The Dr. George W. (Bill) Fairweather
The Tasks Unlimited Writers Group is an example of
Fairweather Principles in action.
Tasks Writers was originally founded by staff in an
effort to encourage writing amongst Tasks clients. The group was highly
successful on many levels, with sometimes as many as a dozen writers participating.
A good time was had by all, and the process seemed to be good for everyone’s
mental health. Science has long been aware of a connection between creativity
and mental illness; when creativity can be channeled and expressed it is
typically good for mental health.
When the staff member who started the group retired, clients
wanted the group to go on – and made it happen. The group meets once a month at
Tasks headquarters - one member was given a key for this purpose. The group has
continued for several years without staff assistance. Writers have come and
gone, of course, but there are four strong participants.
Each participant brings something they have written,
usually about five pages, and the group reads it out loud. Then others give the
writer feedback on what he/she has written. Writing is a real personal thing
and sharing what one has written is not always easy, but the writers in the
group feel that the benefits outweigh any discomforts. One of the members has
gone on to publish his own book much of which was “workshopped” at the Writers
The Writers Group is an excellent example of dealing
with a mental illness in a highly productive manner. While others idle away their
time, the writers are organizing their thoughts as well as entertaining fellow
clients. We believe Dr. Fairweather, who wrote himself, would be proud us.
The 2015 Fairweather Lodge of the Year:
The Aces Lodge (WINNER) is a
great example of what a lodge is supposed to represent. Two of the 4 Aces
members have been in the lodge program over 30 yrs a third other close to 30
years. The “new guy” has been an Ace for almost 13 yrs!
Aces Lodge has received a cleanest lodge
rating from Tasks for 12 years in a row. Their communication is outstanding.
They try to work out issues without calling their Lodge Coordinator every 10
minutes, but when necessary, they communicate with their coordinator and their
case manager extremely well. They cannot eat all their meals together because
of their different work schedules, but they make it a point to eat together at often
as possible. They are all extremely proud of being “Aces.”
The Moon Township Lodge is an excellent example of a Fairweather lodge. Members pulled
together to overcome extreme difficulties during startup a few years ago, and
overcame quite a bit of turnover about a year ago. But the new and remaining
members supported each other to an amazing degree, becoming a stable lodge
group early in 2015.
group also supported each other by holding each other accountable around their
physical health. With the support of a couple staff members, the Moons lodge
group created an exercise program where each lodge client would compete against
each other to bike the equivalent miles from one major city to another in the
United States. This competition has continued amongst the lodge group for many
months and has not only resulted in a higher priority on physical health at the
lodge, but also large amounts of weight being lost.
Moons lodge prides themselves in being an independent group and requires
minimal staff support to operate effectively.
The 2015 Dorothy Berger, Program Achievement Award:
Metro Plains Management
(WINNER) is an apartment management company in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which
contracts with the Prairie Harvest Lodge Program to clean four apartment
buildings, providing employment for four Lodge Members. This opportunity has
allowed Lodge members to polish their skills in time management and working
independently. When three vacuum cleaners quit working the same day, they
learned a lot about managing frustration. They have also learned about
chemicals and cleaning products.
Plains have been very accommodating with the Lodge members and always willing
to help when needed. Metro Plains’ two lead maintenance workers work great with
the Lodge members and expect no different from them than anyone else. If there
are issues, things are not up to standard, they let Prairie Harvest know. If
there are issues from our end, Metro Plains staff work with us to resolve the
issues. They have been great to work with and we treasure our partnership.
Tasks Unlimited’s Mailrooms at the IRS and Army Corp of Engineers, exemplify
Fairweather principles at the highest level.
Tasks got its first ever mailroom
contract in 1995. With almost no outside help, Tasks clients took over the
reins of the ACOE mailroom and got it running smoothly within months. They have always been known for
their excellent customer service and good quality of work. They have been
nominated for a national award and the crew
has been given ACOE medallions, something even the engineers do not always get.
Tasks took over the IRS mail operations
in 2004. Once again, with little outside help, Tasks workers created a new
system, and had the mailroom running smoothly from the beginning. Also known for excellent customer
service and minimum of errors, the IRS mailroom has won three national awards.
