Peer-Led, Peer-Run: Celebrating Our Volunteers  - NAMI-NYC

Peer-Led, Peer-Run: Celebrating Our Volunteers 

Familiar faces, warm hugs, and big laughs: NAMI-NYC’s Volunteer Appreciation Party, held in April, brought together the dedicated and passionate individuals who give their time and energy to support NAMI-NYC’s mission of improving the lives of people living with mental illness and their family members. 

It’s no secret that NAMI-NYC programs are fueled by the volunteers that help run them. NAMI-NYC volunteers are peers, family members, loved ones, and community members who have experience with mental illness. They give their time and expertise to each of our programs. They’re support group hosts, mentors, advocates for mental health legislation, and Helpline Responders, to name a few.  

Volunteers were able to come together in the same room, many not seeing each other in-person since before the pandemic. “We are so grateful for our volunteers – we couldn’t do what we do without them. This party was the first time we’ve had a chance to thank our volunteers in person since 2019, and it was fantastic to see old friends and to finally put faces to new names,” shared Juen Romanoff, our Data Systems & Volunteer Manager who organized the festivities.  

The highlight of the evening was a performance from You Are Not Alone. The show unites improvisers, poets, and comedians living with mental illness to prove one thing: that laughter really is the best medicine. New York actor and improviser Aaron Gold said, “the idea that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of is relatively new. You Are Not Alone is ecstatic to partner with NAMI-NYC to bring that way of thinking to the forefront and talk about what we struggle with.”   

When asked why they give their time to NAMI-NYC, the answers were unanimous. One volunteer shared, “NAMI-NYC was so impactful on my journey to recovery, and I figured it would be a great place to give my time.” Another volunteer shared, “NAMI-NYC helped me and my mental health journey. I wanted to show respect to the community that helped me and support those who need it.”  

It was a night to celebrate the heart of NAMI-NYC, and to recognize the individuals who make it possible. Learn more about how to get involved in NAMI-NYC on our website.