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My name is Tamara Hunter, and I’m a native Californian, growing up in Oakland and spending my high school years in Dublin. I moved to Seattle at 19. After living in various cities in the Pacific Northwest, I returned to California in 2008 to take a job at Putnam Clubhouse, where I now serve as executive director.

I’m very passionate about my work and love the Clubhouse model. I adore our community and truly believe that helping people recover from mental illness is my life calling. I have the pleasure of being a part of something bigger than myself, since our work actually saves lives.  

It’s a life-changing experience to hear members say things like: Tamara, I got a job. I’m going to school. I love the work-ordered day. I would be in the hospital if it weren’t for the Clubhouse. I’m not isolated anymore. I'm grateful to have an accepting community. Comments like these confirm that our Clubhouse is a transformative, happy, and magical place! My most notable accomplishment is my work at Putnam Clubhouse—by far the most important thing I'll ever do in life and the most rewarding.  

I’m proud to say I‘ve been working at Putnam since before we opened almost 12 years ago. In 2011, I was a recipient of the Healthcare Heroes award for my service in the mental health field and recently received a collaboration award named after me. I’m significantly involved in the local mental health community and facilitate an array of collaborative interagency community events. I served on the NAMI Board (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for three years, and currently serve as board president of Bethesda Center for Faith and wellness. I’m active in my church’s compassion ministries, which involves feeding and doing laundry for the homeless, visiting the sick, gathering donations, and distributing goods to those less fortunate during the holidays.

Beyond my work at Putnam Clubhouse, mental illness has significantly impacted my immediate family. I’m the mother of two sons, James and Paul, who are the lights of my life and live in the Seattle area. I have many hobbies, but the three I enjoy the most are cooking (I’m referred to as Chef Tamara at the Clubhouse!), ballroom dancing, and softball. My favorite dance form is Latin. I am on a softball team and play league with a great group of women.  

I am dancing for “So, Do You Think You Can Dance? Reach For the Stars!” because I believe in the work I do and the work of the entire Putnam Clubhouse community. I’m committed to helping raise money for our program so we can continue changing members' lives!

Tamara Hunter

Executive Director,

Putnam Clubhouse

I grew up in the suburbs of southern Connecticut, not far from the train line to Manhattan. Think “Leave It to Beaver,” and you won’t be far off the mark. I studied film and literary theory at East Coast schools, and after a brief stint in New York book publishing, I hightailed it to Berkeley, seeking a different pace of life. I found that pace working at UC Berkeley, and discovered my rhythm when I started salsa dancing in the early 90’s. I was hooked.  

Through the years I’ve studied many partner dances, including Lindy Hop, Balboa, West Coast Swing, Blues, Fusion, various Ballroom dances, and Cuban salsa. I was thrilled when Phillip asked me to be his partner for the Putnam Clubhouse dance competition. I’ve always dreamed of performing.

I believe in supporting many types of communities. I participate in my block’s monthly potlucks and helped initiate a neighborhood watch program. I’ve been a coach with the Oakland WriterCoach Connection, a tutor for Reading Partners, and a visiting volunteer with Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly. I’ve donated my web skills to Women in Film & Television Louisiana, and I co-produced a storytelling festival in Oakland whose profits went to support Oakland Schools.

In my work, I love building tools that help teachers teach and students learn. Currently, I’m a product manager for an education technology company that evaluates student homework for originality, so that teachers can help students learn how to write (or code) in their own words.  

I had a family member who suffered from bipolar disorder; I wish he could have had access to a place like the Putnam Clubhouse. I’m very happy to be participating in this great fundraising event to help support what they do.

Michael Calpito

Putnam Clubhouse Board Member

PUTNAM CLUBHOUSE

Putnam Clubhouse is affiliated with Clubhouse International and follows the Clubhouse Model. Clubhouse program components involve doing the tasks needed to run the Clubhouse (cooking, clerical, fundraising, etc.), structured employment and educational opportunities,social and recreational activities, community support, outreach to other members, and participation in Clubhouse governance.  Putnam Clubhouse is the first Clubhouse International-accredited program to open in Northern California.

Meet Tamara, Cody,  and Mike! Learn more about them below. If they've earned your vote, click the blue button to make your donation in support of their quest to be crowned our 2019 Champions!

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Tamara, Cody, & Mike

I was born in Concord and while I spent some time on the East Coast when I moved with my military family, Concord will always be where I call home. I came back to Concord to graduate from Ygnacio Valley High school and began to pursue my AA in counseling psychology at DVC.

I am one of the most recent additions to the roster of NAMI CC, serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the TAY population. I love to be able to connect with, support, and advocate for the individuals who are attempting to establish their adult lives in the face of extreme adversity. I enjoy being able to guide others and help them to know they are not alone in their journey and how to best utilize the resources that are available to them at this critical time.

I graduated from the SPIRIT course put on by the county and OCE as part of the Class of 2018. I was also sent with a select group of colleagues to attend an advanced training at Fountain House to help improve educational outcomes for the clubhouse community. As some may remember, I was honored with the opportunity to be the Keynote Speaker for last year’s gala which became a turning point in the trajectory of my life after it was so warmly received by donors like you.

I volunteer my time with the Putnam Clubhouse, I teach multiple courses on a volunteer basis with NAMI CC, and am again becoming an active volunteer with the Concord-Diablo Rotary Club.

I enjoy playing and exploring the world with my Ten Pound Titan of a dog: S’more. I enjoy reading fiction for fun and non-fiction to learn new things about the world.  

Dancing has been a sore spot for me most of my life and it’s the exact reason I’ve decided to undertake this challenge -- to prove to myself and to the world that no amount of left feet or limiting beliefs can stop me from achieving my dreams.

I am dancing for Putnam Clubhouse to help raise funds to support the goals of the clubhouse, and to make sure these services that help members rebuild their lives continue to be offered. I also enjoy helping to put the FUN in FUNdraiser which the Putnam Clubhouse does so well every year.

Cody Sickinger