By Melissa Ford
NAMI Metro Suburban, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has served the Oak Park/River Forest community for the last 20 years, offering ongoing support to families, organizations and the community at large. The NAMI drop-in center is located at 816 Harrison St. in Oak Park.
In anticipation of the organization's 20th anniversary, I posed a few question to Executive Director Kimberly Knake about NAMI's community efforts.
How does NAMI positively impact our community?
We offer free education courses to individuals with mental illness and their families. I'd like to share a testimonial we received from one of our participants that shows the improvement in her life:
"NAMI's Family to Family course has been life-changing for me. I now have more patience with my brother and have realistic expectations of him and the situation. His mental illness was controlling my life. I feel better equipped to deal with it. I feel like I've learned the importance of helping my sibling."
What other programming does NAMI provide?
We support middle- and high school-age students with a popular program called Ending the Silence. This presentation creates a powerful connection to the realities of mental illnesses through a NAMI educator and a youth with a lived experience who share his/her personal story with students. To date, NAMI has partnered with six area schools reaching over 1,800 students.
How is NAMI Metro Suburban celebrating its 20th anniversary?
We are inviting the public to a one-woman show called All Kinds of Crazy, written and starring Arlene Malinowski. Her personal tale is an inspirational, humorous and heartwarming story of her journey to recovery. The April 13 performance will be taking place at the 19th Century Club building, 178 Forest Ave. in Oak Park. The show is at 6 p.m. with a reception to follow at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale now and will be going fast! Show tickets are priced at $25 and tickets for the show and reception are $75.
If you would like to support this wonderful organization while having a great night at the theater, please visit www.namimetsub.org or call Michelle Rose at 708-524-2582.