Community Support January 4, 2020


Green Team Realty receives NAMI Orange Appreciation Award

On behalf of Green Team Realty,  Geoff Green proudly accepted NAMI Orange‘s Appreciation Award. The presentation took place at NAMI Orange’s 15th Annual Meeting. It was held on November 25,at the Orange County Department of Mental Health in Goshen, NY

Presenting the Award

Through its Team Up for Hope initiative, the Green Team raised both awareness and funds for NAMI Orange. As Green Team Content Marketing Manager and a member of NAMI Orange, it was an honor to present the Appreciation Award to Geoff Green. And it was an honor to read the following inscription to Geoff and all those present:

Reading text of award to Geoff Green

NAMI Orange Appreciation Award presented to Green Team Realty – a real estate company that cares what happens in its community, represented by Geoff Green.

Besides their Team Up for Hope’s very successful fundraiser which benefited NAMI Orange, Green Team Realty also organized a webinar to increase public awareness featuring two NAMI Orange members who discussed how mental health issues impact the family as well as the individual – and who educated people as to how they could get the support and the services that they might need. An excellent public service! We are honored to have had Team Up for Hope select NAMI Orange as a recipient of their charitable good works.

What is NAMI?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, “NAMI,” began at a kitchen table in 1979. A small group of families whose lives had been impacted by mental illness got together and decided to take some action. Now, 40 years later, it is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. There are 48 NAMI State Organizations and more than 600 local affiliates.

According to NAMI’s website, the organization “envisions:a world where all people affected by mental illness live healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares.” Their mission is to provide “advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.”

Mental illness. Let’s talk statistics

These statistics are posted on the NAMI website  And they’re frightening.

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34

Mental illness. Let’s talk reality

When someone you know and care about becomes one of these statistics, family members and friends suddenly find themselves in a world turned upside down. They don’t understand what has happened to their loved one, what to do, what to say, And the stigma surrounding mental illness can make it difficult to discuss the challenges with friends, further isolating both patient and family. My family has lived this reality. My youngest daughter, Andrea, was diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders at the age of 14. There was nothing that prepared us for the journey we suddenly found ourselves on. No guidebook to explain the mania, then the plunges into deep despair. There were prescriptions for lots of medications in lots of combinations, there was therapy. However, there was nothing that helped us all to understand what was happening within her brain. No advice on how to communicate or set limits. No one telling me it wasn’t my fault. Chaos ruled our lives, exacerbated by loneliness.

Mental illness. It’s not a casserole disease

When someone is diagnosed with cancer or other catastrophic illness, there is often a rallying of support from the community. Friends and family sign up to provide meals for the family. People volunteer to take children for play dates, do the laundry, help clean the house. People come to visit, to talk, to listen.  However, when a child suddenly requires hospitalization for a mental illness there are no casseroles. No phone calls or visits from non-judgmental friends. No offers to take care of the other kids when you’re running from work to hospital. There was a time when cancer was stigmatized. People were ashamed to admit they had it. It was assumed to be a death sentence and rather than say the wrong thing, nothing was said. That has thankfully changed. But this is where we as a society are when dealing with mental illness. The stigma is very real and many families find it necessary to keep their loved one’s illness a secret. From other family members, from employers. Because mental illness impacts behavior and personality, there is a tendency to see it as more of a character flaw than an actual disease. However, it is a disease. One that requires treatment and support. Family and friends can play a vital role in helping their loved ones. And this is where NAMI comes in.

NAMI Orange. Making a difference

I was introduced to NAMI Orange by a friend whose child was also struggling with a mental health diagnosis. We both signed up to take the Family-to–Family class, a “peer education program for family members of adults living with mental illness.”  Andrea was in the recovery stage of her illness at that time. I felt that I didn’t really need the course, but maybe I could pick up a few helpful tips. Instead, what I experienced was life changing.

