Robyn Hussa, executive director of NORMAL in Schools in Milwaukee
Name: Robyn Hussa
Title: Executive Director
Nonprofit organization: NORMAL In Schools
Nonprofit Address: PO Box 20965, Milwaukee, WI 53220
Mission of the organization: NIS teaches about the devastating impact of eating disorders and the therapeutic impact of theatre while exploring related issues such as body image, self esteem, family communication and stress management. By bringing a curriculum centered on the musical NOR•MAL into schools everywhere, NORMAL In Schools seeks to advance understanding and promote healing.
Annual volunteer/fundraising event: “Believe! Imagining a World Where . . .” a gala fundraiser hosted by Kirsten Haglund (Miss America, 2008) with live performances, music, dancing, art gallery and silent auction. February 27, 2010 at Turner Hall in celebration of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
What makes your organization unique?
"NORMAL In Schools is based on an award-winning, high-energy, New York City rock ‘n’ roll piece that has been proven to resonate strongly with audience members young and old AND NIS consists of a cutting-edge curriculum that is highly regarded not only in the field of mental health but in education as well, uniting artistic, medical, and educational merit in one powerful program. We live in a society where it is generally considered normal to conceal feelings and struggles in a constant drive for perfection – often external perfection, achieved through the opinions of others. However, such beliefs can be detrimental to formation of a healthy sense of self, which in turn can lead to addictive behaviors and eating disorders. NIS encourages individuals to be “abnormal” – to share our true feelings, allow for mistakes and imperfections, discontinue seeking external validation, and embrace self-love, self-gratitude, and self-worth."
What is one key thing needed for leadership in the non profit sector? "Mindfulness – to listen to what the community needs, to engage one human being at a time in order to serve the community’s needs, and to have patience as the organization blossoms at its own pace."
Is your organization in search of board members? Yes.
How can business people/the community help your organization? "NIS has sponsorship opportunities available for upcoming programs at MPS — Milwaukee High School of the Arts and for our stylin’ gala — hosted by Miss America. For anyone who would like to learn more, we have a free cultivation event on October 28th at 7:30pm at In Tandem Theatre in Milwaukee where we will present the program followed by a wine and cheese reception. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary ticket."
Why do you think people should volunteer or become a board member?
"People volunteer and become board members with NIS namely because there are so many ways they feel rewarded. NIS is highly regarded not only in the arts community, but in the medical AND educational communities alike. The program is not only hip and current, it is impactful to both kids and adults — there is truly something in the project for every family, for every community, for every demographic.Most importantly, the NIS program is an effective way to get audiences talking about issues related to eating disorders, binge eating, peer pressure, body image, nutrition, and wellness, due to the universal appeal of the gripping emotional performance upon which the programming is centered.
For example, after a performance at Wauwatosa East High School, not only did the program have “a positive impression on the majority of attendees,” according to the Wauwatosa Department of Health, but at least 32 students sought professional treatment as a direct result of their participation in a day of NIS programming. Board members and volunteers experience these results firsthand – it is unlike any project and it literally changes the families, individuals and communities with whom it comes in contact."