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2019 Message From the President

Greetings for a happy new year!   My name is Lovey Offerle and it is my honor to serve as your President for 2019-2020.

As we ring in the new year, it is my hope to also ring in a year of great promise…one of positive changes and growth that emphasizes our mission statement:  to provide Support, Education, Advocacy, and Public Awareness (SEAPA) so that families and individuals affected by mental illness can build better lives. This year we have adopted the theme  “Making a Difference” , hoping that we can make a difference in the community, in the lives of those who are in need and who reach out to us for support, and most importantly, in the lives of our members.

We have restructured the Board this year as one of our changes so that each Board member has a specific area of responsibility that reflects the Board’s priorities. As with any grassroots volunteer organization, there are often challenges when the demands of time and life leaves the bulk of the work on a few, leading to “burn out” and eventually an organization that can no longer be viable. With this new structure, each Board member owns “a piece of the pie “ and can focus mainly on his “piece”, or area of responsibility without being pulled in many different directions. It also ensures that our priorities, such as the Signature programs, membership, etc, are being met and addressed at the Board level.

I am so proud of our new Board…individuals who are committed and passionate about our mission and are dedicated to making our organization successful and sustainable.  Please allow me to introduce them and their area of responsibility:

Daniel Sheehan– Vice President and Signature Programs

Angela Walker– 2nd Vice President and Fundraising, Corporate Outreach, and NAMI Walks

Ed Tuck– Treasurer and Finances

Andrea Sulusi– Secretary and Communications (Website, Newsletter)

Brian Prester– Member at Large and Director of Education

Robin McCarthy– Member at Large and Membership

Cierra Gloeckner– Member at Large and Community Outreach/Public Awareness and Advocacy

Julie Costello– Ex Officio and Historian

We also have two Member at Large positions open that we expect to fill shortly– one in the area of Medical Expertise and the other with Legal/Legislative responsibility.  I invite you to read our Board members’ biographies which are posted on our website and to come out and meet them at a Gathering meeting. Each Board member will also be responsible for hosting one of our monthly Gatherings this year, as well as selecting the topic and presentation for the meeting.

We recently hired our part-time Marketing and Program Coordinator, Megan Irving, and are delighted to have her join our team.

As a joint venture between CHI Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System, the new Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital will be opening soon.  This not-for-profit hospital, located next to Allenmore Hospital on 19th and Union, will have 120 beds and aims to provide safe, patient-centered, evidence-based and trauma-informed care in collaboration with patients, families, and the communities.  We are pleased to have been granted space to hold our meetings there, including our Signature programs and our Gathering meetings. We also expect to have our NAMI PC office relocated there once the hospital opens. Patients and families at Wellfound will have easy access to us and our programs and this new location will also give us greater visibility and exposure to our community.

Once we settle in at our new surroundings, we hope to offer a monthly Education Speaker /Seminar Series at the Wellfound Hospital that will be open to the community. As part of the series, we expect to offer our own IOOV (In Our Own Voice) presentation several times this year.  We are excited about being able to offer this popular presentation on an ongoing basis to the community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our teachers, facilitators, and presenters who have given so much of their time and efforts in presenting our NAMI Signature programs to our communities.  I am humbled by your dedication and commitment to make a difference in the many lives that are touched by mental illness. Putting together a class or facilitating a support group takes a lot of time, effort and heart, and I thank you for all you do.

I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead and know that that together we can make a big difference in the lives of others.  (I hope that you will help make a difference by volunteering for one of our volunteer opportunities or signing up for a Signature program training class.) And as we look ahead to our changes and opportunities,  I’d like to share with you one of my favorite quotes below.

Thank you for your support and the privilege of serving as your President.

Making a Difference

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a man picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He called out “Good morning! May I ask what you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and said “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile?  You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean.  As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

-Loren Eiseley