Our class was made up of people with a common goal; how to better understand and help our loved ones. NAMI gave us the tools to better understand the science behind mental illness. We learned about symptoms, changes to behavior and personality, communication skills, crisis preparation plans and so much more. In addition, we became our own support group, sharing our stories and the challenges we were facing. We understood what everyone was going through.

NAMI Orange is an all-volunteer organization. Family-to-Family teachers, as peers, must also have an adult family member living with a mental illness. Course teachers go through specialized training, as do facilitators of support groups and presenters of in-school programs. The dedication of these volunteers cannot be overstated.

Team Up For Hope – Teaming up with NAMI Orange

As a local business, the Green Team believes in giving back to the community. Through Light up the Holidays, money was raised for the Warwick Valley Humane Society and Warwick Playground Dreams. After a few years of doing holiday lights contests, it was decided to change to a basic fund-raising effort on behalf of local organizations. The name suggested was Team Up for Hope. At an early fundraiser committee meeting I mentioned the local NAMI affiliates for our Warwick NY and Vernon NJ offices The response from fellow committee members was amazing. It seems that many of the Green Team’s sales associates knew someone who had experienced mental illness and were up for the challenge. And those who did not have personal experience were touched by the stories we shared and wanted to help. We arranged a meeting with representatives of NAMI Orange and NAMI Sussex. The information they shared with us, their passion for these organizations they gave so much of their lives to, made a lasting impression on us. We were determined to Team Up with NAMI to raise not only funds, but awareness. That included the webinar mentioned in the award, which you can view here.  In addition, another webinar was done with Andrea Wynn telling her story of living with mental illness and her journey to recovery.  Andrea concluded her story by performing an original song she had written about living with Bi-Polar Disorder. Sheila Sutton represented NAMI Orange again and spoke to Andrea’s story, as well as the help that the organization offers. And Geoff was pleased to announce that Team Up for Hope had raised over $3,100 for NAMI Orange and over $1,500 for NAMI Sussex.  To view that webinar, click here.

Andrea is a believer in sharing her journey with others in hopes of helping end the stigma surrounding mental illness. And I share her story with her permission. Further, we both share our thanks to Geoff Green. He first met Andrea during the webinar. However, knowing her diagnosis, he never hesitated to interview her for a position at the Green Team. She is now Agent Service Manager at the Warwick Office.

Team Up for Hope, Inc., a non-profit – and a lasting legacy for Joseph Green IV

Team up for Hope - Joseph Green IV

Plans had been underway to do another fundraiser for NAMI Orange and Sussex for October 2019. However, on June 27, 2019, Joseph Green IV lost his personal battle with substance abuse. He was 26 years old. His passing was sudden and tragic, leaving his family reeling. Joseph was a very good student-athlete in high school. He graduated from NC State University and was working in the field of finance in Manhattan. In the months that followed, Geoff Green and sister Amy Green realized they had to do something to honor their beloved nephew and found their calling. They wanted to do whatever they could to prevent other families from suffering the loss of a loved one due to substance abuse or mental illness. They called a meeting of Green Teamer’s who would be willing to donate their time to this new organization. A start-up committee and a plan emerged.

Geoff had been inspired by a speaker at a Break the Stigma walk held in Warwick, to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. That speaker basically said that the only way to address the crisis was on the local level. And that is something Geoff firmly believes; that we should support the efforts of local organizations who have been doing the work, who understand the issues, and are trying to find solutions. It was decided that Team Up for Hope would be incorporated and file for 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status. As such, we would be able to raise funds and then distribute them to organizations we chose to support. In addition to continuing to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the organizations we would be working with, we would do our best to offer solutions to some of the problems they had. For instance, reaching the local communities with the services and programs they offer, finding volunteers with social media skills to help with website development, and FaceBook and Instagram accounts. To help them do what they do best, we would do what we do best: marketing, networking, and helping inform our communities.


We hope that one day these problems will no longer exist, but until that day is here, we’ll do this for Joseph, and for all our loved ones who have struggled with addiction and/or mental illnesses. And we hope that you will team up with us… for hope.