Today is International Volunteer Day, a day to honor and recognize the efforts and impact of volunteers to important causes and work. Together we can make positive change!

This year, NAMI Seattle had over 100 volunteers share their knowledge, experience, time, and hope with our community to help make others’ struggles a little easier.

Our volunteers are the heart of our work. Our free community programs follow a peer-led model. For example, our support groups for people with mental health conditions are led by folx with mental health conditions and our Family-to-Family educational course is taught by family members of people with mental health conditions. Volunteers who lead these programs have been there, they understand. These program leaders volunteer hours- often years- of their time, care, and energy to leading groups, presentations, and classes that connect people to mental health information and support.

Our volunteers also help us host events, raise awareness of mental health issues, answer helpline messages and connect people to resources, share their stories, and more. We want to give a BIG, full-hearted, sincere THANK YOU to all of our volunteers!

If you are interested in getting involved with NAMI Seattle, check out our volunteer page and feel free to reach out. Keep an eye out for new opportunities and training in 2023!

Today, we are highlighting a couple of our wonderful volunteers.

 

Image of a white woman smiling wearing glasses and a black t-shirt that reads in blue and pink letters "Protect Trans Youth"

Meet Meredith

Tell us a little about yourself!

 I live near Seattle with my spouse, my three kids, and two guinea pigs. I work as a writer and as a minister, and I am on a lifelong search for the perfect cup of hot chocolate.

Why did you choose to become a NAMI Seattle volunteer?

During the pandemic, I got trained to co-facilitate a NAMI Connections group. Groups like ours have been essential to my own health and healing, and this year seemed like the right time to give back some of what has been given to me.

What has been the most fulfilling part of being in this role?

Every time our small group meets, I learn something that helps me, and I can see how others are also transformed by the wisdom of the group. I love watching people reconnect with community as they remind each other never to give up hope. What could be more fulfilling than that?

Has this role affected other aspects of your life (mentally, spiritually, professionally, or otherwise)?

Because of my role co-facilitating a small group, I feel less alone. I feel more like my work in this world matters. I am reminded that my mental health vulnerabilities are a source of strength, not a weakness to be hidden for fear of stigma. Because of my work with NAMI, I can be a more present listener to the people I am called to serve. I believe NAMI saves lives. And I am so grateful to be part of what we do!

 

 

Picture of an older white woman with short gray hair smiling wearing glasses and a purple long-sleeve shirt. She stands in front of book shelves.

Meet Laurie

Tell us a little about yourself!

I live in Bellingham where I work part-time as a college and GED math tutor. I also volunteer and work with NAMI as a National Trainer, State Trainer, and overall helper at my local affiliate. When I’m not working and volunteering, then I’m watching sports.

Why did you choose to become a NAMI Seattle volunteer?

I’ve been a Connection facilitator for several years. During the pandemic, I wanted to give back to my Connection community in a new way.  NAMI Seattle has been trying to begin an ECT Support Group and I was looking for a new NAMI adventure. The ECT group is a small group yet it has a profound effect with the attending members.

What has been the most fulfilling part of being in this role?

I see people in the group who have never talked with another person who is also going through ECT treatments. ECT has a double-stigma where people don’t feel comfortable sharing even within the mental health community. We find out that we’re not alone and there is hope that recovery is possible.

Has this role affected other aspects of your life (mentally, spiritually, professionally, or otherwise)?

When I first started volunteering with NAMI in 2014, I had only worked one year in the past 20. Helping out in the NAMI office provided structure and work experience for my resume. Volunteering with NAMI opened the door for me to be able to work the past eight years in education, after not working for two decades. I also found a community that understands and welcomes me. I was looking for support when I came to NAMI and found so much more, a sense of purpose  and community that is  greater than I could have ever imagined.