Community Report 2018
Why We Remember the 90s
A few years ago, someone much wiser than me offered this advice: “Don’t be afraid to reflect on the past occasionally, not only to remind yourself where you came from but to better understand where you are going.” As I begin my 10th year with NAMI of Erie County – and our organization’s 35th year of service to individuals and families with mental illness – this advice rings truer than ever.
Looking back a quarter century to the early 1990s, so much has changed in our world. We weren’t glued to our smartphones; baggy clothes that didn’t quite fit were cool. But just as technology and fashion have evolved, we also have experienced changes in society’s view of mental illness and how we treat it.
Today, mental illness is better understood and less stigmatized. Psychiatric services have shifted from the hospital to the community. In turn, medical and rehabilitative care has improved. People now understand the connection between mental health and overall well-being, our ability to function at work and at home, and how we view the world around us. These changes are significant, but more needs to be done.
That is why NAMI or Erie County continues to do what we do. Someone who can speak to this is Missi Berquist, whose family has experienced mental illness. Missi has been a NAMI volunteer since the 1990s. In this report, she talks about the changes she has seen and the impact NAMI has made for her family.
Treatment for mental illness will continue to change, consistent with scientific and research developments. With your generous contributions, NAMI will help more individuals and families learn about available services, discover the latest treatments and connect to others sharing similar experiences.
Thank you for your continued support,
Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA
NAMI in the 90s
Missi Berquist has been a staple at NAMI of Erie County since the 90s. She’s volunteered as a member of the board, a Family-to-Family teacher, and taught others to lead the program. Reflecting on her time at NAMI, Missi is impressed with how today’s NAMI has embraced educating the community about mental health through outreach, like our presentations to schools. Last year, NAMI of Erie County reached over 1,000 students. Then, there’s the substantial increase in visibility. When individuals and their families need mental health education, NAMI of Erie County is considered a helping hand in that process with the collaborative goal of supporting the entire family to wellness. Missi is also excited about the future, specifically the new programs at NAMI – Basics and Homefront – that will target specific audiences in order to have a lasting impact at home. NAMI would like to thank dedicated supporters like Missi as we continue to serve the Erie community.
LYLAS—love ya like a sister!
Acting boldly on their mission of “Empowering Women and Families,” the Erie Women’s Fund (EWF), a donor-advised fund of The Erie Community Foundation, supported the launch of NAMI Basics, a new program that supports parents who have young children facing mental and behavioral health challenges. “The NAMI Basics program is perfectly aligned with EWF’s mission to empower children and families,” said Janet Peters, EWF Grants Chairperson, “By providing mental health education and skills to work with the school system, we can empower students to achieve higher academic results and bring families closer together.” EWF also provided NAMI a $2,000 mini-grant earlier this year for Exploring the Arts with NAMI. Combined, support from the Erie Women’s Fund will directly impact over 300 Erie County residents.
NAMI’s 90s Dance Party!
It’s Like Your Class Reunion—But Way More Fun!
NAMI of Erie County invites you to “party like it’s 1999” at the 90s Dance Party! Join us on Saturday, November 3rd from 8 p.m. to midnight at Rainbow Gardens for a night that will be “Supa Dupa Fly!”
Dig into your closet, grab a pair of Zubaz pants, your slap bracelet and your crop top—and don’t forget the Scrunchie—or lace up those Docs and go all goth again. Hey, it’s a party featuring all your favorite 90s hits and deep cuts by DJ Tony B, along with a light show that will make you think you’re back on a Phish tour.
All those things that were so embarrassing 20 years ago are back in style for one night only at this BYOB, 21+ event. Miss this party? As if! Purchase your tickets for $20 today at 90sDancePartyErie.com because this party is gonna be da bomb!
Class is in Session
We learned a lot this year, didn’t we?
NAMI Basics is a NAMI signature program that is being offered in Erie County for the first time, thanks to the Erie Women’s Fund. This six-week program, founded on the principles of the evidence-based Family-to-Family program, is targeted at parents and caregivers who have a young child facing mental and behavioral health challenges. The program focuses on mental health education, communication strategies, and bringing the entire family closer to support the child. In addition, NAMI Basics enables participants to work more closely with the school system in supporting their child, increasing academic achievement and reducing behavioral incidents in both the school and home. There is no charge for participants! For more information or to register for the next session of this free program, please visit NAMIerie.org.
In the Music Room
On April 3rd, over 50 children from Early Connections enjoyed a day of music, art, mental health education, and fun at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum at the fourth annual presentation of Exploring the Arts with NAMI. Musician Lori Burke, who has written music for Sesame Street, performed classic children’s songs along with her original compositions. Using recycled materials, the children also created an instrument of their own and played along. Exploring the Arts with NAMI continues to introduce mental health concepts to reduce stigmatization at an early age through music and artistic expression. The program has positively impacted more than 750 children. Support for this program is provided in part from a Project Grant from Erie Arts & Culture.
2016-2017 Operating Revenue
$384,602 Total Operating Revenue
- Erie County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities ($251,080)
- Community Support ($66,579)
- United Way of Erie County ($42,000)
- Other Grants ($15,000)
- Investment Revenue ($9,943)
Why We Look Forward
Back in 1995, NAMI of Erie County launched our evidence-based Family-to-Family program. Since then, this 12-week educational course has helped hundreds learn about mental illness, treatments, medications and rehabilitation. Many graduates of the program called it “life-changing” as they develop friendships with others in similar situations. As we begin a new year, NAMI is delighted to announce two major new initiatives that will help even more individuals and families:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is partnering with NAMI to launch mental health first aid training for Erie County. Funded by a $125,000 federal grant, NAMI will teach Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to benefit numerous populations, including veterans and victims of trauma. The goal of the project is to increase the capacity of Erie County residents to provide MHFA to those at greatest risk and help reduce mental health crises.
- Roar on the Shore® Bike Week has designated NAMI of Erie County as its charity recipient organization for 2019. Expected to draw nearly 175,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country, “Roar” has exploded on the national rally scene to showcase all that the Erie region has to offer. NAMI will benefit directly from the proceeds generated by the event.
Looking forward, NAMI is ready to continue to grow. We are financially stable and serving more clients than ever – some 6,500 last year alone. Through your continued support and contributions, we will continue to advocate and educate for those who live with mental illness. To learn more about the new initiatives above or how NAMI impacts our community, please visit www.NAMIerie.org.