Greetings for a happy new year!
As a non-profit organization and an affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), NAMI Pierce County is dedicated to providing support, education, advocacy, and public awareness so that individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
During the past 30 years we have served the community well and have touched many lives in the process. Now as we begin a new decade and despite the challenges that a new year often brings, we will continue to carry out our mission statement…as we offer hope and support.
During the past year, our Board has strived to grow our organization while trying to make a difference in improving the lives of those affected by mental illness. We have nearly doubled our membership, brought suicide awareness to the community with our first mental health event and bake sale, networked with other community and mental health organizations, participated in many community events and presentations, including Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for the Tacoma Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, and advocated for changes in the mental health system.
We continued to offer the NAMI Signature programs including the Family to Family classes, Family Support Groups, Peer to Peer classes, and Connection Recovery Support groups, as well as the IOOV (In Our Own Voice) presentation to our members and the community. While only one person trained for a NAMI Signature program the previous year, we recruited and trained 13 individuals for our various programs this past year. NAMI Pierce County, having applied for and received the Tipper Gore ETS Grant, now has several trained individuals who can present the Ending the Silence (ETS) programs to schools and organizations in the community for the first time in Pierce County.
We have reached out to colleges in the area and are excited to have the first official NAMI On Campus affiliation in Western Washington with the University of WA Tacoma. We look forward to a collaborative partnership as we both strive to break the stigma against mental illness and bring mental health awareness to the community.
Our monthly potluck Gathering/general meetings were well attended and the educational presentations were well received. Some of the topics last year included the WA Able Savings Program, Yoga and Meditation, Superior Court Judge Culbertson on Alternatives to Incarceration, Guardianship, and Pierce County District Court Resource Center programs. We also planned a rock painting activity in recognition of World Mental Health Day, held our annual family picnic in the summer, and in December we recognized 56 volunteers at our Annual Volunteer Recognition Award Dinner.
There is hope on the horizon of promises for improvements in the Washington state mental health system and we can be proud of the part that NAMI Pierce County played through our advocacy and Lobby Day efforts.
As we look forward to the year ahead, we hope to continue to build our membership, garner sponsorships and secure additional donations, create more partnerships, and increase the number of Signature programs we can offer.
Our immediate challenge this year is to find and train facilitators for our NAMI Family to Family classes and the Family Support Group. With the retirement of several of our facilitators and teachers this past year, we are in need of additional trainers so that we can continue to offer our two most important programs for families.
As a grassroots, non-profit organization, volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization. Without their willingness to serve, we simply could not exist. It is with great gratitude and deep appreciation that I wish to thank each of you who have given your time and talents to help our organization.
It’s been a privilege to serve as your president this past year and I thank you for the trust and support you have given to me and our Board. May this be a happy and peaceful year for you.
Lovey Offerle, Board President