Our History

Founded in 2009, B’More Clubhouse is the first and only Clubhouse in the state of Maryland that is recognized and accredited by Clubhouse International. We owe much of our success to two formidable women who founded our Clubhouse: Carla Harrison and Watchen Bruce. Discover how we've become the thriving B'More Clubhouse of today with our timeline below:


Carla Harrison, a psychiatric nurse, and Watchen Bruce, the family member of one of Carla's patients, see an opportunity to help individuals experiencing severe and persistent illness who were often left to their own devices. They sign up for a New Clubhouse Development training to launch a Clubhouse in Maryland and begin to work out of Carla's dining room as they increase membership through word-of-mouth referrals.


We receive our very first grant from a local charitable foundation for $75,000 — enough for us to rent our first space. That first grant changes everything as other grant makers begin to take notice of what we're doing and we are able to hire our first staff members: Deborah Yates (our first Executive Director) and Jason Woody, who left a position at Fountain House in New York to join B'More Clubhouse. We open our doors officially in April 2009 at 5 East Read Street in the Mount Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore City.


The Clubhouse is small but mighty — our daily membership attendance doubles in less than a year and we start to form the true bonds of community.


B'More Clubhouse becomes officially accredited by Clubhouse International after a successful visit from the Clubhouse Faculty team. The accreditation is for a full three-year term.


Due to a significant increase in interest in the Clubhouse and a rapidly growing membership, B'More Clubhouse moves into a larger space at 9 East Franklin Street.


We receive our first accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) which assists us with accessing new, sustainable income streams via Medicaid.

We receive our psychiatric rehabilitation license from the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration, thanks to our accredited, evidence-based practice.


In January, we had our first off-site planning retreat, where we focused on strategic planning, how we could expand our programs, and the Clubhouse model's reach across the state. Things were looking bright and we were so excited about where we could go.

But come March, we had to pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, our members are exceptionally talented at seeing opportunities through adversity. We shifted to a virtual work-ordered day. We coordinated and facilitated the delivery of essential food resources to our members throughout the city. And we found new ways of engagement, connection, and community, sustained by our commitment to finding ways to grow through challenges.


We stopped renting and became owners! Thanks to the support of our incredible community, we were able to purchase and move into our new building at 831 North Calvert Street — a historic and amazingly beautiful firehouse that will serve as the permanent home for our organization.


Perhaps the biggest year for B'More Clubhouse yet! We continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have returned entirely to our normal schedule and services, while maintaining a vibrant community and work ordered day.

B'More Clubhouse is chosen to host the 2022 Clubhouse World Seminar in Baltimore, where we bring together over 600 of our colleagues and mental health advocates from 14 countries and 32 states to our city for a week of learning and celebration of the Clubhouse model.

Baltimore City awards B'More Clubhouse a $500,000 grant — by far our largest ever single gift — through the Mayor's Office of Recovery Programs, to help sustain the Clubhouse, grow our membership, and provide more employment opportunities to our members in 2023 and beyond.