My name is Kimme Carlos . I grew up in Los Angeles and at the age of 12 I lost my mother to suicide. This traumatic event propelled me into more than 20 years of addiction, depression and anxiety disorder. In 2014 I founded the Urban Mental Health Alliance (UMHA) with five dedicated individuals committed to bringing addiction and mental health information, tools and resources to our most vulnerable populations; our individuals and families in urban communities. Common stressors in urban communities include broken family structures, drug and gang warfare, homelessness, nutritional deficiencies, severe poverty, sub-par housing and rampant un-employment and under-employment. These adverse conditions are burdensome both mentally and physically and result more often than not in serious mental health challenges; most commonly addiction, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Given these factors, the need for addiction and mental health awareness and recovery knowledge in our urban communities is crucial and self-evident.
Today UMHA is a formal NJ nonprofit with a 13-person Board of Directors. Our mission is to empower individuals and families in urban communities with addiction and mental health awareness and recovery knowledge through advocacy, education, hope and community support. We strive to meet this mission by providing workshops, support groups, resource materials and an annual conference, all free of charge.
We do not charge a penny for any of the services and programs we provide. Which is why we need your financial support. Since 2014 UMHA has established a signature workshop series, Healthy Minds Matter , launched an Annual Conference, Free Your Mind , (click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page to see photos) and has provided more than three dozen workshops, presentations and awareness events across Trenton and Mercer County, NJ. But we need your support to establish an even greater presence. As we continue to grow and bring addiction and mental health awareness to our inner city populations your financial contribution will help UMHA do three very important things:
Obtain our 501c3 Tax Status ($850): We have diligently worked to complete our 501c3 application and greatly need your assistance in raising the necessary application fee. Obtaining our Federal nonprofit tax status will allow for greater grant funding to support our growing programs and continued operating costs.
Print Participant Resource Materials ($1,650): Your support will assist us in the printing and distribution of outreach and program participant materials, including a beautifully crafted marketing brochure/postcard set created for UMHA by the Conceptual Image graphic design class at The College of New Jersey.
Upgrade the UMHA Website ($2,500): One night, with absolutely no experience in web design, I took it upon myself to create the UMHA website. We were applying for a small grant to fund the launch of our first workshop and we needed a place for participants to learn more and register online. As we continue to grow, we envision a much more interactive website which will allow for videos, webinars and a fully engaging resource database with local, state and regional addiction and mental health agency contact information and downloadable reading materials.
Addiction and mental health awareness is my passion and I am extremely proud of all that we do at the Urban Mental Health Alliance to serve our communities. We would like to file for our 501c3 status on or before June 30 and would like to begin distributing new outreach and program materials in conjunction with a newly launched website by late summer 2016.
Now more than ever we need your help. Your financial contribution would greatly help in our tireless efforts to bring awareness, education and self-advocacy tools and resources to those who don't have a voice in our urban communities.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you in advance for your generous donation, and look forward to UMHA's continued growth and success.
With all kindness,
- Michelle Pearcy
- LUCIA SMITH
- Ruha Benjamin
- Kim Dorman
- Bonni Rucker