The local NAMI chapter — currently the only in southern Iowa — is eyeing an expansion to serve other counties in the immediate region. To facilitate that, they are searching for a full-time, paid volunteer funded through a recent grant.
The position would be based at the Wellness Center in Centerville, undergo training and ultimately help grow NAMI's operation in Appanoose County further while also planting seeds for growth in other area counties. As part of that, one function of the full-time employee being sought would be to write a grant to help fund a half-time permanent position for the expanded effort in the future.
Americorps' VISTA grant program is funding the position, which provides an annual allowance of about $35 a day. The position would be for one year, and at the close of that year the individual chosen can either receive a lump stipend of $1,800 or about $6,000 to apply toward their education or student loans.
The requirements? Be 18 years old or older, a good leader and organized. Each individual will be evaluated separately.
"We need someone to come in with computer and leadership skills, who can organize us and train more volunteers," NAMI president Dewey McConville said. "Everything about NAMI is peer-support and family-peer-support. We're all in this together."
There are 20 paid members that support the local NAMI chapter, and about a 10-member board.
"Oskaloosa and Ottumwa, we get calls from both of those places," said McConville. "But we just can't do it, we're volunteers."
So the discussion begins with South Central Behavioral Health Region, the taxpayer-funded mental health region of Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Mahaska counties. The region provided $5,000 toward the VISTA grant to start.
Kyle Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.