Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keep the Celebration Going!

So, you’ve walked the NAMIWalk and enjoyed the festive event, but now what? Don’t end your day after you leave the Walk, continue celebrating by having an after-party/event!

For months you have worked hard raising awareness and funds for NAMI, so you deserve a FUN day! After you leave the Walk continue the celebration with your family, friends, and team members by doing something FUN! Hosting an after-party/event also provides those who registered to walk, but unfortunately couldn’t make the event, a time to celebrate with everyone!  

Here are some FUN after-party/event ideas:

  • Plan a lunch or an early dinner at a local restaurant. Wear your team t-shirt or the official NAMIWalks t-shirt. When making a reservation or when you approach the host/hostess let them know that you just completed the NAMIWalk and you’re there to celebrate!
  • Have a party at your home. Invite your family and friends who participated in the Walk and/or donated to your Walk efforts. Don’t worry about making the food if you don’t have time, instead have everyone pitch in and order pizza or do a pot-luck!
  • Go to a spa. You can use a little relaxation and pampering after walking, so get your team members together and visit a local spa for massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc. When making the reservation tell them you’ll be coming in after walking in the NAMIWalk!
  • Go to a sporting event. You can get your family and friends together and go to a ball game or a soccer match. Remember to have everyone wear their team t-shirt or the official NAMIWalks t-shirt.
  • Go bowling or to the movies. These are great activities for the young adults on your Walk Team. Again wear your NAMIWalk t-shirt and let them know that you just left the event!

If you and/or your team continued the celebration after this year's NAMIWalk, share what you did on the NAMIWalksFacebook page!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Fundraisers

“…to ensure there will be interest in the nonprofit sector and fundraising in the future, young people must be exposed to philanthropy in a meaningful way at a young age,” Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

You’re passionate about NAMI’s mission and the wonderful programs NAMI provides throughout your community, that’s why you work so hard to raise awareness and funds for the organization through NAMIWalks. To ensure support continues to grow in the future for NAMI and other nonprofit organizations, begin instilling your philanthropic values in your young children now. The children of today are the leaders and philanthropists of tomorrow, so educating them about the importance of fundraising and supporting NAMI is imperative.

Engaging children with FUN activities, such as participating in a NAMIWalk is a great way to introduce them to the world of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. NAMIWalks is a family-friendly event with entertainment and activities for young children to enjoy. While walking in the event, you have the opportunity to discuss mental illness and NAMI’s mission with your children, as well as how the money they raised will help to improve the lives of many individuals.

Prior to Walk Day, engage your children with the FUN activities they already enjoy, but make them into small fundraisers for NAMIWalks. Here are some options:

  • Give them a special piggy bank that’s only used to raise money for NAMIWalks. They can ask their grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends to contribute by putting their spare change in the bank.

  • Bake a goody with them and have them sell the cupcakes, brownies, etc. at their school or in your neighborhood and have the proceeds benefit NAMI.

  • Have them draw pictures or create some other artwork and sell them to family and friends with the funds going to NAMIWalks.

  • Have them put on a performance with the admission going toward their NAMIWalk efforts. By a performance, I mean in the backyard or in your home for family and friends.

These are just a few examples of what your children, with your assistance, can do to help raise money for NAMIWalks and begin learning about philanthropy. By doing these activities with your children, you’re preparing them to become the future ambassadors for NAMI and other nonprofits. They will most likely want to continue giving back and helping others, because they will begin to understand the value of their work at an early age. What better gift can you give your children?  

Friday, May 17, 2013

What does NAMIWalks Support?

NAMIWalks generates funding so NAMIs across the country are able to offer an array of free education and support programs for individuals living with mental illness, family members and loved ones, providers and the general public.  Programs include:

NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses.  The course is taught by trained family members. All instruction and course materials are free to class participants.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer Education Program is a unique, experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery. The program consists of ten two-hour units and is taught by a team of two trained “Mentors” and a volunteer support person who are personally experienced at living well with mental illness. All instruction and course materials are free to class participants.

NAMI Basics is the new signature education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses.  The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years. The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours.  All instruction materials are free to participants.

The NAMIProvider Education Program is a 5-week course that presents a penetrating, subjective view of family and consumer experiences with serious mental illness to line staff at public agencies who work directly with people experiencing severe and persistent mental illnesses. The course helps providers realize the hardships that families and consumers face and appreciate the courage and persistence it takes to live with and recover from mental illness.

The NAMIParents & Teachers As Allies is a two-hour in-service program that helps school professionals identify the early warning signs of early-onset mental illnesses in children and adolescents in schools.  It focuses on the specific, age-related symptoms of mental illnesses in youth, how best to intervene, and shared the lived experiences of consumers and families.

NAMIConnection is a weekly recovery support group for people living with mental illness in which people learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding.

NAMI FamilySupport Group is for family members and loved ones of someone living with a mental illness. The Group meets once a month.

In Our OwnVoice is a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained consumer speakers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery.

The NAMIHearts & Minds program is an online, interactive, educational initiative promoting the idea of wellness in both mind and body. Wellness is an ongoing process of learning how to make choices that support a more successful, healthy life.

Please visit for additional information on these and other NAMI programs.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Power of the “T”

Almost all Walks have a t-shirt that people receive for raising a certain amount of money, and NAMIWalks is no different. Walkers who raise $100 or more receive a NAMIWalks t-shirt. These shirts have become significant in the lives of many; some walkers collect the t-shirts and have one from every year they have participated in NAMIWalks. The t-shirts serve as a reminder of their dedication to NAMI’s mission, the hard work they have put in to fundraising and spreading awareness during each NAMIWalk season, and the passion they feel toward improving the lives of individuals living with mental illness and their loved ones.

In addition to the official NAMIWalks t-shirt, there is another significant t-shirt for NAMIWalk participants -- the team t-shirt! The team t-shirts add excitement and FUN to the NAMIWalk, because they’re bright, colorful and usually include a witty statement. Most teams love creating a t-shirt for all of their members to wear on Walk day, because it shows their dedication to the event and wanting to help stomp out the stigma around mental illness.

Team members usually meet to decide their t-shirt's theme and design. This is a great activity to gather team members together before Walk day to get their creative juices flowing and to inspire them to continue fundraising and spreading awareness! After the t-shirts are designed and printed, the team members wear them proudly on Walk day because they know they had a part in creating the shirts.

We at NAMI love to see the t-shirts, especially the sea of people wearing like-shirts as they walk the event path. Most NAMIWalks vote on the team with the best t-shirt and presents the team captain with a prize.

So get excited and create a t-shirt that expresses your team’s feelings toward improving lives and changing minds around mental illness! We can’t wait to see what your team will design! The power of the "T" can bring unity to your team!