In 1985, the Mental Health Association of Spartanburg created a task force to assess the need for a community-based rehabilitation center for adults suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. It was determined that there was a significant population that would directly benefit from a clubhouse model center in Spartanburg. Such a program would have a positive impact on the community as whole, since the mission of the clubhouse in Spartanburg would be to help adults live as independently and productively as possible within their community. Also, the clubhouse was determined to be a very cost-effective rehabilitation option. Hospitalization costs per-person-per-day at the time were approximately $65, whereas participation in a clubhouse-type program per person per day cost $15. With the strong recommendation of the task force, in spring of 1986 a Steering Committee began laying the groundwork for opening a clubhouse in Spartanburg to be called Genesis House. The steering committee began securing financial support from local foundations including the Spartanburg County Foundation, the Inman-Riverdale Foundation, the Milliken Foundation, the Arkwright Foundation, and the Reeves Brothers Foundation, and Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg.
On April 1, 1987, New Day Clubhouse opened its doors with six people applying for membership. The first three months saw the development of the Pre-Vocational Day Program as the nucleus of the clubhouse with members choosing to work in either the Kitchen Unit or the Clerical Unit. That summer, both a Maintenance Unit and Social & Recreational Program evolved as well. New Day’s original Board of Directors included: George Blackford, Stephen Cannon, Ethel Goldberg, Kim Haselden, Rev. Farrell Jenkins, Anne Johnston (Chair), Jennie Montgomery, Andrew Proia, Betty Warlick, George Wideman, and Joe Wilson.
Over the next two years, clubhouse membership grew tremendously as did the need for expanded programs and services. Both a Transitional Employment Program and an Adult Education Program were established in 1988. The Spartanburg County Council appropriated money for the purchase of a new van and funding was secured to help support the Transitional Employment Program from the United Way of the Piedmont. Finding a larger, permanent clubhouse facility became a top priority. The City of Spartanburg agreed to lease a seventy year old duplex located at 189 S. Converse Street, with about 6,400 square feet of space, to New Day for $1 per year. It was in terrible disrepair and needed major renovations.
The Board of Directors launched an aggressive capital campaign to raise the funds necessary to carry on the renovation project. Led by Duncan Bailey, the Capital Fund Raising Campaign received generous support from community businesses, foundations, and individuals. Over $225,000 was contributed to pay for the necessary repairs. However, over $300,000 was needed to finish the renovation project and to furnish the new clubhouse. Genesis Properties, Inc. was then established to receive the property title from the city and to take out a loan to complete the project. New Day moved into the new clubhouse facility on April 2, 1990, one day after the organization’s third anniversary.
As the clubhouse approached its fifth anniversary, we continued to expand our range of rehabilitative programs and services and grew to over one hundred sixty members. Currently, there are five rehabilitative program areas, including the Prevocational Day, Transitional Employment, Adult Education, Social & Recreational, and a newly developing Housing/Residential which started in 1991. These are in addition to various services provided to clubhouse members including case management, crisis intervention, Member Bank, Reachout, nutritionally balanced meals, and transportation.
In 1990, funding was secured from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a twenty unit apartment complex for New Day members. Newport, Inc. was formed to oversee the construction and operation of this housing project. A tract of land on Jeff Davis Drive was approved by H.U.D., and construction began in the fall of 1992. In February, 1994, Newport moved in its first resident and the apartment complex was filled within the next several months. This led to the second apartment complex, Laurelwood, located in Boiling Springs, SC. The complex was completed in 1997 and renamed Wilkinson Place in the honor of the first executive director, William Wilkinson.
With the addition of the apartment complexes, New Day began to grow its membership until the average daily attendance reached 55 members per day. The facility at 189 S. Converse Street began to be too small to house all members.
In 1998, the board of directors began discussing the possibility of expanding the facility or moving to a larger location. New Day also was receptive to the needs of members with physical handicaps and the need to have a facility where all areas of the clubhouse were accessible to everyone.
New Day received its first accreditation by CARF in September, 1999. This began the commitment from the board, staff and members to construct and follow through on its accessibility plan to obtain a facility that everyone could move from unit to unit without assistance or barriers. In July, 2002 the New Day Board of Directors lead by chair, Mr. Chris McGarr made the commitment to the clubhouse to locate and build a facility that would meet the member’s needs then and for future years. After many months of exploring the local community and identifying where most of the members’ lived, a site was selected at 1530 Asheville Highway. The property was purchased in July, 2003 and construction began in October of the same year. With the assistance of local churches, the Spartanburg County Foundation, and many gracious donors, New Day Clubhouse opened its doors at the new location on August 20, 2004. The clubhouse thanked the community by having an Open House on October 19, 2004.
New Day was at the Asheville Highway location from August 2004 until a total loss fire in March of 2015. New Day then moved to a temporary location at 1425 John B. White Blvd for 18 months, before planting roots into the current location at 325 Church Street on September 28, 2016.
As we look forward to continued growth and progress, we would like to thank those in our community and across the state whose hard work and dedication made our success possible.
New Day is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization and contributions to New Day are tax deductible. New Day is affiliated with the United Way of the Piedmont and the Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center. New Day is accredited by CARF - The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission for the Community Based Rehabilitation Programs for its Community Integration - Adults, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Program