June 11, 2014

From June 6-8, 2014, NAMI hosted its annual National Training of Trainers event in Arlington, Va. Throughout the weekend, the energy and excitement in the air was tangible. Over 160 trainees arrived in the nation’s capital to become a state trainer in one of six NAMI Education’s signature programs. New this year was a dual training offered for trainees wanting to be trained in both NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies and NAMI Ending the Silence.

The trainees from NAMI Georgia share what NAMI programs have done for them
with Colleen Duewel, NAMI National Director of Education (far left).

NAMI Education’s Training of Trainers event is an annual training, which allows experienced NAMI program leaders the opportunity to become a state trainer. Once certified, state trainers go back to their states and help expand the NAMI education programs by training more teachers, presenters, and support group facilitators.

The theme of the weekend was “Because of NAMI Programs.” Trainees completed an artistic collage of messages to complete the sentence “Because of NAMI programs. Here is what some people wrote:

  • “Because of NAMI programs, I can change the world.”
  • “Because of NAMI programs, I found hope and understanding.”
  • “Because of NAMI programs, I am healthy and can help others.”
  • “Because of NAMI programs, I am going back to school in the fall.”
  • “Because of NAMI programs, my grandchildren have the care they need.”
  • “Because of NAMI programs, I found my son again.”

All through the weekend, trainees learned and practiced the techniques necessary to be successful state trainers.

Those that attended the weekend came into the trainings with excitement and hope. Most of the trainees have taught and participated in multiple NAMI programs. They volunteer their time and passion to NAMI and to the education programs.

While the Training of Trainers event can be a lot to digest, the trainees leave with the confidence to pass their knowledge and skills on. The mixture of trainees is amazing – some have taught multiple classes or have been facilitators for years, while others may still be fairly new to NAMI having only taught one class or given a few presentations. But the heart is there. Program leaders are the heart of NAMI programs. As long as the heart beats, the education programs will continue to grow. There couldn’t be a group of finer people.

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