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Annual Report

Providing support and advocacy services that help improve the quality of life of LGBTQ mental health consumers and their families, in an atmosphere of hope, recovery and partnership, since 2002. Rainbow Heights Club is a program of the Heights-Hill Mental Health Service, SBPC, Community Advisory Board

Peer Specialist Spotlight: Michelai Sancho “I realized that I had a story to tell, my story. I knew that there were many others that struggled as I did. I knew that others could relate to my life experiences.” Hello, my name is Michelai Sancho. I want to share with you my journey in becoming a Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights Club. I always knew that I wasn’t like my friends. I felt alone in a crowded room. I isolated myself from my family and friends. I felt unhappy and nothing brought me joy. That is when the hospitalizations began. I struggled for many years to find a way out of my sadness. I graduated college, I worked as a professional dancer, but depression consumed me. I entered an outpatient program and my counselor suggested the idea of becoming a Peer Specialist. I applied to Howie T. Harp and attended their peer specialist training program. After the training, I had the opportunity to intern at Rainbow Heights Club. I felt honored to be asked to join the staff as a Peer Specialist. As a Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights, I enjoy connecting with the members. I have the opportunity to support members through their struggles. I enjoy simply being a listener. I love to laugh and be silly with members to alleviate the stress of life. As a Peer Specialist, I am able to give our members the encouragement that I wish I had been given. I persevered on a long and difficult road to recovery, and I can’t believe that I didn’t give up when life seemed so difficult. Now I have the opportunity to share my story to inspire and empower my peers. I’ve found a way to live and to thrive with a mental health diagnosis as a Peer Specialist. I found purpose, joy and success when the stigmas of society tell us different. I want all my peers to know that there is hope and a life beyond the inpatient unit. For me, a big part of that life is Rainbow Heights Club.

Dear friends, colleagues and supporters, We are delighted to present you with our 2017 Annual Report. At Rainbow Heights Club, we help people find their way, from struggling to surviving to thriving. The enclosed report is full of vibrant pictures and stories about our members’ recovery. With your support, we continue to help our members to flourish and thrive. In 2017 we served a more diverse membership than ever before, including 73% people of color. Our transgender and gender nonconforming members continue to find a place of safety and acceptance where they, too, can thrive. Every day, we’re grateful to be able to lead this ongoing and ever expanding effort to provide a safe space for recovery, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Thank you so much for helping to make it possible! Sincerely,

Christian Huygen, Ph.D Executive Director

Dr. Daniel Garza Board Chair

RHC Delivers Improved Outcomes According to our April 2017 Consumer Survey... 95% of members were free of hospital admissions for psychiatric reasons in the past year. (The average cost of a year of inpatient treatment is $301,361.90.) 89% were free of hospital admissions for medical reasons 94% of members who expressed an opinion felt that being a member of Rainbow Heights Club helped them remain free of psychiatric hospitalization 87% report fewer psychiatric symptoms

Member Spotlight: Chris “Rainbow Heights Club helped me to learn how to settle disputes. Before, I would fly around the bend. Now I know how to solve problems with nonviolence. I got the emotional support I needed to succeed. Both staff and other members have been very encouraging. They all said yes! You’re doing it! You are getting off your butt, and doing something for your career. I now have my security guard and fire guard license since being a member at Rainbow Heights.”

“Rainbow Heights Club gave me the positive feedback I needed to help me to have confidence in myself again.” In 2017, RHC staff conducted 824 support groups and 3,122 1-on-1 peer support sessions Since joining Rainbow Heights Club…* 96% of members say they are more consistent with their mental health treatment 96% of members feel they have more social support 97% of members report having more hope and 92% improved self-esteem *As reported in April 2017 Consumer Survey

2017 Community Engagement At RHC, we conduct direct outreach to hundreds of our members, potential members, mental health professionals, donors, government funders and private foundations each year.

280 Outreach Calls Made

164 “We miss you” Cards Sent for Lapsed Members

200 Birthday Cards Sent

52+ Weekly E-blasts Sent

22,411 E-newsletters Sent

3,680 Paper Newsletters Sent

NYC Council Majority Leader Cumbo (2nd from left) visits Rainbow Heights Club

Mission Statement: “To bring innovative, consumer based, affirming and effective treatment advocacy and support services to LGBTQ people living with mental illness, provided in an atmosphere of hope, recovery and partnership.”

