The year in review: A trip down memory lane

So many exciting things happened at NAMI Fox Valley in 2013! As we look ahead to 2014, we thought we would also take stock of all the great things that took place last year.

January 2013 We welcomed John Rose to john-tamra-mugsour staff as a Peer Advocate and our In Our Own Voice Program Coordinator. Meanwhile, Tamra Retlick joined our Board of Directors. Thanks John and Tamra for all the passion, dedication and talent you have brought to NAMI Fox Valley!

February 2013 NAMI Fox Valley staff and board members worked to revise the agency’s mission and vision as the following:

Our Mission: NAMI Fox Valley works to support and empower everyone touched by mental illness. We commit to eliminate stigma and nurture recovery through education, support, advocacy and outreach.

Our Vision: We envision a community, free of stigma, that supports and promotes mental health and recovery.

March 2013 We launched our new Mood Disorders Support Group, which meets from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Did you know that all of our support groups are led by trained facilitators who themselves are living well with mental illness?

April 2013 NAMI Fox Valley rolled three new community presentations, known as the 101s:

NAMI Fox Valley 101: This 20-minute presentation offers an overview of the work we do to provide essential education, support, outreach and advocacy programs in the community.

Mental Illness 101: This informative, 50-minute presentation provides an overview of mental illness and its impact; treatment and recovery; the adverse effects of stigma; the importance of advocacy; and NAMI Fox Valley’s role in the community to educate, support and empower those affected by mental illness.

Recovery 101: This 30-minute workshop provides information on the fundamentals of recovery and how NAMI Fox Valley puts them into practice in our programs and services.

May 2013 NAMI Fox Valley and The Arc Fox Cities211-kite launched the public Flight to Building Opportunities Flight Kite campaign to raise $999,211 for the agencies’ new home at 211 E. Franklin St., Appleton. Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin donated $100,211 toward the project! The public got a sneak peak of our new home at a May 8 open house.

stand-up-facebook-logoNAMI Fox Valley, in partnership with the Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection and other community agencies, celebrated May Mental Health Awareness Month with a May 1 kickoff at Riverview Gardens and a month’s worth of awareness activities. nami-trats-logo-optWe finished off the month with the May 31 Strike Out Stigma baseball game with the Timber                                           Rattlers.

211-building-nami-signJune 2013 Home sweet home! After months of planning, purging, and packing, we moved into our new office space on the main floor of  211 E. Franklin St. Our volunteers rocked! They helped us move, unpack and get settled without us hardly skipping a beat. A team of volunteers even beautified the grounds with a landscape makeover.

July 2013 More than 200 NAMI friends, families and consumers turned out for the annual summer picnic hosted by NAMI Fox Valley, Friendship Place and the Outreach Center. Held July 22 at Pierce Park in Appleton, we enjoyed great food, great friendship, and a hot, sunny summer evening.

August 2013 We honored our 2012/2013 Award Recipients at our Aug. 6 Awards Ceremony at the Grand Meridian. In case you missed it, click here to read about our award winners. We also kicked off our first-ever Strike Out Stigma Bowl-a-Thon at the event.

September 2013 NAMI Fox Valley rolled out its new Anxiety Disorders Support Group, which meets from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. We now offer nine different support groups!

-bowlathon-thankyou-signOctober 2013 We held our first Strike Out Stigma Bowl-a-Thon on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Super Bowl in Appleton, raising $80,000 for our agency! Thanks to the 42 bowling teams, 400 bowlers, two dozen sponsors and nearly 60 volunteers for helping us exceed our goal and making the event such a success!

ending_the_silenceNovember 2013 NAMI Fox Valley proudly presented its new outreach program Ending the Silence to more than 1,500 students at Hortonville, Kaukauna, Neenah and Seymour high schools. The program teaches teens the basic signs and symptoms of mental illness, presents personal stories and provides resource materials for students. We also expanded our Teen Support Group to two new locations:  at CHAPS in Kaukauna and at Catalpa Health in Appleton. The original Teen Support Group at Harmony Cafe in Appleton, meanwhile, is still going strong!

The Flight Building Campaign received a major gift: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans announced a $100,000 donation! Thank you Thrivent!!!

December 2013 NAMI Fox Valley welcomed Ryan Kustryan-mug-optimized as a Peer Advocate Intern. Ryan recently completed his training to become a certified peer specialist and is completing his internship hours. We are thrilled to have him with us!

Q: What is a peer specialist?
A: A certified peer specialist is someone who has self-identified as having received or is receiving mental health services in personal recovery and has undergone certification training on how to assist others in recovery. A peer specialist serves a resource and support person to help individuals regain control over their lives and own recovery process. NAMI Fox Valley is proud to have three certified peer specialists on staff including Karen Schiller, Paula Verrett and John Rose.

What an awesome year! We are looking forward to 2014 and all the exciting work we have planned to empower and support those in our community affected by mental illness!