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WOOSTER -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Wayne and Holmes Counties named Ann Hoover as their new associate director. She started Dec. 5.
Originally from Medina, Hoover spent the previous six years in Piqua as the executive director of Piqua Compassion Network.
"I am excited to be back in this region again," said Hoover. "My focus there was on removing people from poverty, much like what is happening here in Wooster."
Hoover earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in consumer community services. "My focus (at Piqua) was on helping people out of poverty and integrating them into the community as a contributing member."
That experience will be very beneficial to Hoover as she segues into her new role at NAMI.
"A large percentage of people who are caught in generational poverty also have mental health struggles," said Hoover. "I am committed to finding the resources to help bridge the gap between what people need and what is available to them."
The mission of NAMI is to provide a place of safety where all persons affected by a mental health concerns feel accepted, to build hope through peer-based programming and to deliver education, suicide prevention and support to family members and the community, according to a brochure.
"This is an exciting time," Hoover said. "I have been blessed to be friends with the amazing people that have had the courage to make changes in their life that will positively impact their future. It is an honor for me and I look forward to seeing it happen again here in Wooster."
In addition to her experience in Piqua, Hoover brings many years of volunteering efforts and being a friend to nonprofit organizations and also served on the board of directors for the former Medina Land Conservancy.
One thing that needs to happen is that people with mental health issues get connected with the resources available to them, she said.
"As I get oriented into my role, I look forward to stepping up and providing help wherever my skills are needed," Hoover said. "It is rewarding to watch people gain the courage to change their life and be accepted into the community."
Reporter Dan Starcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @danstarcher on Twitter.