Members Evening Meal Program 10,660 free meals served in 2017 98% of members eat dinner at the club 91% have helped to prepare dinner Over 67% state they are eating healthier than they did before joining the Club

“I like eating together in the Community Room. The meals help me save my food stamp money. My favorite meals are the baked chicken with rice and vegetables and the food they serve at the parties. I've made friends and enjoy the outings we go on. I really liked going to the Brooklyn Museum and Botanical Gardens. I have good and bad days but Rainbow Heights makes me feel better.� - Kendu

We Are Who We Serve

Sexual Orientation Two-Spirit 6%

Gender Identity

Bisexual 26%

Straight 3%

Lesbian 20%

Other 7% Female 29%

Male 46%

Other 1% Gender Nonconforming 6%

Gay 38%

Trans Male 4% Trans Female 14%

Race Black NH 36%

Latino/Hispanic 19% White NH 27%

Asian / Pacific Islander NH 2% Multiracial 15% American Indian NH 1%

“I found sanctuary as a transgender woman. I found friends and sisters. Sometimes life is rough but Rainbow Heights Club makes me feel safe. The Trans group allows me to express my inner feelings and connect with others. I have gained the courage to dress as the gender I am.� -Mia

“Rainbow Heights Club has helped with my social skills a lot. I’m proud that I’m getting back into acting. I was able to be a part of a theater group called TransGenerational Theatre Project where we got to perform for the Trans Theatre Festival. It gives me an opportunity to share my experience as a gender fluid individual and bring visibility to the transgender community. Having guest speakers visit the Club and share resources for my community has been beneficial to my growth as an individual.” -Phoenix

“Rainbow Heights makes me feel safe. I look forward to seeing people. I’ve gotten help with housing and benefits and gained more confidence in myself. I’ve become more of a fashionista.” -Elaine

“I have more of a social life and my relationships seemed to have improved since being at Rainbow Heights Club. I feel I am more outgoing because I get motivation from groups and staff. They helped me meet other people and get more support. I recruited my friends and family to come to Rainbow Heights Club so they can get that support too. Now I volunteer and lead a lot of the member led trips.” -Gayle

We’ve Added Home & Community Based Services (HCBS)

“I receive HCBS Peer Services at Rainbow Heights Club. The peer support I receive helps me maintain my recovery and wellness. I get peer support travel assistance as well, which helps me manage my anxiety around using public transportation. I’m able to maintain relationships with friends and family better now. I also enjoy volunteering, and that gives me a sense of purpose.” -Mark

As a gender nonconforming person, the HCBS Peer Support Services help me be myself. I am accepted as who I am. I have a lot of social anxiety around having OCD. Peer support has helped me manage that anxiety. I utilize the support I get in everyday life, especially in social situations. -Chris

RHC Peer Specialist Intern Program Most direct consumer services at Rainbow Heights Club are provided by our Peer Specialists, themselves mental health consumers trained to facilitate support groups and provide short, non clinical 1 on 1 interventions. To become a Peer Specialist, candidates receive specialized training and serve a 6 month internship here at the club. We’re grateful to NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson for providing the funding for stipends for our PS Interns.

“I was hospitalized last year. While in the hospital, I received peer support. The peer support inspired me. They showed me recovery is possible. They showed me I’m more than my mental health diagnosis. I’m taking care of my health and now, by being a Peer Specialist, I hope to help others like me.” -Wilbert

“A lot of people are living with mental health issues. A lot of people are homeless. I've been there! People need care and concern. I’m glad I’m using my lived experience to help take some of the stigma away. Rainbow Heights Club gives me the opportunity to give back.” -Monica

“My inspiration to become a Peer Specialist is a direct result of my positive interactions with another Peer Specialist. The support and education I received from them is a major part my recovery. The level of acceptance and community I felt stirred a passion in me to do the same for others.” -Sandra

Foundations The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation The H. van Ameringen Foundation The Johnson Family Foundation Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS

Thank You All for Supporting

The C.B. Ramsay Foundation Crosswicks Foundation, Ltd.

Major Donors $5,000-$9,999+ Pepper, James G. $2,500-$4,999 Anderson, Randi Campbell, Glenorchy & Gino Benza Garza, Daniel Herbits, Stephen E. $1,000-$2,499 Blumenthal, Evan Garrity, Kevin Garrity, Mr. & Mrs. Edward Huygen, Christian Huygen, Hans & Sylvia Just, Jen Klein, Stanley & Eileen Lopez, Ricardo Snee, Patrick Sonn, Marlena $500-$999 Cassidy, Bill First Unitarian Congregation Society Haley, Wendy Hooiveld, Jaap Huygen, Conrad & Julie Ostertag, Robert Shaw, Terri Silver, Jody

Individual Donors $100-$499 AMIDA Inc. Anderson, Maureen Avallone, Nicole Cobb, Roy Cortinas, Jorge Ignacio Crutchley, Jonathan Davidson, Carol Dunson, Daniel & Cheryl Ellison, David English, James Fink, Richard Gonson, Claudia Gershowitz, Hyman Hellman, Ronald Hoffman, Judith Hutner, Nathaniel Huijgen, Arnoud Hvidsten, Lynne C. Jackson, Christopher Johnston, David Kaufman, Anne Kierstead, James A. Klein, Josh Lathrop, Brian Leahy, Joseph Lemieux, Steven The Ruth H. Mallison Trust Mallory, Michael Mattison, Tim

McClain, Gary McKinley, Paula McMahon, Stephen The Mullen Family O’Brien, Jack & Karla Perlman O’Brien, John Parrino, Pietro & Salvatore Petruzzello, Ronald Post, Stuart Ritholz, Gerald Roberts, Joanna Rosen, Diana Russell, Bill & Bruce Bossard Russo, Michael Sand, Shara Saperia, Phillip A. & James R. Golden Shulman, Susanne & Carolyn Altman Sorkin, Barry Spritz, Melanie Stark, Wendy Stovall, Natasha Sunderland, Robyn Tong, Virginia Vez, Ellen Ward, Debbie Zevy, Lee

