What led me to NAMI was a desire for knowledge and comfort in a very dark time. From the beginning, I found solace among peers who understood where I was. Their open hearts and kind faces made it feel safe to settle into a new and unfamiliar place, while I grieved a full life that had now come and gone. Listening to their own richly detailed stories offered hope and better prepared me for the potential challenges ahead. While no one story resonated exactly, the theme that resounded was EVERYONE STRUGGLES WITH SOMETHING. All of us! No one is immune. Through this beautifully simple yet complex concept, my passion to connect with others through struggle blossomed.
It started in a small way, the good works of my journeyman fostered my own desire to offer the same support to others along the way. I enrolled and completed many of NAMI’s training classes and step by step I put the pieces of my life back together. Each piece felt like an improved integration of something that had been lost along the way. Slowly and systematically, I became more entrenched in NAMI and its programming. Meeting people right where they were, each of us growing through our own accounts- real connection found in individual experiences.
After some time and through many incredible success stories, I wholly believe that owning our own humanness is the key to real sustainable growth and recovery. By honoring our own struggle, we can see others with greater empathy and love. That is authentic, what’s real. People just want to believe they matter. We all want to feel like our voice is heard and that our perspectives are valued. Not everyone comes from the same place, we are individual. Our uniqueness is the most wonderful part of connection. Yet, the common denominator between us is struggle. We all do. From the early days, this was the very cornerstone I observed in NAMI support groups. More than ever, I only feel devoted to the concept. I encourage each of you to imagine the concept and how it might more easily pave the road ahead- connection through our own humanness.
Today, as the newly appointed NAMI Colorado, Executive Director (interim,) NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties, President and NAMI Colorado, Vice President I can proudly look back and say that every step mattered. Along the way each person who was there to raise me up made a difference, guiding me to each unique and unexpected place. I am humbled because of my journey and have nothing but gratitude to everyone who had faith in me. As I acknowledge my own struggle, I am more confident that ever that our objective is to meet people exactly where they are with a gentle hand guiding them up. Because of each of you, I am living proof of this process and am honored to serve with sincere heartfelt gratitude.
We all struggle with something…