NAMI GBCAN originated with the meeting of Kim Holt and Howard Trachtman through MBHP. Kim and Howard, then a member of the NAMI Massachusetts’ Board of Directors, held the first GBCAN meeting at the Cambridge YMCA in early 2004. GBCAN meetings later settled at the Center Club in Boston. GBCAN opened an office space at the Boston Resource Center when the Department of Mental Health funded the Metro Boston Recovery Learning Community (MBRLC).
GBCAN members moved to start new support programs such as In Our Own Voice.
The NAMI Board of Directors voted to fund IOOV, and the first class of sixteen peers were trained. Receiving a grant from the Boston Foundation, GBCAN partnered with NAMI Massachusetts to (1) grow its membership, (2) create a Board of Directors, and (3) conduct a computer class. Annual meetings (with karaoke) were held at the McLean Hospital cafeteria. Brooke Katz joined the first meeting as a speaker, and Ruth Balser and State Senator Bob Antonioni were given “Legislator of Year” awards.
Karl Ackerman and Howard Trachtman convinced NAMI Massachusetts to start the NAMI Connection program.
Karl and Bob Bund taught a computer class at the Boston Resource Center and created a computer lab, since named the “Karl Ackerman Recovery is Real Computer Lab” after Karl’s passing.
The Hope Center opened, and NAMI GBCAN offices moved nearby, to the Erich R. Lindemann Building of the Department of Mental Health. An annual NAMI GBCAN “Volunteer of the Year” award was initiated, and weekly NAMI GBCAN staff meetings at the Lindemann opened to all peers. PEER-to-PEER training started, and many NAMI GBCAN staff members soon were credentialed as CPSs. NAMI GBCAN received a grant from the SAFE Foundation. Howard was named NAMI GBCAN President Emeritas while Ewa and Larissa become Interim Co-Directors.