In the spring of 2005, I stopped in at the Community Council of Nashua hoping someone would know of a mental illness family support group in the area. I was given a brochure for the NAMI Nashua Affiliate Support Group, which was meeting that same evening. The compassionate support I received at that first meeting was enough to keep me active in NAMI NH for all of these years.
iQ iii Can you share what your NAMI NH volunteer roles are and have been?
Over the years, I have had several different NAMI NH roles. Although my current work schedule makes it difficult for me to do more, I am a trained facilitator and a member of the Nashua Affiliate Core Group. I have set up and manned NAMI NH tables at health fairs and at United Way campaigns. I’ve interviewed other states’ agencies for the Grading the States report. For the last 5 years I have been actively involved in the NAMI NH Walk as a Walk Committee member, Nashua NAMI Army’s team captain and fundraiser as well as the food service organizer.
iQ iii You had a prominent role this year at the NAMI Walk; what was it like organizing all of the cooks to feed so many people?
It can be a bit overwhelming but fortunately, I have a fantastic group of NAMI Army Walkers who volunteer to prepare the hot dogs and hamburgers for distribution to all of the Walkers. They provide this service in lieu of walking. This involves cooking and wrapping all of the hot food. This was the third year the NAMI Army Team has taken on this job and most of the cooks and food service people have returned each year. Over the years, we have worked on finding the most efficient system to feed hundreds of people. I know that I speak for all of my team when I say, “We are happy to do it.” I am blessed to know so many wonderful people who will give their time to help make the NAMI Walk a huge success.
iQ iii What motivates you to continue to dedicate your time and energy to NAMI NH?
NAMI NH and the Nashua Affiliate have helped me in so many ways. When I found a support group that fulfilled so much, in terms of support, compassion, knowledge and understanding, I knew that I wanted to be able to give back to others as much as I had received. I’ve taken the Family-to-Family class twice and I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned with everyone I meet. I’m appreciative to have found a group of people who can relate to what I go through and offer advice, guidance, support and friendship. All of our society is affected by mental illness and I’d like everyone to know about NAMI NH and what I’ve learned from NAMI NH.
iQ iii Do you have any big plans for the holiday season?
My holidays will be celebrated at home with family and friends.