~ Copy of Fernandina Beach Newsleader article, December, 2009 ~

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The Nassau County Alliance for the Mentally Ill brought their annual Christmas Shoe Party to the mentally ill residents at Dayspring Village on Dec. 16.

More than 94 residents attended the noon party that featured a live musical performance by the Crowns of Creation Ministry, also known as "crownsofcreation.com." The residents were treated to a pizza party, cupcakes and soft drinks. The annual shoe party is highlighted by the gift bags created by NAMI volunteers and ensures that each resident receives a new pair of shoes.
"For many of our residents, this is the only time in the year they get a new pair of shoes," said Douglas Adkins, executive director of Dayspring. "Shoes are essential to our health and wellness. A good pair of shoes will always create a spring in your step and are also good for the health of your feet.
For many with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses, they often find they have a need to walk to work off the restlessness that can come with symptoms or with the medications. As a result, shoes barely last a full year."

Adkins added, "These shoes are amazing in that they all have Velcro straps. The reason this is important is because when they are admitted to a hospital for stabilization of symptoms, the hospital always takes away shoe laces....The use of Velcro straps allows residents to have the full and proper functioning of their shoes even when they are ill."

This year, Dayspring was fortunate to have longtime NAMI advocate Hattie Morris join the party, said Adkins. "Hattie was with us at the beginning 23 years ago and has always been there as a champion for consumers and families afflicted with serious mental illness. It was a huge honor to have her make the trip."

Dayspring Village, Inc. is a licensed 94-bed limited mental health assisted living facility designed to serve the needs of adults with schizophrenia and schizo affective disorders. Schizophrenia is a result of an elevation of dopamine in the brain and leads to auditory hallucinations or voices that can be controlled with medications. To learn more go to www.day springvillage.org.

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