This Saturday, May 3rd NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness will be conducting its 2014 Greater Philadelphia NAMI Walk. The walk is to raise awareness of mental illness and end the stigma and fear associated with it. NAMI raises funds through the walk and then uses these funds to educate, empower and provide resources to those affected by mental illness. Those affected are not just the person with the mental illness but also the families and loved ones of those that have it. Given that 1 in 4 adults suffers from a mental illness it is a phenomenon that affects countless families. If you would like more information about NAMI or the walk please visit their page here.
Hopeworx is a non-profit organization which seeks to empower people with mental illness and aid them in their path to recovery. As such, the NAMI Walk is very important to Hopeworx. Hopeworx will be prevalent at the walk. Come find us and walk with us. We will be the ones with the t-shirts with a big “Hopeworx” in the front with our logo. Hope to see you there!!
Much to the dismay of Hopeworx and volunteers all across the Philadelphia area, RHD is scaling down its Equal Dollars program. RHD is no longer taking in new members and if you have Equal Dollars they can only be used at the RHD Produce Market on Mondays on Wissahickon Avenue in Philly and at their Meat Market every third Friday of the month until June 30th 2014.
The program will be sorely missed as it had amassed over 5,000 members and 25 businesses. The way the system worked was the following: If you volunteered at an Equal Dollars sponsored event, you would receive Equal Dollars that you can then use in the RHD market and in different businesses around the Philadelphia area. Equal Dollars are a non-interest bearing currency and community currencies can be vital in providing services and goods to people who don’t have enough U.S. Dollars.
We at Hopeworx fully embraced the concept of Equal Dollars and set up a Hopemarket based on the currency. Our Hopemarket is a goods-trading and bartering shop and volunteers at the market can buy donated goods using their volunteer-earned Equal Dollars. Though we are sad to see the program go at RHD, we will try to continue the legacy. For those who still believe in the Equal Dollars vision, the HopeMarket is a great place to do continue the endeavour. Unfortunately your Equal Dollars from RHD will be no good because our accounts have since been disjointed. But if you volunteer at our market you can earn Equal Dollars and purchase goods at the market. The market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 12-3pm and on Saturdays from 1-4pm. We are located on 1210 Stanbridge St Suite 600 in Norristown PA 19401. Interested volunteers are welcome to visit us at these times and meet our vibrant community.
If you have never heard of the Equal Dollar community currency, here is a brief excerpt from the Equal Dollars site, www.equaldollars.org:
“Founded by Resources for Human Development in 1995, Equal Dollars Community Currency is a non interest bearing local currency system that empowers and enriches communities by giving value to unused assets that are undervalued or no longer have value in the national US Dollar economy.”
On March 17th and 18th HopeWorx Inc. sponsored one of the premier trainings “Mental Health First Aid”. Our instructors were Tory Bright and Mary Gregorio. Both were excellent! We were introduced to potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems. We gained an understanding of how widespread mental health disorders are in the United States, as well as worldwide. A 5 step action plan was taught including skills and resources to assess, intervene, and assist a person in crisis. There is a koala bear by the name is ALGEE. His acronyms are our 5 step action plan. Participants were made aware of available resources and appropriate professional, peer, social, and self- help resources that are available.
The training is full of practical experiences! The trainers also included participants appropriately sharing their personal or work related experiences during the training. I have mental health issues, but I do not hear voices. There was an exercise that introduced me to that experience. I obtained a new understanding of that disorder. Other agencies under the mental health umbrella were present. We were able to network afterwards.
On Tuesday March 4th, Starting Point collaborated with Hopeworx for an “Inspirational Day of Art and Painting”. The event was hosted at Hopeworx in Norristown. It was the first collaboration between Starting Point and Hopeworx from which both groups hope a lasting, fulfilling and enriching partnership can grow.
There were many different types of materials available from watercolor brushes to markers to crayons. There also many different sizes and types of canvas’. The atmosphere was very laid back and connections were made by the attendees which also included the Hope Market branch of Hopeworx. People enjoyed themselves, rolled their sleeves up and created their masterpieces. The pieces ranged from still paintings to collages, to abstract art and inspirational designs. All in all the event accomplished what it set out to do which was to inspire participants through art and social endeavor. You can see some of the art created below. If you would like to find out more information about Starting Point, you can download the brochure here.