Chuck Eldridge has been a board member of NAMI Wilmington since 2016 and has been President of the organization since 2021. Check out the interview below for more information on Chuck’s involvement with NAMI, benefits of becoming a member, and how to volunteer with the organization!
Fairley Lloyd: How long have you been involved with NAMI?
Chuck Eldridge: I’ve been a part of NAMI for 23 years.
FL: Why did you join NAMI?
CE: My wife signed us up with household membership when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 22 years ago. We have been members of four affiliates in four different states. We attribute a great deal of my recovery and the wellbeing of our family to the education and support programs provided by NAMI during the early years of my diagnosis. Later on, I found that volunteering with NAMI and supporting other people’s recovery journeys is very rewarding and therapeutic.
FL: How do people become members?
CE: Check out our website namiwilmington.org for more information about our affiliate. To become a member, you can create an account at https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/Join-NAMI. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
FL: What are the benefits of becoming a member?
CE: NAMI Wilmington has four active support groups. Our monthly board meetings are open to the public and highlight relevant information and activities. All of our interactions revolve around a common goal of helping people live well with mental illness. Your membership matters because it helps support NAMI national, state, and local initiatives.
FL: How much does membership cost?
CE: Open door membership is $5 for individuals with limited financial resources, regular individual membership is $40, and household membership is $60 for all household members living at the same address.
FL: How do you want to see NAMI membership grow?
CE: We have grown from about 45 members for several years to 65 members in the past six months. We hope that having 75 members will yield 20 active volunteers. We would love to have more members utilizing our services, volunteering whenever possible, and staying in touch. Our membership plays an important role in advocating for the mental health of our community.
FL: What would you say to those interested in getting involved with NAMI Wilmington?
CE: You can check out the volunteer opportunities on our website. Our members have found so much joy in giving back, and we want to extend that joy to others. Please join us for the support, advocacy, education, and awareness of mental health!