CAMI-CNMI Meeting 3.28.2007

Here's a summary of last night's CAMI-CNMI Meeting (Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in the CNMI):

• The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Community Guidance Center to establish a maintain a Clubhouse is now over. This lasted about 1.5 years.

• The Clubhouse was given $12,000 USD to staff and operate for 25 hours a week. There were many generous people who donated materials. Most of this amount went to supplies, gas coupons, & consumer stipends.

• We will use $1942.50 to pay for George & his son Brandon to come here to Saipan to conduct mental illness training and peer support training. If you recall, George was the person in the video Inside-Outside, a story about mental health consumers who transitioned from being hospitalized/institutionalized back into the community. He was hospitalized 17 times and despite those obstacles, he manages his own consulting firm today.

• NMPASI will assist in paying for George's training fees and they will also sponsor a "kick-off dinner".

• Next week, Kaye, Maria, and Bernie will attend the Evidence-Based Practices in Hawaii. They will visit 4 Clubhouses to learn on ways to improve on Saipan's Clubhouse and make it bigger and better.

• The true idea of a "Clubhouse" is training peers (mental health consumers) to get jobs in the community.

• The former Saipan Clubhouse (now called Guma Dinana or "meeting place"), had several limitations, namely that it did not have a kitchen or a backyard in which to train consumers on life & job skills (such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc.)

• A new place has been identified in the community [Kaye has located a place and is calling it "My House"]. My House will serve the idea of a "Clubhouse" much better because it is a "house" in every sense of the word, with a gas stove, bedrooms, kitchen, and backyard. My House will serve as a peer support as well as job training for consumers to gain employment in the community.

• Eventually, CAMI-CNMI will be headquartered at "My House" once Kaye has had a chance to move in and get settled. Right now the place is still "full of boxes."

• We, however, can still use Guma Dinana as a meeting place. We just need to coordinate with Patrick to have access to it. Kaye will arrange for this.

• CGC (Community Guidance Center) is interested in creating another MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to operate Guma Dinana. The status of this is unclear.

• April 26-29th is the Flame Tree Festival and the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. CAMI-CNMI is planning on participating with its own booth at the Flame Tree to bring awareness about mental illness! We will be selling arts & crafts (like mar mars with Rita from First Floral Shop's help).

• Anyone with arts/crafts who want to display their talents and help raise money and awareness for CAMI-CNMI is encouraged to showcase their arts & crafts.

EXCITING NEWS: CAMI-CNMI is proud to announce that two of its own have been acknowledged and honored by the CNMI Council on Developmental Disabilities (DD Council) as advocates for mental health/mental illness. The DD Council recognized:

(1) Rita Cruz, owner of The First Floral Shop (in Garapan) as Business Advocate of the Year!
(2) Kaye Christian, CAMI-CNMI's former President (and now Treasurer of CAMI-CNMI) as Advocate of the Year!

There will be a celebration picnic this Sat. March 31st, 10am-2pm at the pavillion in Kilili Beach (across from Ada Gym) to honor these advocates. CAMI-CNMI invites and encourages all to come out to lend their support and thanks to these and other advocates for mental health and developmental disabilities.

• Finally, we voted for CAMI-CNMI Officers:

President - Maria Islam
Vice-President - Jeanne Rayphand
Treasurer - Kaye Christian
Secretary - Steve Nguyen

• In the upcoming weeks & months, we will partner up and ask for support from the Rotary Club of Saipan and the Chamber of Commerce (thanks to Angel & Bernie for these great ideas)!

• Thanks to Rhonda Camacho (SVES Teacher & F-Crew member) & Bev Cabanatan (Dental Hygienist) for coming up with fun and simple activities to do. We are looking at planning for a either a Mini-Carnival, a Picnic, Bowling, and/or Karaoke in the next few weeks. Please expect more info from me.

• Please think about ways to be creative in our fundraising because we will need to raise money to help keep CAMI-CNMI going and to wipe out the stigmas of mental illness here on our islands.

• Remember CAMI-CNMI's goals are twofold: (1) getting the business community to recognize the abilities of the mental health consumers and partnering with us to provide these consumers with jobs, and (2) getting community members to join in simple & fun activities with the mental health consumers.

Steve Nguyen, MA, BCSCR
Behavior Specialist, PSS Special Education
Board Certified in School Crisis Response™
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor

Posted byAnonymous at 3/29/2007 11:20:00 AM 0 comments  

CAMI's Status

I want to update all of our loyal CAMI-CNMI friends and supporters on our current status. Due to a few logistical reasons, our volunteering activities have stopped since the painting activity one month ago.

We're not short on volunteers as there are plenty of people willing and able to help out.

CAMI-CNMI is still about doing simple and fun things. We are still about coordinating volunteer efforts to share in fun activities with the mental health consumers. This will not change.

I am still very much interested in getting the mental health consumers out and for the community to share in fun activities with them. However, we will need to think creatively in terms of (1) what (2) where (3) how. Here are a two ideas:

1) Have a picnic: It doesn't have to be big, we could meet at the park and it'd be pot-luck with everyone bringing a little something.

2) Karaoke: We still have our crazy and lovable F-crew from San Vicente Elementary who loves to sing. We just need the karaoke machine, 1 or 2 small speakers, a place to plug those things in, a pavillion (outdoor) or someone's big house, and people.

What other fun things can we do? Please let me know your ideas. Thanks again for your support and understanding. We live in challenging times, but we don't have to let those things dictate our willingness to help others. Have a nice day.

Steve Nguyen, MA, CASA
Behavior Specialist, PSS Special Education
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor
Member, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress®

Posted byAnonymous at 3/22/2007 10:50:00 AM 0 comments