By Wendy Magas, Communications Director
Thank you to everyone who turned out Feb. 5 for our Report to the Community and Annual Awards Celebration held at the Grand Meridian in Appleton.
It was exciting to have such a large crowd – more than 125 people – gathered for the event as we celebrated NAMI Fox Valley’s 2014 accomplishments and our award recipipents.
“2014 was an unprecedented year for our agency,” Executive Director Beth Clay told the crowd. “NAMI Fox Valley served more than 7,000 commuity members with our education, support, advocacy and outreach programs. In the past four years, we have increased the number of community members we’ve served by 500 percent.”
Beth credited the visionary leadership of her predecessors and a supportive community for building the foundation for the agency’s continued success.
“Thanks to the visionary leadership of the directors before me, Marilyn Mosher, Mary Jo Wiegratz, Karen Aspenson, dedicated boards of directors, committed and generous funders, a forward thinkging community, thousands of amazing volunteers and the love and belief behind the mission, our affiliate stands out as one of the most robust, activing, and thriving of all NAMI affiliates, in Wisconsin and in the nation,” Beth added.
In 2014, the agency welcomed five new staff members to its main office, and also hired nine staff members under the state grant for the Peer Run Respite.
Meanwhile, we offered a record number of education classes that impacted a record number of of participants. We held five Family-to-Family classes and five Peer-to-Peer classes, the most our agency has offered in a year.
“A record number of 89 participants graduated from Family-to-Family and a total of 30 mental health consumers graduated from Peer-to-Peer,” Beth said.
“We are keeping families and consumers off waiting lists and getting them into classes, allowing them to receive the support and eductaion they need.”
The agency also offered 2,200 hours of peer, family and parent advocate support – one on one to those in need.
“Just as we did in the earliest days, when you called NAMI Fox Valley, you talked to someone who’d walked in your shoes,” Beth said. “No matter how large our building or how many people we serve, or how many staff members we have, that is the heart of who we are and what we do.”
Following Beth’s Report to the Community, NAMI Fox Valley staff celebrated the 2014-2015 award recipients, including Brian Bezier, Julie Caflisch, Norma Czarnik, Todd Freeman, Linda Speering and Bud Broussard, YMCA of the Fox Cites, United Way Fox Cities, and Image Studios.
At the end of the evening, NAMI Fox Valley staff also paid a short tribute to Beth, who had announced a few weeks prior that she was resigning from the agency.
“Tonight, we were asked by our ‘boss’ not to shine the light on her four amazing years of service that has led this agency to new heights,” Paula Verrett told the crowed. “Beth, you see, is a humble, servant leader, who leads by example and takes pleasure in serving others and the common good.
“She is not one to call attention to herself and her many successes. And tonight, she wanted all of the focus on to be our NAMI friends, our NAMI supporters, and our award recipients. But since she’s leaving anyway, we figured we couldn’t get into too much trouble by paying a small tribute to a wonderful boss, an inspiring community leader, and an amazing human being who is touching lives, affecting positive change, blazing trails and making ripples in the community and beyond that will be felt for years to come. We want to thank you, Beth, for all of your love, your hard work and your dedication.”