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Yahara House: Work and Community


Yahara House's (YH) mission is to transform the lives of people living with mental illness by replacing despair, stigma, and isolation with hope, dignity, and community. YH is a community of members who are working together to achieve some common goals, including:  

1) completing educational and employment goals.  

2) developing self-esteem, confidence, and coping strategies.  

3) finding and securing resources - such as affordable housing, primary care services; and  

4) living a life of respect and independence within the members’ larger community.  


YH is an evidence-based, community mental health program that focuses on recovery through social connection, meaningful activity, and reintroduction to community employment. Open and accessible to program participants (members) 40 hours a week PLUS all holidays, evening, and weekend social activities. YH offers a place for adults with mental illness to belong in a stigma-free environment. The program guarantees each person a right to a place to come, a right to meaningful work, a right to meaningful relationships, and a right to a place to return.


Much more than simply a program or a social service, Yahara House offers: 


Meaningful Work and Community- Members and staff work together as colleagues to run Yahara House. Yahara House has three departments (Biz, Membership & Communications, and Café) and various committees to work in anytime between 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday. Members and staff work together as colleagues to help deal with day-to-day issues, like filling out forms, cooking, making videos, creating greeting cards, operating the reception desk, and paying bills. Collaborative task work gives members a sense of accomplishment, purpose, confidence, and social skills increase as they feel a sense of belonging and develop supportive relationships.


Employment Program Continuum- As a right of membership Yahara House provides members with opportunities to engage in or return to paid employment in integrated work settings through Transitional Employment, Supported Employment, and Independent Employment programs. Employment is a foundational part of the Clubhouse approach because it is an expressed goal of many members at every Clubhouse. Employment is often a critical component for members to experience themselves as being included in the larger community while also reducing isolation and poverty.


What our members have to say -

     “I need the daily structure and routine that Clubhouse gives me.”

     - Anonymous Yahara House member


     “Yahara House is more than just a building; it is a community.”

     - Yahara House member Jerome H.


     “I feel like I am part of this community and that people care that I am here. If I don’t show up someone will wonder where I am and if I am okay.”

     - Anonymous Yahara House member  


     “I think it’s wonderful. The staff and members are wonderful. The staff are really helpful when I need help. If I didn’t have the Yahara House, I’d probably be out there drinking and going drugs and getting into trouble. And my mental health wouldn’t be doing as well as it is.”

     - Yahara House member Karla K.


     “For me it feels like a family when I come here. The connection with people is important to me because I’m so isolated at home. And I know I’m wanted here. There’s work that needs to be done and it feels good when colleagues ask me for my help or for my input. It helps me recognize how much I'm needed.”

     - Anonymous Yahara House member


     “I look forward to coming into the Yahara House. I feel good about myself when I am here and working at the reception desk. I like being able to talk to anyone who stops by and just have a conversation.”

     - Anonymous Yahara House member


     “I get support from the Dual Recovery Anonymous group at Yahara House. I can get support and feedback from people with similar experiences. It keeps me energized to keep walking the path of recovery.”

     - Yahara House member Rick P.



Yahara House is open to adults with a history of mental illness. Membership is funded primarily through Dane County’s Comprehensive Community Services Program and the Veterans Administration. Membership funding is also available through private pay sliding fee scale, or commercial insurance agreements.



Yahara House (YH) is a Program of Journey Mental Health (Journey), a 501(c)3, private, non-profit corporation, not a county agency. Yahara House has been affiliated with Clubhouse International since our first Clubhouse Accreditation in 2001. Clubhouse expansion is exploding in Europe and in many states in the US. The YH Friends Advisory Council (FAC) was formed in 1986 and provides another layer of community support. The FAC is made up of community members as well as YH members and staff.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of YH please call (608) 280-4700 or visit our social media sites to find out more about Yahara House and Journey Mental Health Center.

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