downtown Austin

Karen Ranus—National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 in Blog

Reported by Phil Thoden

President Sara Pantin called the Rotary Club of Austin (RCA) meeting to order. Jon Yates led the pledges and Rich Fikani gave the invocation of the day. Bogdan Bikish led us in saying The Four Way Test. Manny Cavazos served as greeter and Carl Noble introduced the guests and visitors.

New member Jeff Fazio (sponsored by Adrian Moore) came forward to be introduced to the Club, and Lillian Aaron came up to be presented with her Blue Badge. Congratulations Jeff and Lillian!















Jon Yates returned up front to rem ind everyone about the Books for Me! volunteer opportunity at Pecan Springs Elementary the week of May 11-17th. This is a wonderful chance to help a child pick a new book to take home! Please let Jon know if you’d like to volunteer.

Mark Johnson provided a Membership Minute and noted that he joined the Club in 2002. He emphasized the importance of encouraging new members to join, as we need to sustain and grow the important contribution the Rotary Club of Austin makes in our community.

Tillery Castillo gave one last announcem ent about the Spring Fiesta/Mem bership Event coming up this Saturday, April 21, at Austin City Realty located at 2501 N. Lamar from 3pm to 6pm. Bring friends, family and prospective members along with your favorite beverage!

Mary Reynolds reminded us about the Pecan Springs Elem entary School’s Career Day coming up on May 24th. Please contact her if you’d like to speak with the students about your job.

President Sara made the following announcements:

  • The next MasterMind meeting will be held on the 19th at Mimi’s in the Arbor Walk starting at 7am
  • Please volunteer as a Rotary Reporter! It’s easy to do and counts as a Make Up meeting. Let Jackie Sinex or Jennifer know if you’d be willing to help out!
  • The Executive Committee meets at 1:30 today
  • Diane Ventresca and her husband Zach will host the next W ine Tasting social on May 11. Save the date!

Rich Fikani filled in for Ann Graham and came forward to host the Thank Goodness Basket. David Palmer won the drawing for a Paul Harris Fellow as the Basket total again reached the $1,000 level. Congratulations David! Michele Heyman was thankful that her son started a job after graduation, and that tax season is over. Richard Payton expressed gratitude that his daughter has a paid internship this summer. Brad Wiewel was thankful his son is returning from Shanghai.















After a few minutes of fellowship, Lillian Aaron introduced our speaker of the week, Karen Ranus, who serves as the Executive Director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliate here in Austin. Karen has been featured as a guest columnist on mental health issues in the Austin American Statesman, Austin MD Magazine and The Daily Texan. She is a frequent speaker in the community on mental health topics and recently developed and launched a faith-based mental health training program. She is passionate about changing the way our community addresses mental health and shared her family’s personal story to help diminish the shame often associated with mental illness.

She emphasized that mental health issues are very complex and challenging to identify and treat. Further, those suffering with mental illness, or helping a loved one who is struggling, often feel isolated and alone. This experience stands in contrast to the outpouring of support people may receive when suffering a physical ailment.

To help, NAMI offers peer led classes and support groups at no charge. Karen discovered NAMI while helping her daughter deal with mental illness, and she credits the organization for helping lift the veil of guilt and shame that surrounds those struggling with mental problems. She also provided helpful handouts with information about how to recognize and find treatment for anyone suffering mental illness.

President Sara recognized our advertisers, Rick Ravel with Karavel Shoes and Bill Koen with Joe Koen and Son Jewelers. Thank you Rick and Bill! She then shared a weekly Pearl of Wisdom and adjourned the meeting.

Next week’s program features Judge David Glickler from Veterans Court.

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