Real Stories - Mental Health Recovery in NY & Northern NJ
A letter from J. about attending the monthly Schmooze Group for the first time:
I have never been to groups my entire life. I have a renowned restlessness that has made it impossible for me to stay ten minutes in a group. I don't remember exactly what it was that initially motivated me to go to the Schmooze Group, but maybe it was just the name of it, which meant less structure and more relaxed. At first I started with trepidations, so I brought newspapers and a cell phone, expecting to stay out for most of the group and read and make calls. I did a little at first, but the topics in the group were so stimulating and useful that I was drawn in, and the time flew very pleasantly and quickly…. there was no time to be restless.
Alice wants to satisfy all those in her activities as much as she can, and motivate people to grow. I thank her for pushing me to this accomplishment of attending a group, which, for me and my history of group problems, is a milestone!
A letter from R. - A Friendship Network Trip to the Museum of the Moving Image:
It was a cold December day, but warmth was in abundance as the Friendship Network members headed to a fun-filled outing. Personally, I had never been to this particular institution and had been curious to visit. I was lucky to partner up with one member and we had so much to talk about, we spent the first half hour just talking together. Not only were the exhibits very educational for those with little knowledge of film and movies, it really provided a window into the movie-making process. So much nourishment for our minds really built up our appetites. We all headed over to George's restaurant for an authentic Greek meal. It was a great day!
M.'s Social Worker writes:
M.'s social worker wrote... "in order to share my deep appreciation of your organization. I am a psychotherapist in private practice, as well as the Clinical Director of an out-patient mental health clinic. I have been working with one particular client for several years. He is a single man, in his late 40's, who functions adequately at work but has been severely isolated all his life. During the course of psychotherapy, he began showing an increased capacity and interest in relationships but was not able to establish connections with people on his own.
After suggesting he contact Friendship Network, M.’s life slowly began to change dramatically. He now has friends and participates in activities with his friends from the Network. He is well liked by his friends, which has led to a greatly improved self-esteem and he is no longer lonely."
The Network is my lifeline. I remember when I first became ill & before I knew of your wonderful organization. I sat in my room without a single friend in the world. I never talked; I never went out. My life was bleak and empty.
I joined the Friendship Network, but expected nothing.....I couldn't believe a silly social program could make a difference. I was wrong.... Slowly, my life began to change. I became more courageous and began talking to others. I made new friends who had common problems, anxieties and fears which gave me added motivation and strength.
My life would not have changed without Friendship Network and I'm afraid my world might fall apart without the central focus that this group provides. I now have friends to talk to on the phone, go places with, have lunch with, shop together and hang with. We cheer for each other in success and comfort each other when we are not so successful."
Letters from family members:
“I am so grateful for FN’s existence and the very nice new friendships my sister has made in your network. Last winter it was the prospect of new friends which helped her to leave the hospital and resume a more connected, functional life. Thank you so much for your caring and your good work.”
“Thank you again for organizing such a hands-on, well-run and successful program. My brother continues to benefit from the activities & friendships he’s made through your program. This has been of crucial importance during this most difficult family time after losing our mother……Your tennis program has been a wonderful outlet for him.”
REPRINTS FROM NETWORK NEWS, FN MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
Thoughts from C. on the BBQ:
The BBQ was grand!!! A real humdinger!! I can't say "a good time was had by all" because I didn't interview each and every one of the many members who attended. But I saw a lot of happy smiling faces. And I certainly enjoyed myself! It was sort of a 3 ring circus in that there were many varied activities with hopefully something for everyone. There was music provided by several different members and some people sang along, while others appreciated the performance. Some people shot hoops...and of course R. showed his usual fine aim. A couple of we girls stood and chatted behind the basket, ready to chase any misses....but there weren’t many. Several people did some major walking around the track and enjoyed conversation. Others sat around the picnic tables and socialized and watched J's impressive magic show. The cooks did a great job of cooking, and the rest of us did pretty good jobs at eating. I look forward to next year’s event!
