To recognize May as Mental Health Month, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is running an awareness campaign. The Green Ribbon Campaign piloted in 2013, in New York, as an anti-stigma initiative designed to facilitate open and honest dialogue about the topic of mental health in our communities. NAMI | Waukesha has many resources and events for those struggling with mental illness and those who wish to know more and support friends and family with mental illness. It is a nonprofit organization that provides free education, support, and advocacy to community members affected by mental health conditions.
WCT is partnering with NAMI | Waukesha by putting up green ribbons, and posting flyers about mental health for the month. We will also be running a series of articles on our blog about mental health and the arts, as well as using the hashtag #mentalhealthmatters in our social media posts. Stay tuned!
We are involved in this campaign as a way to be active in our community and to promote the well-being of all our community members. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental illness, work to erase the stigma associated with mental illness, and start conversations that could, ultimately, save lives.
October is almost here and, to me, that means just one thing— it’s time for Waukesha Reads! This year, Waukesha will be reading the great Western novel True Grit. Charles Portis wrote True Grit in 1968, forever giving readers the independent and sassy Mattie Ross and the one-eyed, surly U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn. If you have not already been introduced to this remarkable novel, then you are in for a treat!
It is the goal of Waukesha Reads to unite the community through great books. This program offers citizens the opportunity to read, discuss and explore the themes of a single book with other readers in the community. Through this program, some people will discover the joys of reading for the first time, while others will be reminded of the pleasures of a great book. Everyone will benefit from sharing the literary experience with their fellow community members.
Why read? Growing evidence illustrates that regular reading boosts the likelihood of academic and economic success, awakening a person’s social and civic responsibility. Reading for pleasure is associated with positive personal and social behaviors, both of which impact our community for the better. Simply put, books change people, they change lives and they make us better neighbors. This is why the Waukesha Reads partners feel passionately about reading and its promotion in the community. Reading is the gateway to lifelong learning, personal opportunities and success.
Waukesha Reads would not happen without the support of the community and our local partners. It is this cooperative nature that has made our program such a success over the past eleven years. Partners such as educational institutions, art centers, nonprofit organizations and other area businesses have all jumped at the chance to be a part of Waukesha Reads because they understand the value of promoting literacy in our community. By working together, we reach out to Waukesha’s diverse population, in a variety of traditional and nontraditional ways, to help encourage all citizens to participate. It is our goal that the Waukesha Reads program will bring people together, inspire reading, promote discussion and ultimately strengthen our community.
I hope that you will pick up a FREE copy of True Grit this year, and that you will make it a priority to participate in this citywide event. Whether this is your first Waukesha Reads, or your eleventh, you will undoubtedly find a program or a discussion that catches your eye. Perhaps it will be our (FREE!) keynote speaker, Mike Earp, at Waukesha Civic Theatre on November 2? Waukesha Public Library, and our Waukesha Reads partners, would love to see you there! Books and full event calendars are available at Waukesha Public Library. The calendar is also available online. Happy reading!
Head of Program Development & Community Engagement