What the Secret Handshake Accomplished since 2010
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Secret Handshake Mission Statement 2021
Subject: mission statement & about this cause The Secret Handshake 2021
To provide a clubhouse setting for peer support counselling for people with schizophrenia, schizophreniform, and schizoaffective status. We also provide counselling through telephone, email, and texting. In our clubhouse we provide performing spaces for members, allies, affiliates, and others who are poets, writers, visual artists, singers, musicians, and dancers. Our belief is that peer support sessions and experiences greatly reduce hospital time and episodes. Some of our other beliefs are that people with schizophrenia have heightened imaginations which make them often already wonderful writers and visual artists, and through finding those parts within themselves, those who aren't already so, may become authentic artists and writers themselves, or through these experiences may become more aware of how to untangle the complexities they may encounter, and give enriching values to their lives, divested of stigma.
To this end Wednesday and Thursday afternoons are allocated for peer support sessions, Fridays for writing group, Saturdays for art gallery hours, and the last Sunday afternoon of every month, except for December, is given over to the poetry reading series, poetry and prose readings, music, and other performances. Monday afternoon once a month is Vois Yoga master class by Honey Novick. Within this context Honey Novick also curates, directs, and produces Women Vois: a nite of empowering women in song. All these efforts make it more possible for people with schizophrenia to feel and live with a strengthened self esteem, free of internalized stigma, while having more tools of understanding such as CBT, to enjoy and fully make their ways and employment in the world.
George Zancola is also a frequent presence and counsellor during the peer support sessions as is Simon Hutton. Dr. Peter Cohen also does peer support by remote.
About This Cause
Conceived and founded by Jordan Stone in 2006, and incorporated that year, the secret handshake has been in its current clubhouse, 170A Baldwin St. Toronto, since 2012 and before that on Mutual St. in Toronto. The earliest creators of its inception were Jordan Stone, Anne Abraham, bill bissett, Mark Belvedere, and Helen Lasebnik of the Keith Juriansz law firm. Helen Lasebnik walked us through and organized with us all the legal steps required to fulfill our vision, and Jordan Stone's vision We then became a fully and legal charitable and not for profit organization for peer support for people with schizophrenia. It was then the first diagnostic specific peer support group in Canada. Since then we have produced hundreds of poetry readings, art shows, art openings, and thousands of peer support hours and sessions.
Many volunteers, counsellors, and many brilliant people have filled the seats of our board, providing input and guidance on everything we do. In 2019 and 2020 the secret handshake curated and hosted the first travelling konkreet poetry show ever called Concrete is Porous; and it showed in Toronto, Ottawa, St. Catherine’s Windsor, and Victoria. This travelling konkreet poetry art show was curated and produced by Hart Broudy, Daniel F.Bradley, and bill bissett. Even during the pandemic, with our members and large assemblies under lock-down, Simon Hutton helped us record audio performances for Bandcamp with our members (the solo guitarist Nik Zisis, and poets Helen Posno, George Zancola, and bill bissett). There will be more recordings of poets and singers mostly from the secret handshake recorded and arranged, by Simon Hutton on Bandcamp coming later this year. In August of 2020 Honey Novick and bill bissett recorded filmed readings at the secret handshake for the Wild Words Festival. The filmed footage by Henry Martinuk is available on YouTube. The Secret Handshake books of the works of Helen Posno, Linda Carter, George Zancola, and Naomi Laufer have now been published and released. And in 2021 there will be much more to come. The secret handshake books and gallery will be part of the funding team of Poemdemik: a book of poetry about the pandemic by many poets. Many of those authors are from among the members of the secret handshake. The Poemdemic book is being edited and put together by The Friendly Spike.
Please see our informative website www.thesecrethandshake.ca
Donations to The Secret Handshake can be sent by mail to
Many families are generous with their donations as they see their loved one improve.
|Persons with schizophrenia who made an
important contribution to society
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