Saipan Tribune - Letters to the Editor

The Saipan Tribune has posted a letter I sent to its editor, titled Looking for some "real helping hands." The letter gives some background information on how CAMI-CNMI started and what its basic goal is.

I started CAMI-CNMI with the help of Kaye Christian and my wife, Miwa, because of the need to eliminate erroneous beliefs and fears about mental illness in the world, especially here in the Northern Mariana Islands. As founder of CAMI-CNMI: Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in the CNMI (a mental health awareness group), my desire and hope is that together, as we get volunteers in the community involved in the lives of our mental health consumers and join together in shared activities that we will wipe out these terrible stigmas of mental illness here on our islands.

One thing which I forgot to explain in the letter was the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse is a part of the Community Guidance Center (CGC). It's actually an extension of the Transition Living Center (TLC), their day program. Basically the Clubhouse is a place where mentally ill consumers (both in-patient & out-patient) can come and hangout and do activities with the idea of training them for transitional employment, where they work in the community at real jobs.

It is important to mention that the Clubhouse is just one part of CAMI-CNMI and it's where we're going to focus our volunteer efforts until the group becomes strong enough to branch out to other activities. CAMI-CNMI gathers community volunteers to do activities with Clubhouse members. However, our aim is to have our volunteers share in activities and events with ALL consumers of mental health and/or those with mental illness here on Saipan, even those who are not part of the Clubhouse.

You see the beauty of CAMI-CNMI is that we are not tied to any group because we are consumer-driven (as Kaye would say). In that sense, we answer to the needs of the consumers and members, not any agency or organization. Thus, we maintain a more politically-neutral stance and (try) not to get caught up in the bureaucratic mess.

Right now the goal of CAMI-CNMI is simple: to get community volunteers to do activities and projects with mental health consumers of the Clubhouse.

Posted bySteve Nguyen at 1/26/2007 01:00:00 AM  

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