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Project Return, is a non-profit organization that offers recovery-based services to assist people experiencing a mental illness to live productive and fulfilling lives in the community. We were first established in 1971 in Buffalo, New York by Rhoda Zusman to address the needs of people with severe and persistent mental illness who were being discharged from Buffalo State Hospital into the community. In 1983, the Florida legislature provided funding to establish a Project Return program in the Tampa Bay community. In 1985, the program in Tampa was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
Project Return's services are guided by a blend of recovery-based principles from psychosocial rehabilitation, the clubhouse model, occupational therapy, and other best practices and models. Our services enhance and support the process of helping people experiencing mental illnesses to recover productive and fulfilling lives. Services offered are based on a strengths-based model of mental health, working with the whole person towards the life outcomes that they value, rather than treatment of symptoms of mental illness.
Aside from vocational training, housing, and the myriad of other services that we offer, we also provide our members the opportunity to express themselves through the arts. Our members use a variety of media to accomplish this, and are free to explore and navigate through the artistic process as they see fit. By engaging in the creative process, our members are able to heighten their mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. This personal enhancement may then in turn foster an improved sense of self awareness, acceptance, and understanding.
Art sales also provide our members a source of income as each sale is split between Project Return and individual member artists. Every sale helps both the artist, as well as the Project Return art program in being able to offer our members meaningful experiences with the arts.