Socially distanced event held to support the virtual NAMI walk

NAMI dancing in the street.

by Jill Forman

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The classes, support groups and educational outreach it does benefits those with mental illness, their families and friends, and society at large.

All classes and groups are free to the participant. NAMI relies on donations and grants to supply these invaluable services. The biggest event of the year is the NAMI walk, in which thousands of teams and individuals raise funds.

Due to health concerns, the walk was cancelled this year, at least in its physical form. There was instead a Virtual Walk on May 30, “A National Day of Hope.”

One NAMI team, the NAMI Mommies, had a dance party on Mesa Circle Drive in the Clearpoint area of Ventura. Hope is a perfect theme for this neighborhood which was devastated by the Thomas Fire. Many of the houses are new or still under construction.

The Mommies is a group of women who met at a NAMI class for families of those with mental illness, and who continue to meet as a support group. They were joined by employees of the school district who were donating through this event.

The cul-de-sac had messages of hope and love chalked on the pavement. There were brief speeches Georgia Perry, a group member and the organizer of the event; Mark Stadler of the Ventura VPD; friends of the members; and a particularly effective and passionate address by Mary Haffner, local attorney and former member of the Ventura school board.

Then the DJ started the music, and there was dancing. Dancing for hope and for NAMI.

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