Reflecting on the Past Year with NAMI Washtenaw’s Executive Director
By Jadan Shorts, NAMI Washtenaw reporter
NAMI’s Washtenaw County executive director Judy Gardner-Harvey has been a part of this community for about ten years now. Recently, I got the chance to speak with her and reflect on how NAMI has grown in 2021, and how we can improve in 2022.
Judy believes that 2021 may have been more challenging than 2020 because nobody knew that this pandemic would last even a few months, let alone two years. Judy shared some things she believes went well in 2021, including growing our programs, and remaining a place for support groups and hosting events and programs.
When asked what her favorite part of working with NAMI is, Judy replied: “I am amazed with the resiliency of our staff and volunteers and I love meeting the new volunteers and watching the gifts, skills, and brilliance they bring to our community.” When asked how NAMI could improve, Judy described ideas such as increased outreach, reaching more communities of color, and being more creative with how we fight the stigma around mental health.
She said, “People need our services and need to know who we are.” I know that she is committed to this organization and helping it grow.
My final question for Judy was about what she is most excited to see from NAMI Washtenaw in 2022. Judy shared that she’s looking forward to opportunities to be more creative, being more active on social media, paying attention to our own self care, and, finally, watching our organization continue to grow as we welcome more newcomers.
I am so excited to see what we will achieve in 2022 and we are thankful for all Judy does for NAMI Washtenaw County. NAMI Washtenaw is ready for 2022.
Jadan Shorts is a new volunteer at NAMI and recent graduate of EMU. She loves to write and make herself available to new opportunities. She intially became interested in Mental Health awareness from watching her mom Carmen Hall who is a personal growth coach residing in Cleveland, OH and growing up watching her parents care and learn more about her brother Jordan who is autistic. Jadan is excited to stop the stigma that’s connected to Mental Health.