In 1960, inspired by the uplifting and therapeutic benefits of dance and creative expression, Phyllis McDowell and volunteers from the Mental Health Association of New Haven and the Jewish Community Center launched Fellowship Place, a socialization program for psychiatric patients discharged from state hospitals. Fellowship Place offered a new and different way of engaging people with severe mental illness in community life.
The Fellowship Club’s first home was in the basement of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Chapel Street. The group met on Monday nights for coffee, dances, and other leisure activities. Over time, the Club added programs, expanded its hours of operation, and eventually moved to Fellowship Place’s current location on Elm Street in New Haven.
Today, over sixty years later, Fellowship Place is a rich vibrant community that continues to evolve and meet the changing needs of people suffering from mental illness in the Greater New Haven area.