National Empowerment Center - Alternatives 2010: Important Updates!

If you haven't yet registered, do so today! Alternatives 2010, taking place September 29 - October 3, is the annual event to connect and network with other consumer/survivors across the nation. You will experience ground-breaking workshops and cutting-edge institutes, exciting arts events featuring local talent, and numerous opportunities for spiritual and creative expression. It's always an unforgettable conference!
Health and Wellness Fair
Check out the many ways we'll be promoting wellness at this year's Alternatives!
During the Health and Wellness Fair, trained peers will conduct free mini-health screenings where people can get their blood pressure checked, get a reading on their blood sugar levels, and learn useful information on getting and staying healthy. 

The Health and Wellness Fair will also be a place to learn about complementary approaches to wellness, including Zen, reiki, mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga, and laughter yoga. A complete schedule of activities will be posted at the registration table.
Alternatives Keynote Sessions
We are delighted to announce a diverse and inspiring line-up of keynote speakers and panel discussions:

Pamela Hyde, JD - Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
How Consumers Can Help Shape Health Care Reform - Panel Discussion
How can the principles of recovery be applied to the changes under health care reform? The panel will address the opportunities and challenges for consumer involvement in these policy questions at the federal and state levels.
  • Shawn Terrell, Health Insurance Specialist, Office of Disability, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • John O’Brien, Health Care Reform Specialist, SAMHSA
  • Barbara Coulter Edwards, Director, the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and State Operations, Center for Medicaid Services
Robert Whitaker - Award-winning journalist and author of Mad in America and the new book Anatomy of an Epidemic.

Mark Ragins, MD - leading psychiatrist in the recovery movement in mental health care. He is a founding member of the Village ISA, where his work led him to become one of the leading voices in recovery-based treatment theory.

Black Men Speak: African-American Men Tell their Story
Hear the story of what it is like to be African-American men with substance abuse and mental health issues and their individual roads to wellness and recovery. 
Arts Activities
This year's conference features daily exciting arts opportunities. Here is a preview:

Performance Art Showcase - Thursday
You won’t want to miss this spectacular showcase of talented local consumer/survivor spoken word and performance artists. Performers include the Painted Brain, Dress Warm, and Scrambled Eggs.
Open Studio with Dylan Scholinski - Thursday and Friday 
Dylan Scholinksi, author of The Last Time I Wore a Dress and Founder/Witness of Sent(a)Mental Studios, will be hosting an open studio with opportunities to make original art around a common theme, or just to do your own thing! Art supplies will be available.

Open Mic Express yourself! - Friday
Come to this exciting event, where our healing and recovery are revealed through our artistic expressions. Performances of all types are encouraged: songs, poetry, narratives, dance, and humor. 

California Dreamin’ Dance Party - Saturday
If you’d like, come in costume to depict what “California Dreamin’” means to you: from Disney characters, to love beads, to beach bum and surfer dude, to movie star look-alikes. Whether you’re in costume or not, join the celebration dance!

Music/Dance Performance by Katherine Castillo - Sunday
A dynamic performance by Katherine Castillo, fifteen-year-old Colombian-American folk dancer and singer.
Travel Information
Alternatives 2010 is accessible from three area airports. The closest airport is SNA (Santa Ana, John Wayne, Irvine, Orange County-all names for the same airport). Los Angeles (LAX) and Long Beach (LGB) are also options.