The Sarah-Ann Center is part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The center provides services for the mentally ill such as a food pantry, clothes donation, chiropractor, and a wonderful place to be with like-minded people who are all coping with similar struggles.
The Sarah-Ann Drop-In Center and its members took a trip to the zoo on June 14. I wanted to go and invited my mom on this trip. We got to see cheetahs, lions, honey badgers, and all kinds of different creatures!
Most of us enjoyed feeding the giraffe and looking at its amazingly huge tongue. To be honest, the giraffe's tongue freaked me out, so I did not want to feed it.
Aside from seeing exotic animals and feeding giraffes, we enjoyed a boat ride. While I was on the boat ride with my friends, my mom was away exploring the zoo. The boat ride consisted of observing the habitat of different species of monkeys who enjoy life in their own islands! We learned about one type of monkey that is capable of peeling a banana with only its tail.
One of my friends was specifically excited about seeing the cheetah. Unfortunately, for him, it was sleeping.
It was such a positive experience.
Besides going on trips to the zoo, the park, and bowling, the Sarah-Ann Center has other activities for its members to enjoy as well. One of these activities includes a talent show. The members are free to share anything they are good at with their fellow peers. Some can rap. Some can juggle or sing. Others play guitar or piano.
Since the pandemic, the Sarah-Ann Center has been running on Zoom and it is still available; however, most members prefer to come in person.
Because of the pandemic, a lot of people's mental health has taken a toll.
The Sarah-Ann Center has given hope to many individuals. Humans are social creatures and being alone for too long cannot be good for our mental health.
Another hopeful activity provided at the Sarah-Ann Center is the speaker's series. It allows any individual member to speak and share his or her struggle. The speaker's series reminds members that they are not alone in the fight against mental illness.
Additionally, it reminds us that any one of us, at any given time, can face a traumatic experience. As it has been said, "if you end up in a hospital, you are a survivor; if you end up in jail, you have been rescued."
It is not your past that defines you. It is your future - and the Sarah-Ann Center reminds people of just that.