|Purpose of NIS. The primary purpose of NIS is to raise awareness about eating disorders and addictions, to educate families about healthy communication and formation of self and to help those who suffer from eating disorders and addictions. |
NIS's History: We began as an Off-Broadway Jonathan Larson award-winning musical in New York City in 2005 where we learned that families sought treatment as a result of participating in the talkback sessions with mental health professionals. Since then, we have been working nationwide alongside treatment professionals, people in recovery, award-winning educators and families to develop and deliver a curricular program into schools, universities, treatment centers, hospitals and conferences to educate audiences and help families heal. People seek treatment for their eating disorder as a direct result of this program.
The Program. As the centerpiece of the NIS program, we perform the Jonathan Larson award-winning musical theatre piece NOR•MAL, the true story of a family's struggle with an eating disorder. Immediately following the musical theatre performance, a medical expert specializing in eating disorders and a person in recovery from eating disorders hold talkback discussions with audience members. The objective of these discussion sessions is to raise awareness about eating disorders, to eradicate the shame surrounding mental health issues and family crises, to help audiences understand more about self esteem and to direct people to where they can find the help they might need for their recovery, if necessary. The program includes an anonymous post-show reflection questionnaire that all audience members are requested to complete. Currently, NIS has more than 20 binders filled with evaluations from colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, medical conferences and theatre festivals. These reflections are being used as part of a medical study with a Ph.D. - Psychology candidate at Iowa State University.
Success Measures. The NIS program has proven effective in a wide range of communties including at-risk and Hispanic schools, medical hospitals, artistic festivals, private schools and suburban schools. Every community has something to learn from NIS?everyone experiences family crisis and issues surrounding self esteem.
In February 2008, NIS presented its program at Wauwatosa East High School. The Wauwatosa Department of Health evaluated the program (using NIS reflections gathered after each performance). They determined that "The NIS Program had a positive impression on the majority of attendees (69.8%)." At least twelve students sought professional treatment after participating in one day of NIS programming.
Endorsed by the National Eating Disorder Association and by treatment centers around the country, the NIS program is an effective way to get audiences talking about the universal issues relating to eating disorders, addictions, peer pressure, body image, nutrition and wellness. In fact, anyone who has experienced family crisis of any kind will be touched by NOR•MAL's universal appeal. The program has received outstanding artistic, medical and educational honors such as Jonathan Larson Award-winner in New York City, Winner of Critic's Choice award at the Wisconsin State High School Theatre Festival; Keynote presenter at the 2008 Wisconsin State PTA Conference; Featured entertainment at the 2007 National Eating Disorder Association's Annual Conference, Keynote presenter at the 2009 Wisconsin Employee Assistance Program Association's annual conference and Invited presenter at the prestigious 2009 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, among many others.
We need help raising funds to complete our program goals for 2009 - 2010 which include touring the live production to schools and conferences and creating the NIS Curricular DVD series -- a series of 5-6 DVDs which will be available to schools, hospitals and communities worldwide.
Please join us in reducing the shame and stigma surrounding mental health issues, educating audiences everywhere about eating disorders and addiction and empowering youth by teaching them about healthy body image and self esteem.