NAMI Wilmington’s Annual Meeting of the Membership is being held on May 24, 2022, where an election of new board members will take place. Please review the biographies of the board member nominees below.
Alabama Stone is many things. A poet, an artist, storyteller for social justice, a mental health professional, a peer, and a young person living with a mental illness. Alabama is a Wilmington native, born and raised in Masonboro, but has lived throughout the state, working with communities experiencing houselessness, mental health and substance use challenges, and runaway youth. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from North Carolina State University, where she founded a mobile poetry workshop for runaway youth. She currently works as a mental health professional and Peer Specialist in NC. She works within the state as a peer worker and peer consultant for First Episode Psychosis programs that serve young people ages 15-30 living with schizophrenia. She also serves as a Digital Peer Navigator and consultant where she is involved in research conducted in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill. Alabama is passionate about art, community inclusion, social justice, and de-stigmatizing mental illness. Alabama is a trained NAMI In Our Own Voice facilitator and strives to make NAMI Wilmington more accessible to young people and to underserved communities.
Douglas J. Engelman, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
I am in my second year here at UNCW. In August of 2020 I earned my PhD in Sociology at the University of South Florida. In 2009 I had returned to school after a long and relatively productive career in marketing.
In 1991, my son, Douglas Engelman Jr. was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The diagnosis set in motion a chain of events that would culminate in the redirection of my life’s work. I spent the following 8 years as, at various times, his caregiver, his closest friend, his mentor, and his life coach. In 1998, after having reconstituted his life in ways that are still awe inspiring to me, Doug died in an auto accident that was completely unrelated to his disease.
I spent the following 10 years trying to make sense of my experiences and turned my focus toward helping individuals and their families navigate life post diagnosis of serious mental illness. In 2000 my wife and I volunteered for our local NAMI chapter, NAMI DuPage in northern Illinois. We worked in a local homeless shelter making meals for residents. We also prepared meals for a local drop-in center and hosted the NAMI sponsored Christmas Party.
In 2009 I returned to school with the idea of writing the story of my experience with Doug. Through that matriculation I was encouraged to seek an advanced degree and study the social response to diagnoses of mental illness. I have published several journal articles and book chapters on topics related to mental illness and disability. In 2021 I published my first book, an account of my life with Doug, entitled A Boy Broken: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Mental Illness, Loss, and a Search For Meaning.
I joined NAMI Wilmington in September of 2021, and immediately applied for a board position. I hope to serve in several ways; as the faculty advisor to UNCW’s NAMI on Campus chapter, I hope to help develop a strong relationship between the university and our organization. I have been named Lead for our Ending the Silence team and look forward to numerous presentations in the future. I am working with our President to help develop other programs that will strengthen our position in the community.
Robert Taglin holds an MBA from New York University. He worked as a Financial Services Industry professional for 30 years, with expertise in marketing and partnership negotiation for Fortune 500 companies. He previously volunteered with Samuel Y and Club Pride in New York, where he helped facilitate music groups for Alzheimer’s patients as well as self-help groups for seniors with mental illness and medical issues. Robert is currently undergoing training to be a support group facilitator with NAMI Wilmington.
Virginia Goldrick is a person in recovery who has been working on herself all her life. She has a B.A. in English Literature, a Master’s and a PhD in Psychology; and is a CRSS (Certified Recovery Support Specialist) in Illinois. She now lives in Wilmington, NC, and hopes to complete training as a Peer Specialist soon. She is a trained IOOV (In Our Own Voice) Presenter and is a certified WRAP (Wellness & Recovery Action Plan) Facilitator as well. She serves as co-facilitator for NAMI Connections and for Family Support Group. She would like to see more peers actively involved in mental health research, as participants, evaluators, presenters and planners.