Lead, Field Resource Development
At the insistence of his son, Wayne Baldaro and his wife attended their first NAMI Family Share and Care Group in 1999. They knew instantly that was where they were supposed to be, because they learned empathy and compassion for their son and his condition. Soon after, they became volunteers, NAMI Family-to-Family Graduates, board members and in 2008, Wayne was recruited to run the NAMIWalks Los Angeles County event.
He stayed in that position for five years, and in 2012, he proudly joined the national staff. During his time as both a volunteer and staff member, Wayne has had the privilege to speak up about the need to improve mental health services in our country.
What do you wish more people knew about NAMI?
NAMI has changed how the public views mental health conditions. We have seen the thick wall around stigma reduce; we have seen legislation that brings parity to the health system. Many people who would be marginalized, misunderstood and mistreated have been able to come forward and speak openly and frankly about mental health and their conditions.
Who inspires you?
I have always been inspired by those who fight to improve the lives of others. My son lost his battle with addiction and mental illness. He continues to inspire me every day to help others and tell them to never give up hope.