North Range Behavioral Health hosted a garden dedication ceremony open to the community in October to honor the retirement of founding Frontier House director and retiring CEO of North Range Behavioral Health, Larry Pottorff, LCSW. The Frontier House, a program of North Range Behavioral Health, thrives today because of Pottorff’s passion for supporting individuals living with mental illness.
Frontier House, established in 1990, follows the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, first established in New York City’s Fountain House over 70 years ago. Considered a model program in Colorado, Frontier House illustrates the commitment and belief that individuals with mental illness can and will actively engage in a recovery process, given the opportunity to do so.
In the late 1980s, Pottorff was tasked with the innovative idea of opening the first Clubhouse Model program in the state of Colorado. Pottorff quickly gained enthusiasm and a solid vision for this tried-and-true model of rehabilitation, wellness, and recovery. Pottorff rallied North Range staff and the “Charter 12” set of members to procure a site at 11th Avenue & 5th Street as the place where Frontier House first opened its doors.
In the early days, the focus was on building an employment program and creating a fun and engaging social environment. It was during this time that the first motto, “Frontier House: A Place to Grow” was established. From the beginning, Pottorff envisioned a program that would powerfully demonstrate the fact that people with mental illness can and do lead normal, productive lives. It evolved into a community that offers its members opportunities to build long-term relationships that support them in achieving life goals.
During their participation in a Clubhouse, members rejoin the worlds of friendships, family, employment, and education, and gain access to the services and support they need to continue their recovery. A Clubhouse provides a restorative environment for people whose lives have been severely disrupted by mental illness and offers the support of others in recovery.
Past and present: Frontier House Directors, Larry Pottorff (1990-1995), Jennifer Euler (1995-2010), and Renee Schell (2010-present)
Pottorff moved on from his position as the Clubhouse director, but always kept the Clubhouse near and dear to his heart. As he grew in his career, his unwavering support and love for the Clubhouse never waned. Through the years, he contributed to and supported the Clubhouse’s growth, autonomy, and direction.
“Because of Larry’s compassion and dedication, the Frontier House has evolved and strengthened throughout the years and has 1,400 members to date. It is a strong, vibrant, shining star in our community.”Renee Schell, current director of the Frontier House
The Dedication Garden includes an inscribed stone surrounded by native grasses, plants, and flowers that embody the spirit of the initial motto, “Frontier House: A Place to Grow.” It is located on Frontier House’s southeast corner at 1407 8th Avenue in downtown Greeley.