Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Three Days to Go for My NAMI Walk

I'm trying really hard to raise money, so please bear with me:

I've been involved in mental health since I was first diagnosed with bipolar 11 years ago, following a lifetime of denial. I used to be a financial journalist, so turning to mental health journalism was my means of coming to terms with my diagnosis. Literally, I wrote myself out of the hole I was in. Here I am, 11 years later, still writing.

Over the years, I have also been in involved in DBSA and NAMI. I was the founding facilitator of a DBSA chapter in Princeton, NJ, and have spoken at national conferences and to local groups. Later this month, I will be flying to Kansas to deliver a keynote address to the Kansas State DBSA Conference. (See side panel for details.)

This Saturday, I will be walking for NAMI.

Over the years, as a journalist, I have had the privilege of hearing the stories of NAMI people from all over the country. I have attended national conferences and I have spoken at state conferences and at local meetings.  Since moving to Southern CA from NJ more than three years ago, I have become increasingly involved with NAMI San Diego.

Last year, I was asked to serve on its board, which I regard as a great honor. Even by NAMI standards, NAMI San Diego does incredible work. This includes a very full menu of NAMI signature programs such as In Our Own Voice, Family to Family, and Peer to Peer, not to mention an info line, numerous support groups, educational programs, conferences, partnerships in the community, advocacy, and outreaches to ethnic and cultural minorities.

I could go on and on and on. Suffice to say, over the years, NAMI has been a tremendous comfort, both to myself and my family.

You don't need to be living in the San Diego area to support me on my walk. NAMI San Diego may have a local focus, but a lot of our work here has a national impact, and is used as a model for local NAMIs everywhere. We have a dynamic new Executive Director (who learned the ropes from our legendary recently retired ED), a highly-dedicated (and hugely underpaid) staff, and volunteers who are an inspiration.

So, here's the pitch: We need money. We're a non-profit organization. Our programs are free of charge. We serve many thousands of people a year in San Diego County, but we badly want to serve more. Everybody in fact.

It can be so frustrating at times, from board level, staff level, and volunteer level. So much need in the community, so much that needs to be done, only so much we can do.

All of us here at NAMI San Diego are motivated by doing things. Serving our community. Our only limitation is our limited resources, and you can really help us out.

Please support me in my NAMI walk. Every little bit helps. If you get something out of what I do here on Knowledge is Necessity, this is your way of showing your appreciation. You can make a donation online on my Walk page.

Also, if you live in the area, I cordially invite you to walk with me on Saturday as a member of my walk team, McMan's Silly Walkers. You can join by going to my Team page.

Many thanks.

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