Occupational Therapist Shares Joy of Watching Lives Change

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February 6, 2013

Lila Nappi, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Maryland Medical Center, wrote a moving letter to her colleagues after the culmination of a project they had worked on for more than three years. Last November, 14 adults became the first graduating class of the Academy of Independent Living, a unique program developed by the Division of Community Psychiatry. To read more about the event, see the previous post, Life Lessons for Independent Living Within a Community.

Dear All,

I just wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts I have had since the graduation.

This has been quite a pilgrimage we have been on and, given the season, I just wanted to thank each of you for the privilege.  It is days like 10/10/12 and 11/14/12  that make it possible for me to be very proud to work for an organization that supports programs that transform people’s lives, members, family and staff alike.

Consistently, I heard from members and staff that they took the risk of getting outside their comfort zone in one way or another and were all the better for it.  I am struck by how we have learned to lead by example from the top down.

One example of this is Jill pushing us all to dream big. And then having the audacity to set the example and invite Kay Jamison. (Editor’s note: refers to academy founder Jill RachBeisel, MD, and keynote speaker Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD) I hear through the grapevine she is sending the graduates an autographed signed copy of her book — simply a class act.

Not to mention her inspiration, which was palpable on Wednesday. I kept looking at our graduates wondering what they were thinking and feeling and so hoping this is a turning point in their lives. Again we all made the seemingly impossible, possible. I hope as a result you see the world a little differently. We did not let fear, obstacle or negativity stand in the way of our goals and as a result we met them with meaning and purpose for all of us.

I have worked very hard during my 25-year career to create joy at work but I have never known joy like this. And for that, I thank you. It is role fulfillment I could not have imagined.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Fondly,

Lila Nappi

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The Academy of Independent Living teaches adults with stabilized mental illness how to manage the ins and outs of independent living in the community.
February 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

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1 Gail Kramer February 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

I was fortunate enough to attend The Evening of Celebration on October 10th. It was an amazing coming together of staff, from many disciplines, and the members who worked hand in hand with them. There was joy and pride emanating from the members and staff alike who had worked so hard to make the event a success. It was an exciting evening that I will always remember. From my perspective, the three year program was a labor of love that has clearly enriched the lives of the participants.

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