Serving Together | MLK Day 2020
This year Bonners, NExT Fellows, and VISTAs came together in January to participate in ACE’s annual service day in celebration of Martin Luther King. As part of the day, a group of eight students and two VISTAs visited the New York State branch of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, also called NAMI. One of the VISTAs who joined us, Cassandra Farrugia, serves at NAMI as their communication specialist. While being there, we were able to learn about the organization as well as help prepare for their upcoming campaign. The campaign was all about awareness for mental illness and for the services that NAMI provides. The campaign included hanging ribbons around the community to raise awareness and remind individuals about the presence of mental illness in the community. During our time serving at NAMI, we were able to make many ribbons that would be used in this campaign.
When we got to the center, we met Christine Rickeman and Jeanne Ryan who work at NAMI. They provided us with a little information about the organization and the work that they are doing. The organization’s mission is described as being “dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” With over 1000 different branches nation-wide, the New York State branch is in great company. The organization works to provide a multitude of different resources, provides education to the community, and raises awareness for mental illness.
Having an amazing organization like NAMI in the community shows the important work being done in a variety of areas related to social justice. Mental illness is something that is becoming more and more relevant in society, and something that can be seen throughout the community. NAMI’s work is creating significant change. The group that was able to attend NAMI for the Martin Luther King Service Day were given a great perspective on an organization dedicated to caring for the community.
Kate Callery ’21
Bonner Service Leader