A Special Day at Eisenhower Park by L.:
After enjoying a delicious meal at Jani's Chinese Restaurant, we all headed over to Eisenhower Park, Field #5, to play miniature golf. It was a perfect day, sunny, in the 70's and a light breeze. J. hit some baseballs at the batting cage next to the golf range. There are two mini-golf courses at the park, both fun and challenging. C. did a great job of keeping score in our group. Half of us played Course One, and the other group played Course Two. Everyone participated, even Alice and Barbara, and we all had a good time.
I was feeling good being with the other members, enjoying the day and enjoying their company. Since joining Friendship Network, I'm less of a loner and more socially active with people. The best thing about Friendship Network is that it gets people together at social functions, to interact and enjoy each other's company and to enjoy life!!! Thanks for another great day.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Visit With Friendship Network By C.
On Halloween Day, Oct. 31, 2010, I had an opportunity with FN members to go to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City. It was a sunny day with some wind. My traveling companions were 3 friends from the program. We traveled by Express bus. Going into the city was quick; heading home was not.
At the Museum I walked around with G. and we enjoyed ourselves. As we walked through the exhibit, we couldn’t believe how real the figures were. …….There was a lady taking a picture of the group N’Sync. I was wondering for a while when she was going to take the picture. There were other visitors waiting around, until we realized she wasn’t real …. Boy was I laughing and smiling. We were all fooled!
I took pictures of G. standing next to Johnny Depp and Marilyn Monroe and she took pictures of me with Miley Cyrus, Elvis and Marilyn……When we were done, we walked to a restaurant, where the whole group met for an early dinner. I got to see and visit with all the other members of FN then. We said our hello’s and talked. I ordered a burger and I also ordered sweet potato fries. Yum Yum!!! I love these. Even though it’s not good for me, once in a while I indulge.
While we were in the city, we saw people in Halloween costumes. There was the Mad Hatter, and the mouse from Alice in Wonderland, along with a little boy dressed as a pumpkin. Later, I joined my traveling companions for the bus ride home. Boy, it was cold out…..I had a nice time in the city and with my friends. It was a great day!
LET’S PLAY BALL! By M.:
Hi, I just wanted to tell you about the terrific time that I had with my Friendship Network friends at Citi Field, the new Mets ballpark. The new ballpark was beautiful and spacious. It had many facilities from which we were able to obtain food and beverages. When we entered the field, the crowd was loud and excited to see the last game of the season.
While watching the game, an employee from Citi Field approached J., S. and me about posing with a gift bag on the big screen. It was exciting to be receiving the bag with all those prizes. You should have seen the excitement among our group when they saw our picture up on the big screen!
Most of all, we especially thank Friendship Network for their generosity, because without them we would not have won these wonderful prizes and gone to see a great game. I think everyone had a terrific day at the ballpark!
GO YANKEES! AN INSPIRING DAY AT YANKEE STADIUM! BY J.
Today was a most exciting day for all of us at the Yankees new stadium. I would have to say we all had a ball and enjoyed one another’s company very much. I would like to give a big thanks to Rosalie who participated a lot in getting our group together. She made everyone feel so welcomed during the wait, during the game and for being there to lend her support to all the members.
I saw a lot of new faces and sat with friends, even one I only knew from over the phone. I have to say the game was a blast. I know some members had their hearts set on the Yankees winning. However, when I looked around and saw new and old faces mingling with one another before and during the game, with smiles glowing on their faces, it made my day. Just to get out, which I need to do more often, was a good feeling. The Yankees played their best and that’s all anyone could possibly ask for. It was also exciting because I had never been to Yankee Stadium or even the old Stadium. I found it interesting and fun to be amongst others who shared a similar interest to me. I would like to go on more outings. I never thought I would have such a good time!
Thanks to Nancy and Alice for coordinating this event, they made everyone happy that day, there were no disappointments what’s so ever. Thank you all for sharing and participating in this happy event at Yankee Stadium with me.