Tasks mailrooms regularly rely on
Fairweather principles to carry out their daily roles. There are not any Tasks staff
present on a regular basis, just the crew of lodge members and former lodge
members. Getting along for lengthy work shifts, in a small mailroom day after
day, would be impossible if the clients weren’t supporting each other and
lifting each other up. But what’s really impressive is the way they work out
their scheduling. Between doctors, dentists, therapists, lodge groups,
vacations and other pulls on their time, the crews cover for each other as
if by second nature. “Oh, you have a doctor’s appointment? No problem, I’ll
work a double tomorrow for you if you can work a double for me when I go to the
In addition to the scheduling conflicts,
Tasks mailroom employees also cover for each other for other reasons. When one employee broke her foot, her duties
were reorganized to include sitting jobs only, while the rest of the crew took
up the slack. There may have been a little hemming and hawing, but the work got
done and she did not need to use sick leave. One way or another the shifts get
covered, with lodge members stepping up for one other. This caring attitude
enables the mailroom crews to
excel with respect to customer service.
The 2015 Barbara Breen Lodge Member of the Year
Maggie Darker (WINNER) is so
well liked that her lodgemates recently held a surprise birthday party for her.
It was just the right thing to do for a friend that you respect, care for and
trust. Maggie is always there to help a lodge member in need. Her lodge members
describe Maggie as loyal, honest and dependable.
Maggie has been with the lodge since
September, 2011. Within 6 months of joining the janitorial crew, Maggie worked
her way up the work to the assistant crew leader position. This position is a
permanent job that requires coordination of the job site. Her attention to detail with regard to
bathroom cleaning and chemicals on the job site keeps people safe and our
customer satisfied with the quality of work. New lodge members coming onto the
training lodge work site frequently seek Maggie out for advice and direction.
Off the jobsite, Maggie loves to get lodge
members together to cook a good meal. Sometimes Maggie is full of surprises
like the day that she decided to start driving again. No one knew she had these
skills as she had been riding the bus to her appointments, but she was quickly
able to get her driver’s license renewed, and now shares a car with a fellow
In addition to her contributions to the
Fairweather Lodge, Maggie likes to try new restaurants, enjoys visiting her 3
adult daughters and playing computer slot games. Maggie is also a voracious
reader, often checking out 20 books from the local library in addition to books
that she purchases at Walmart. Books that Maggie purchases get donated to the
library after she reads them.
Maggie is currently learning basic computer
skills and would like to secure some type of healthcare certification since, between
her family and the Lodge, she has a long history of caregiving, and is herself a
five year cancer survivor.
* New this year, as winner of CCL's 2015 Lodge Member of the
Year Award, Ms. Darker also receives a Dr. George W. (Bill) Fairweather
Scholarship to the next full National Conference (Conference Registration an
accommodations, travel not included).
Alvin Lange is a true Hero to
our Harvest Lodge community. I’ve shared a Lodge with Alvin for the past 11
years, and he is different from the other Lodge members and my outside friends.
Alvin is considerate of others, sweet, caring – I love him like a Brother!
is always taking on additional responsibilities, always working hard. Alvin is
our Chore Captain, our cook, and our Lawn would not look half as good without
Al. He shops for us and cleans the house. He does it all freely without
complaints! I don’t want to say that the rest of our Lodge is lazy, but Alvin
is the first person up in the morning and he gets to it first!
not only does his work but, he will dust the tops of doorways, hidden corners
around the house and even the tiles under my dog’s paper! I tell Alvin, “That’s
my job,” and he will say, “I’ve got it.” I like to fix special meals for him,
and other do too. And Alvin does all this while working his regular job, but never
complains about anything. He never misses a group, and is a long time member of
S.A. (Schizophrenia Anonymous).
of this would not be possible if it weren’t for Dr. Fairweather’s creation of
the Lodge program, and all the people who work together to make it happen. But
without Alvin, Harvest Lodge wouldn’t be as great as it is.
John Maglich epitomizes
the Fairweather model as he daily encourages, motivates, and supports his peers
to be as independent as possible. John organizes softball games and other weekly
recreation for the lodge, and encourages group participation in grocery
shopping and daily walking.
John has sound decision making skills
and is very down to earth. He is able to maintain friendships in his community
with neighbors and local businesses. He uses coping strategies and helps
his peers with relapse prevention strategies from exercise to medication
John is a dedicated, hard working
janitor at the Federal Courthouse. His supervisors brag about the quality of
his work. His co-workers at the work site report John is a great guy and easy
to talk to. John is a huge asset to the St. Clair lodge.
