in support of mental health initiatives
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN
Unlike those who braved the rain to watch the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs last Saturday, folks who attended NAMI Hernando's Derby Day event at Chinsegut Hill were blessed with beautiful weather. The purpose was to raise money for the various goals and programs of this grassroots organization. The many people who planned and supported the fundraiser, as well as the more than 100 people who attended, deemed it a success.
“The event was laid out well and the food was out of this world. The weather was great and the location even better,” commented M.J. Stack, who was attending for the first time.
“It wasn’t the typical fundraiser that we attend and sneak out early,” stated another attendee.
Tina Kinney, Executive Director of the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hernando remarked, “We were all very pleased. This was our third one and although we changed the venue this year everything went smooth as ice. Attendance has increased every year.”
Some of these goals include educating the public about mental illness, eliminating the stigma of mental illness and advocating for increased funding for research into the causes and treatment of mental illness. NAMI does this through several programs and projects.
They have peer support groups for those who have a mental health condition and also support groups for relatives and friends of people who are suffering from mental illness. The organization also offers social activities and skills training.
Vincent Academy – Adventure Coast is NAMI's most recent project, partnering with Vincent House out of Pinellas Park. Its mission is to assist, promote and celebrate individuals living with a mental illness or other disability, in their effort to improve social and vocational skills and become employed in the community. The Vincent Academy groundbreaking is scheduled for June 15, 2018 at 10AM. The state recently allocated $1 million in funding for the construction of Vincent Academy.
Last year, NAMI received a grant from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation and partnered with the school district to begin the ‘Ending the Silence’ program. Ending the Silence brings awareness to high school and middle school students experiencing signs of mental illness and teaches them how to seek help in order to continue to function well in school and life. NAMI Basics and NAMI Family Support Group empower family caregivers as effective advocates for their children.
Last Saturday's Derby Day event included music by Rich Sanvenero's Big Daddy DJ Service and a viewing of the exciting race on a large screen TV. Horse-drawn carriage rides and tours of the Chinsegut Hill manor were also offered.
Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (WREC) donated tents for the event and a wide assortment of hors d’oeuvres, as well as barbecue chicken, pork tenderloin and sides. David Lambert of WREC showed off his culinary skills by preparing Deep-fried everything - onion rings, corn and Oreos. Marker 48 provided complimentary beer on tap. There was also free sangria. And, for folks wanting to get in the real “spirit” of the day – mint juleps (for a donation).
People attending the event were encouraged to dress in their best Derby Day finery. Ladies donned creative hats from the beautiful to the wacky to vie for winner of the Best Hat competition. Men competed for Best Attired.
The success of NAMI's fundraising event would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and businesses in the community.
David Lambert and Shahra Anderson
Dr. Fawzi and Maureen Soliman
Chinsegut Hill Retreat
Rising Sun Bistro & Market
Bayfront Health – Spring Hill, Brooksville
Withalacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Davis Family Hearing
Big Daddy DJ
Marker 48 Brewing
Debra Steele Thompson & Art
Five and Dime Magazine
Pepper's Arts & Crafts
Except for the Executive Director, NAMI Hernando is a volunteer organization dependent on donations and fundraisers such as Derby Day to fulfill its mission.
Mental Health America finds that Florida has a low incidence of mental health and substance abuse problems compared to other states, but less access to care for those who do suffer from mental illness. Organizations like NAMI are actively working to address the access to care problem in our state and local community.
If you or a loved one suffers a crisis situation and is a danger to themselves or others, call 911. If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
For more information on NAMI Hernando call 352-684-0004 or go to https://flnamihernando.org/.
Read about Vincent Academy: https://www.hernandosun.com/vincent_academy_20170303.
Coming up: Lip Sync Battle fundraiser on June 9- Commissioner John Allocco is one of the judges. He says he will be kind and he’ll also be in costume. Opportunity to raise funds for NAMI Hernando and Vincent Academy.
2018 Lip Sync Battle – We Love the 80’s!
SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 2018
COCKTAILS: 5:00 P.M. | DINNER: 6:00 P.M. | SHOWTIME: 7:00 P.M.
HELD AT THE: HERITAGE PINES CLUBHOUSE
11524 Scenic Hills Boulevard | Hudson, Florida 34667