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NAMI Walks With Veterans
The following excerpts an article by
With the approach of spring, many of us in NAMI begin eagerly anticipating the chance to join in a local NAMI Walk.
Across the country, NAMI state organizations and local affiliates are implementing programs to reach out to veterans and their families. This work also entails efforts to educate more of the general public.
For many NAMI advocates, it means ensuring that veterans groups and their families are included in NAMIWalks.
Veterans Improvement Program (VIP) is a private non-profit organization that is linked to a day treatment center at the Veterans Administration in
One of the veterans who attended, Abraham Weatherspoon, was so moved by these conversations that he also later talked with other VIP consumers, inspiring them to form their own Walk team.
The thirty veterans and staff on the Walk team raised awareness and funds for NAMI through word of mouth, e-mails, and the NAMI Web site.
"We got a great response. It made us feel pretty good to be part of such a tremendous program," Weatherspoon said.
Lynell Akuma, a social worker at VIP and a member of Abraham’s team, said they all asked friends and family to
"It was incredible," said Akuma. “The Web site is great. NAMI was so well organized. It was a fantastic learning experience for the veterans. It was amazing how energized they were, and the response to their energy was outstanding.”
Russ Sempell, president of NAMI Kern County in
The program has received a robust response—more than 65 veterans, family members, and
Sempell ascribed the program’s success to this effort to pull the whole
"Several new members have joined NAMI since this initiative began," Sempell reported. "Next year, we plan to have a very large team of veterans in our NAMIWalk. Everyone is congratulating NAMI for initiating this program."
Learn more about NAMIWALKS in your community.