The 2015 David Sanders Lodge Coordinator of the Year:
Andy Dahlen spends
an incredible amount of time with his lodge clients, often going above and
beyond normal coordinator duties. Several times a week, he will go walking,
play football, or do other recreational activities with lodge members in order
to strengthen his relationship with them, and also to get them more active. Though
Lodge Coordinators are normally expected only to work five days a week, Andy
comes in on Saturdays for the Aces Lodge meeting because the group prefers to
meet on Saturday, and then Andy will go out to breakfast with the group
Andy is very creative in developing
incentive-based strategies to encourage lodge members to maintain their hygiene,
to check their calendars so as not to miss appointments, or use their CPAP
machines. He always tries to redirect concerns to the group and has done a
great job with engaging clients who have struggled with giving peers feedback
in the past.
Katie Hessefort became the lodge
coordinator for Spotless lodge almost a year and a half ago and has been very
effective in ensuring the lodge group works, together as a group, to make their
own decisions. Other lodges and other staff frequently compliment the morale of
the Spotless Lodge - such a welcoming, fun group that we have become the envy
of other Tasks Lodges.
Katie’s support, the Spotless lodge group has been a great example of a
Fairweather lodge, planning activities as a group, whether going out to eat,
golfing with other lodges, a yearly trip to a cabin up North, or just getting
together to watch sports on TV.
the lodge was low on members, Katie helped the lodge make their own hard
decisions to cut expenses, decrease grocery costs and budget to catch up on
bills which had gotten away from them.
has helped a couple of members with challenging medical issues, requiring
hospitalizations, to follow through with doctor recommendations, which enabled
them to return to work and other daily activities. With one client in
particular, Katie really went the extra mile. When this individual became
symptomatic and defensive, leading him to request alternate staff, Katie,
rather than taking the easy way out, continued working with him to help him through
his mental health difficulties, re-building lost rapport in the process. For
these reasons and so many more, Katie deserves to be Lodge Coordinator of the Year.
Jennifer Mullins (WINNER) has been the Lodge Coordinator at the Moon Township Lodge since before it even opened
its doors, literally, on the way back from looking at the house with the real
estate agent. We knew from the beginning that there was only one person to take
on such a challenge.
Jen had been the advocate and the voice
of recovery and peer-run programming at our agency for several years, with an
unrelenting faith in recovery and a steadfast belief that anything could be
accomplished when people come together. And this was tested early, when Jen
moved “her guys” into their new home in a fearful, unwelcoming, initially
But Jen had studied the Lodge principles,
sought advice from other coordinators, and during the next several months she
and the guys figured it out - from house duties to Lodge rules to acquisition
of a van, a basketball hoop and cable - all the essentials.
Jen’s first priority is always her
“guys” - the members of Moons Lodge. At every meeting, with every provider, at
any time there is a decision to be made, Jen facilitates the Lodge members’
voices being heard. We have had our share of triumphs, mistakes and even
failures, but Jen reminds us that these are merely lessons to be learned, and we
move on. Jen balances demands from every side: program requirements, funder
outcome reporting, budget constraints and yes, even from her supervisor, but
stays focused on what is important: the needs and well-being of the Lodge
As we work through the early stages of
our new business, Jen again is there to be its champion. Need to work on
weekends to promote the business? OK! Need to support the members or her boss
when the stress is piling up? OK! Need to talk on the radio, stand in the hot
sun for a display; smile for hours at promotional events?? OK! Her passion for
the Lodge and all it represents is nearly boundless.
The best evidence as to Jen deserving
this award is the members themselves. This group of gentlemen run a clean,
friendly and efficient home. They have been resilient through difficulties with
attempted businesses. They have provided caring to one another. When a member needs support or is sick, they
shore that member up until they are on their feet again. They have become
trusted and well-liked neighbors. They call each other FAMILY.
consider Elaine Olson, my Lodge
Coordinator here at Harvest Lodge, one of my best friends. She works hard. She
is fair and considerate, and she always gets the job done.
Elaine started working for Prairie Harvest we always had two Coordinators, and
Elaine was the main manager for our small restaurant, the 4th Street
Eatery, which has since closed, and volunteered her time to run two Lodge-associated
groups, Job Club and Healthy Spaces. Now, Elaine is all we need.
year, we acquired a contract to clean several apartment buildings around the
city, providing employment for five lodge members. We are successful now, but
never would have been without Elaine. She gave me a job as a float person on
the crew and made the schedule flexible so it would work for me. I can earn
money that I need and it helps me maintain my mental health.
is a very caring person who goes beyond the call of duty.
lines up rides, or helps out when someone is struggling with depression or
tempted to drink. She helps us be the best we can be, and look the best we can
look. She helps us with lots of stuff beyond our medications - we don’t live
just by our meds. We need people in our lives – people like Elaine.