted a number of Clubhouses around the country to become independent of their auspice agency.

Through the fund raising efforts of our Board of Directors, the original Clubhouse has been expanded twice. We are accredited by Clubhouse International and CARF. Adventure House is actively seeking new members. Membership is open to anyone with a history of mental illness.