Who better to talk about mental illness and homelessness than those who have lived it themselves?


Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


6600 York RoadSuite 204Baltimore, MD 21212


Volunteers are needed to serve as In Our Own Voice (IOOV) Presenters to share their stories of living with a mental illness to decrease stigma and increase awareness. We are specifically seeking individuals who have experienced homelessness in the past. Storytelling is an integral tool for NAMI’s outreach and education efforts; as well as an empowering tool for individuals living with mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. IOOV began as part of a movement within NAMI to further involve individuals in peer education about mental illness. The program is recognized for its potential to reduce stigma and educate the public about mental illness.

When individuals with mental illness lead these presentations mental health providers and community members begin to understand that these illnesses are biologically based brain disorders that disrupt many lives. The opportunity to tell personal experiences is built into the scripted workshops. What an excellent way to advocate for yourself and others, as well as decrease stigma!

General Presentations are given to consumers, family and friends, health care providers, law enforcement officials, faith communities, students, and any other community or civic organization that is interested in learning more about mental illnesses and recovery. IOOV presentations are also conducted at University of Maryland Medical Systems (UMMS) institutions every Saturday. The presentation is typically 90 minutes and the format includes viewing a NAMI video about mental illness, personal testimony from 2 IOOV volunteers, and time for questions from the audience. Presenters receive a $30 stipend for their service.

Role Requirements:
▪ Adult with mental illness who is living well in recovery.
▪ Comfortable presenting to an audience, or willingness to learn public speaking skills.
▪ Complete a 2-day training program provided by NAMI. Available weekends only.
▪ Volunteers are encouraged to commit to presenting 3 times per year; however, the number of presentations a volunteer completes will be dependent on their availability and demands of the program.

Volunteer Responsibilities:
▪ Work cooperatively with a co-presenter to conduct the presentation which includes speaking about the topics of dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, and successes, hopes, and dreams.
▪ Volunteers are responsible for gathering materials needed for the event from the NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore office. Excess materials should be returned after the event.
▪ Volunteers are required to complete a Reporting Form and collect Evaluations from audience members. These items must be returned to the Outreach Coordinator within 1-week of the presentation.
▪ Volunteers are contacted on an as-needed basis to present. Volunteers are responsible for ensuring the Outreach Coordinator has accurate information regarding their availability.


  • Public Speaking
  • Mental Health
  • People Skills
  • Community Outreach

Good Match For

People 55+

Requirements & Commitment

  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • 3 presentations annually (90 min each)
  • ▪ Adult with mental illness who is living well in recovery.▪ Complete a 2-day training program
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