David Jacobs, CPA, NSN Treasurer

I joined NSN in 2014. The opportunity to be a part of NSN appealed to me because of the history of mental health issues in my extended family.

As NSN’s Treasurer my responsibilities include reporting on the state of NSN’s finances on a regular basis. I have charge of NSN’s funds and as such am responsible for making deposits into and writing checks for disbursements from NSN’s bank account. At NSN fundraising events I handle the change fund and supervise the collection of admission fees and donations. In addition, as Treasurer, I am a member of NSN’s Executive Committee that is charged with the oversight of NSN’s activities. I am also member of the Finance Committee that presents the annual budget to the Executive Committee and develops and oversees projects and strategies to raise funds to support NSN’s activities.

I have been a member of the Monmouth County Stigma-Free Committee, representing NSN, since its formation in 2019. I also participate in NSN’s social, community outreach and fundraising events and support group meetings.

I have been a licensed Certified Public Accountant since 1971 and have lived in Manalapan, New Jersey since 1973. I operate a CPA firm in Manalapan and am a member of the Manalapan Business Association. My wife and I have a daughter (who is also a licensed CPA), son-in-law, and two granddaughters who also live in Monmouth County.

Since 1987 I have been a volunteer member of the local chapter of Optimists International, a children’s service organization. For much of that time I have served as a board member.  My other volunteer activities involve being a member of the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce High School Team Challenge Committee since 2012 and as a volunteer at New Jersey Blood Bank blood drives in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties since 2019.

I volunteer as much as possible because I feel lucky that life has been good to me and my family in the professional and personal sense so I want to share what I have achieved by helping children and young adults realize their full potential and by helping to make our community a safer and better place to live.

My vision and goal for NSN is to be a part of the team to expand its footprint to serve more young adults and raise enough money to be able to accomplish that.

Ellen Greenhouse, NSN Grant Writer

I have served on the NSN Board of Directors since 2019, focusing mostly on fundraising for NSN’s programs. I research and apply for grants from charitable organizations and businesses that offer financial assistance to nonprofits like NSN. I have been actively involved in our “Virtual Walk” fundraisers for the past two years. I also regularly participate in NSN social and community outreach events.

I’ve been married to my husband Richard for 53 years. We have 4 children and a lovely bunch of wonderful grandchildren. I am currently retired, but in my earlier years I was a third grade teacher in Brooklyn NY.

Volunteer work has been an important part of my life for many years. I’ve served as president of my homeowners’ association and served in the same role for 15 years in a Sweet Adeline Chorus. Working for and singing with the chorus for almost 40 years was an avocation that I loved. I now plan to put that energy and love into my work with NSN.

Helene Spector, NSN Community Liaison

I have had many years of experience as a K-12 special education teacher in both NY and NJ.

I have close family members that deal with mental health issues. NSN provides a community for families made up of those that have gone through similar experiences and are eager to listen.

After joining NSN in 2018, I volunteered to take a position on the NSN board. As community liaison I represent NSN at meetings of Monmouth County’s Stigma-Free Action Committee.  It has been my  job to work with other organizations to create opportunities and help eradicate the stigmas in our community. I am proud to be helping to achieve these goals.

I also participate in many NSN social, outreach, and fundraising events where I enjoy interacting with the NSN survivors, their families, and community members.

Linda VanMelis, MSW, Vice President, Support Group Facilitator, Young Adults Advisory Committee Organizer

I was drawn into the mental health field initially by natural interest, later by necessity. I have psychology and social work degrees which have given me a general background in mental health. But nothing compares to the raw, fully-immersed experience of having a loved one with a mental illness.

The emotional toll of having a family member with mental illness is heavy and costly, not to mention the devastating effect the experience can have on family life, employment, financial stability, and personal relationships. The most positive, impactful decision that I made was to join self-help organizations that focus on mental illness. The support, new understanding, and skills I gained are priceless.

Being involved in NSN since 2013 has been an exciting opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help young adults manage their mental health issues while they grapple with the challenges of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.  NSN is an outstanding local, grassroots organization of caring, motivated individuals dedicated to advocating for those with mental health challenges.

As Vice President, I manage communications between NSN and its members and the community at large. I work with a website developer to keep NSN’s website current and visitor-friendly. I maintain our Meetup site, and post photos and updates to our Facebook page.

As Support Group Facilitator, I organize, schedule, and lead the support group meetings, whether online or in person. I keep track of how our survivors are doing, and try to be proactive with ideas, resources, and emotional support. I also work with the Young Adults Advisory Committee (YAAC) to select and organize social, cultural, and educational activities for the survivors.

I appreciate the flexibility of NSN’s programs. This is certainly not a cookie-cutter organization! We accommodate the specific needs of each of our members to the best of our ability. At the same time, we encourage teamwork and group pride. I’m sure there are many young adults out in the community who would benefit from the peer support, sense of community, energy, and enthusiasm that exude from NSN’s survivors!