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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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NAMI California leader will speak at Yolo dinner

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From page A5 | February 18, 2014 |

NAMI-Yolo, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will host its flagship event of the year — the Pat Williams Mental Health Dinner — from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St. in Davis.

The event is named in honor of the late Pat Williams, the founder of NAMI-Yolo. She and her late husband Bill Williams were mental-health pioneers, advocates and founders of innovative state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities and residences for people with psychiatric disorders. Pat established the first Mental Health Dinner in 1979 as part of “Affective Disorder Day.” After she died in 2010, the dinner was renamed in her honor.

The keynote speaker is Jessica Cruz, executive director of NAMI California, speaking on “NAMI California: Leading the Way — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Cruz became executive director four years ago, and since then has tripled the budget and staff of the organization. She has increased NAMI’s visibility and clout at the state Capitol and throughout California.

As a family member of a person living with a serious mental illness, Cruz is able to share her story and bring her passion for change to all that she does, according to a news release.

During the presentation, Cruz and Steven Kite, NAMI California’s deputy director, will share how the organization came about, why it stands on the shoulders of giants, where it ise going and how it is going to get there. Serving in his current capacity for more than two years, Kite has brought his experience as an expert in program development, prevention and early intervention detection and organizational leadership to the agency.

Tickets are available by sending a check to NAMI-Yolo, P.O. Box 447, Davis, CA 95617, or by calling 530-756-8181. Tickets are $40 for the general public ($35 before Feb. 21), $10 for students and $3 for mental-health clients. Ticket sponsorships of mental health clients are $25.

The Buckhorn Steakhouse in Winters will cater the event. Note that the Senior Center is a new location for 2014. Visit the NAMI-Yolo website, www.namiyolo.org, for information.

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