February 9, 1986 – April 21, 2015
Melissa’s generous heart lead her to adopt NAMI Orange County as her second family. Melissa treated staff and all the volunteers with whom she worked with as brothers and sisters. She accepted Board members as parental and maternal figures, but often had much to teach us about courage, resilience and love. She was a role model for recovery and taught many of the NAMI signature programs: Family to Family, Peer to Peer, Provider Education, In Our Own Voice and Ending the Silence. Her love, her compassion, her authenticity and her courage made her an eloquent and effective speaker wherever she went… and she went everywhere and did everything she could to promote NAMI Orange County. She is our hero and we will miss her terribly.
Having struggled so effectively to live a life in recovery from mental illness it is surreal that a medical condition of blood clots could take her from us at such a young age. We wish to remember Melissa by the interests she cherished. While devoted to all NAMI signature programs, Melissa was most fond of promoting NAMI programs for youth. She traveled to Utah to become a teacher for “Progression” a NAMI program for adolescents experiencing mental illness, a companion program to “Basics” a program for parents of children with mental illness. She had just scheduled a location and date for the first Progression class when she passed.
We are grateful for the blessings that Melissa shared with us and look forward to continuing her spirit and good works. If you would like to make a donation to NAMI Orange County in her name, those funds will be restricted to pay to programs to support youth: Progression, Basics and Ending the Silence. Please join us in honoring a life well lived. Thank you Melissa… you will always be in our hearts.
Donate to the memorial fund
NAMI Orange County
1810 E. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
12-Class course for family members who have an adult relative living with mental illness. Upcoming classes will begin as follows:
|Laguna Beach||Thursday Evenings||March 26||English|
|Lake Forest||Saturday mornings||April 11||English|
|Click Here for online application|
We are now enrolling for our Family to Family Classes in SPANISH (Español), VIETNAMESE (VIET) and KOREAN
NAMI Family-to-Family is an educational course for family,caregivers and friends of
individuals living with mental illness. Perhaps most importantly, as a participant you
can gain comfort in knowing you are not alone. Recovery is a journey and there is hope
for all families and individuals dealing with a mental illness. The in-person group
experience of NAMI Family-to-Family provides the opportunity for mutual support and
positive impact. You can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who relate
to your experiences. Through your participation, you have the opportunity to help others
grow! Come and join us.
Next Familiy to Familiy (in all languages) and Mano a Mano (Spanish) classes are set for Summer 2015. We are accepting Applications Now!
Contact Multicultural Program Coordinator TO APPLY:
714-544-8488 ext 110
"Ending the Silence" is a high school education program that educates Freshman about the symptoms and behaviors of the major mental illnesses.
We are currently recruiting candidates to present the PowerPoint of the symptoms and behaviors of the major mental illnesses and clients to share their stories of hope & recovery in living with a psychiatric diagnoses.
Please contact Kristen Pankratz to apply and interview.
Trained speakers earn $30 for each presentation they conduct.