23 Mar The Power of Kind Fellowship
Nancy Howe first learned of the power of “kind fellowship” at Vail Place many years ago while searching for resources for her son. Like many parents of children with mental illness, Nancy has had to navigate her way through multiple hospitalizations, as well as complex court and county proceedings. She has used these experiences to help others not only by facilitating parent support groups, but by becoming a passionate advocate for mental health reform.
Highlights of Nancy’s work to improve the lives of those with mental illness include a stint serving on the Advisory Board for Schizophrenia Research Studies at the University of Minnesota, a presentation at the Minnesota Center for Chemical and Mental Health Annual Conference, and testimony to help gain funding for the innovative new First Episode Program (FEP) during the 2015 Minnesota legislative session. Nancy is currently volunteering with the FEP workgroup at the Minnesota Department of Human Services as they prepare to launch First Episode programs across the state.
During this time Nancy has also been active with many Vail Place events and activities. She has been a featured speaker and table ambassador at the Dr. Vail Hour, served as a committee member for Tour de Vail/Roll & Stroll and also spoke at our “Community and Health: Stories of Impact and Collaboration” event last November. “I believe that Vail Place plays a unique role in the lives of those recovering from mental illness because of the Clubhouse model,” Nancy says. “The power of kind fellowship, and the support and knowledge of shared journeys makes being part of Vail Place a special experience.”
Nine years of experience parenting a young adult with schizophrenia combined with multi-faceted advocacy for mental health reform recently led Nancy to a new position with NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI Minnesota is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. NAMI Minnesota offers education, support and advocacy. As a Youth and Parent Educator, Nancy is excited about her new role reaching out to young adults with mental illness and their families with resources and encouragement.
Even with such a busy schedule, Nancy still plans to remain active at Vail Place. “Everyone at Vail Place, members and staff alike, strive to discover and utilize the gifts that others can bring to the community in an atmosphere of honor and respect,” she says.
We appreciate the gifts that Nancy has brought to our organization and wish her the best in her new endeavor!