Government Agencies

NY City Council

NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene NYS Office of Mental Health NYS Dept. of Health

Speaker Corey Johnson Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm Council Member Brad Lander Council Member Mark Levin

NYS Assembly Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon

Individual Donors $1-$99 Agatstein, Barbara Altamirano, Denis Alwan, Yasmin Ashley, Kenneth Banat, Steven & Leny Rada-Benat Barba, Antonia Bennett, John Billey, Amber Blum, Valerie Bosco, Denise & Don Eyles Bradshaw, Nanci Braun, Enid A. & Christopher A. Morse Brito, Daniel Brown, Scherrie Burns, Michael Cerabone, Raymond Chan, Christopher Chang, Judy Cipolla, Julie Cobb, Ernest Cobb, Patricia A Cohn, Frances Cox, Helene Davis, Mark Drabinski, Emily Dwyer, Sean Falco, Joseph & Kathleen Ferrera, Ray Fine, Rachel Fitzpatrick, Violet Fleeman, Rebecca Freedman-Schnapp, Michael Gagne, Lianne Gains, Gwendolyn Gellenbeck, Glenn Ginsberg, Stephen Goldstein, Zil Grady, John Henry

Gralnick, Lori Grossman, Marc Haggerty, Tim Hassman, Howard Hendon Enterprises Inc. Hicks, Olivia Hoffman, Eric Hoffman, Rebecca Hoke, Darren Hollie, Edward & Michael, Sharon Hutner, Nathaniel Ing, Mark Kaufman, Anne Kendler, Helene Kennedy, Brian Kennedy, Douglas & Lynne Killings, Randy Klein, Heather Klein, Josh & Jenn Kozlik, James Kruft, Joe Labrado, Lisa Laino, Joseph Lamza, Josephine Iappini, Paul Levine, Amy Levine, William Long, Nina Longmire, David Lorber, Kim Ludwig, Karen Mahr, Lou Manogue, Laurence Mansfield, Christina Mason, Barbara Mayerson, Sean McLachlan, Erin Mentenfel, Bassing Mermelstein, Hindi Minor, Allen

Minton, Frank Neglia, Noelle Oppenheim, Robert Palmgreen, Susan Peters, Freda Petrillo, Justin Proskurov, Bella Puibello, August Puibello, F.M. Puibello, Stephen Puligandla, Kamala Qumby, Dorothy Radman, Tommy Rollman, Michelle Read, John Rivera, Sunny Romano, Rosemarie Romero, Sergio Roseboom, Destiny Rosen, Ira Siece, Annette Silverman, Jennifer Spicer, E & C Steffann, Margaret Strasser, Blake Stromar, Michael Szabo, Laszlo Tarr, Harold Taylor, Robert Tong, Virginia Trieu, Aaron Tuthill, John & Lorelei Vickroy, Ernest Vecchiolla, Martha Warren, Barbara Watanabe, Musa Wiedembaum, Marlene Williams, Holly Wunsch, Emma Yoo, Kacy Youngstrom, Amelia Zapata, David

Functional Categorization of Operating Expenses 2016

Program Services 77% Administration 15% Fundraising 8%

Functional Categorization of Operating Expenses 2017

Program Services 77% Administration 16% Fundraising 7%

A donation to Rainbow Heights Club is a cost effective investment in the lives of LGBTQ New Yorkers living with serious mental illness. Operating as a drop-in center, with an average cost per program visit of $35.50 per person, our members can attend social support groups, receive 1 on 1 support, participate in outside activities, obtain carfare assistance, and enjoy a nutritious hot meal, all free of charge. Considering that a year of in-patient psychiatric hospitalization costs Medicaid over $300,000, and our services reduce psychiatric hospitalizations significantly, our programming saves the taxpayers of New York hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars yearly. Our programs have demonstrated that they assist members in remaining in outpatient care and adherent to their medication regimes. Most importantly, our members are active, engaged participants in their recovery and in their community.

Financial Operations 2016/2017 Audited Income












Capital Support



Donated Facilities



Other Income








Audited Expenses Program Services












Fundraising Capital Improvements Total


Board of Directors Daniel Garza, MD, Chair Eileen Klein, Ph.D., Treasurer Samantha Franklin, MSW, Member Suzy Ritholz, Ph.D., Member Natasha Stovall, Ph.D., Member Mike Woram, Member

Senior Staff Christian Huygen, Ph.D...Executive Director Kevin Garrity...Deputy Executive Director Rebecca Hoffman, LMSW...Director of Member Services Randy Killings, CASAC-T...Deputy Director of Member Services

Profile for Rainbow Heights Club

Rainbow Heights Club 2017 Annual Report  

Check out all the things we did in a year!

Rainbow Heights Club 2017 Annual Report  

Check out all the things we did in a year!