Volunteer of the Month

The important work that NAMI does on national, state and local levels is made possible by teams of volunteers aspiring to make an impact in their communities. NAMI NJ acknowledges the creative work and tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers across the state. “Volunteer of the Month” can be nominated by affiliates and statewide programs. For more information, contact NAMI NJ office at (732) 940-0991.

July 2018

As one of the earliest members of NAMI Atlantic, Gail Dembin has devoted 25+ years of her life serving NAMI. Gail is currently the President of NAMI Atlantic/Cape May; she effortlessly manages the day-to-day business, and her commitment to supporting members is obvious in the way she makes sure the core programs run smoothly. Gail has been a NAMI Family-to-Family national certified trainer for over 20 years – along with Marilyn Goldstein, NAMI NJ’s Director of Family-to-Family Education Program, and they have just trained a new class of instructors in New Jersey this past weekend. As the affiliate’s education coordinator, Gail has been teaching and managing the NAMI Family-to-Family Education course and NAMI Basics course in her county. She has also been marketing the south Jersey In Our Own Voice program for many years and continues to coordinate the program in Atlantic/Cape May. As an ambassador for the cause, Gail represents NAMI in a consortium of agencies involved with the new Atlantic County Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to law enforcement and first responders. Gail’s hard work and volunteerism has inspired many NAMI volunteers across the state.


June 2018

Sam Hartman served as President of NAMI Middlesex for 3 years, from 2015-2018, during which Sam has demonstrated servant leadership, helping with big tasks and small: he provided thoughtful referrals to families reaching out, organized fundraisers, encouraged individuals in distress to seek treatment and avoid crisis, coordinated social groups, improved marketing materials, attended events to promote mental health, and advocated for stigma-free communities. Sam also worked hard on increasing the affiliate’s online presence with a new website, and improving the reach and responsiveness to community’s needs. Under his leadership, the affiliate continued the good work started two decades ago. Now they are ready to pursue re-affiliation with NAMI. Sam has recently moved to New York but decided to stay on the affiliate board.


May 2018

Pamela Eagan is an extraordinary person. She is a real life superhero to the many people who volunteer with her and most likely anyone who has the pleasure to know her. Pam’s actions usually embody the mission of NAMI to improve the lives of those affected by mental illness and she improves the lives of those volunteering with her because of her generous spirit in sharing her talents, skills and knowledge.

She is currently the treasurer of NAMI Union County. She has been a Board member since 2003. She has served as secretary and president and is the Editor/Developer of Union County Resource Guide (6 editions since 2004). Pam has single-handedly achieved NAMI re-affiliation and 501(c)(3) status for NAMI UC. She has produced a binder of supporting documents for the re affiliation and also a binder with info on membership retention and acquisition which she shares with NAMI Affiliates statewide. Pam has also consistently supported NAMI NJ’s statewide multicultural programs over the years.

Pam has strong opinions but always listens to others and considers their positions. She is generous, charming, smart, talented and loved by many!


April 2018

Mel reached out to NAMI NJ in hopes of securing volunteering opportunities. She found just that and so much more–she found an ecosystem comprised of individuals, families, and communities full of unwavering dedication, passion, and enthusiasm for mental health advocacy. Inspired by her experiences with NAMI NJ, Mel now serves as a board member in her community, NAMI Hunterdon. She was named as “Volunteer of the Year 2017” by NAMI NJ’s cultural outreach program, CAMHOP, for her selfless support to peers and caregivers. Hoping to continue to advocate for mental health and eradicate stigma, she will be pursuing a master’s degree and PhD this coming fall at Rutgers University. She looks forward to applying her graduate training to future volunteer efforts with NAMI NJ.