By Cassie-Briana Marceau
If you were on campus on Sunday, Sept. 24, you would have noticed a lot of people running around. It was the 15th Annual NAMI Maine Walk that was going on at the lighthouse and around campus. Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) is a class that is part of a FIG class. They had the opportunity to choose an organization to give a $1,000 check to for their Jumpstart Our Youth project, and they chose NAMI. Jumpstart Our Youth — JOY — is a statewide youth philanthropy program that lets more than 3,000 Maine students annually make grants in their local communities.
NAMI is an organization that provides social/emotional support for people who have been affected by mental illness; educates and provides resources for and about mental illness; and also raises public awareness about it. It was formed in 1977 when two mothers, each with a son with a mental illness, met to talk about their experiences and challenges. At a second meeting, the women decided to assemble people with similar concerns. From then on, the meetings kept getting larger and larger, until they went from local to nationwide.
The walk’s purpose was to raise money for NAMI and awareness for mental illnesses and suicide. All the money raised stays in Maine to provide education and support. There were about a few hundred people participating in the walk, and it had a lot of different activities, such as face painting, balloon twisting, art, a kickboxing warm-up, and music. So far NAMI has raised more than $80,000 this year, with $100,000 being its overall goal.