If you’ve been to Carrboro, chances are you’ve checked out some of the thrift shops on W Main Street. The Club Nova Thrift Shop has served the Carrboro community by providing employment to people with serious mental illnesses as a part of Club Nova’s mission to give its members a chance to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Founded in 1987, Club Nova is a nonprofit that operates a clubhouse and a thrift shop. Its members work and participate in programs that focus on education, recreation and individualized support in order to better their confidence and financial independence.
Membership is voluntary, and the clubhouse is not residential. However, Club Nova does assist members with finding and maintaining housing of their choice. Marsha Pate, associate director of education and employment, stated that Club Nova arose out of necessity as a support system for people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.
“People found that with their mental illness, it was difficult to hold jobs," Pate said. "So, they started to show up for each other on the job. This evolved into a group of people that started to provide other supports to reduce the stigma of living with mental illness.”
Club Nova’s membership remains constant because its facilities are limited in space. Its plan is to grow its community and serve more people with a capital campaign, which will provide funding to build a property that will be able to reach twice as many people as the current clubhouse. By extending its reach, Club Nova will be able to further reduce hospitalization for mental illness and help people remain active members of the community.