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NAMI FLORIDA INC
July 5, 2012

After a giant meltdown in 2005, I had to relocate from RI to FL. Nothing was really helping me move forward; I was relatively stable, but that was it. I had gone through decades of therapy, individual and group, with psychiatrists and psychologists while in New England. However, it was the Peer to Peer course that really changed my life. I gained insight that had been lacking. I was given back the power to control my illness. I am MORE than my illness. NAMI Florida has trained me to be a Peer to Peer educator less than one year ago and I am currently teaching my THIRD course. I do this because I love helping others as it helps ME. NAMI Florida has also trained me to be a Provider Educator. NAMI has made me feel valued and given me back my confidence. Florida is a giant state and finally, I'm starting to feel connected to my "new" home, instead of wishing I were back North. I thank NAMI Florida (and NAMI Lee County) for making me part of their community and in turn, part of the communities all over Florida, as well as the towns and cities in my county.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing others gain insight into their illnesses, realizing that not only am I not alone, but by helping others, I help them realize they are not alone. Mental illness feeds on isolation and stigma. I see not only in myself, but in others, personal growth and hope because we address isolation and stigma in our Peer to Peer classes.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Emphasize that NAMI has essentially two perspectives and perhaps even two goals/missions (or integrate them better). What is best for family members is not always best for those of us dealing and coping with MI and vice versa. Understanding and addressing this messy reality may help with communication between families and those of us dealing with MI.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Ensuring that the skills I have to offer are utilized and continue to make me feel like a "regular" person; not a second class citizen.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

My experience made me realize how much I enjoy speaking to groups of people. Although I have huge amounts of anxiety and occasional panic attacks prior to classes and presentations, once I get going, I believe I do a wonderful job communicating. I also do not like making new "friends" - being involved in NAMI has helped me adjust and start to trust people so that perhaps someday, I will eagerly WANT new "friends" and not feel it is a burden.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

This experience has made me feel valuable again. I can have a life and a career. It may not be the life and career I thought I would have, but it will one that I chose and that makes me happy. I didn't think that was possible.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I taught Peer to Peer classes. Also as a volunteer, I help edit and coordinate my local NAMI (NAMI Lee) website and their social media strategy.