This month, The NAN Project has featured Greta Waag in our regular PM Spotlight piece. Greta has been with us for almost a year, having joined us after several years as a Peer Specialist at Eliot. She brings experience, confidence and most of all lots of good positive energy to our team (along with a hint of quirkiness!).

Thank you, Greta, for taking the time to do an interview for the PM Spotlight.  Tell us a few things about yourself and how long have you been working with The NAN Project?

I’ve been working with The NAN Project for just about one year.  I am really motivated to get out in the schools and spread the message that it’s ok to talk about mental health and that there is help and there is hope. I have a strong background in DBT, something I’m really passionate about.

Hobby wise I’m so lame. I go for long walks on the beach (hahaha). I love the ocean I love to sail. I also love to do yoga, that’s a great to ground myself after a stressful week. 

I remember that you were a Peer Specialist for Eliot a few years back.  We knew each other from the Team Meetings and Peer Outings that we had.  What made you get into Peer work back then?

I think peer work was something that I had always had calling for. I bounced around in multiple different jobs and different positions. One working as a mental health counselor with adolescents. Another working at a sober living home for adults. I liked all those jobs, but once I moved into peer work, it became clear that’s where I belonged. I was more comfortable working at the peer to peer level, rather than a hierarchial level (did I just make up that word??) I was able to use my life experience for the better good and to relate to what others are going through.  In other jobs, the boundaries were stricter so I wasn’t able to use my experience.

I have a good memory of you bringing that frisbee game where you are on teams and either team tries to get the frisbee in the center of the barrels.  How did you find out about that game? And have you known about it for a while?

The frisbee game is called Kan Jam and I saw people play it at the beach.  I used to play ultimate frisbee competitively. We travelled nationally. Once I saw this new frisbee I knew I had to have it. It is a great game, because it emphasizes teamwork, which is always fun (giggle). Part strategy and part how you will match well with your partner. The game Kan Jam has strategy and you work together to try and win.

I remember that you were pretty good at Kan Jam and you were very good at explaining how to play it.  It’s a good game that gets people to interact.  Are there any other outdoor games you like to play?

I love Corn Hole which, a bean bag tossing game. Again, you play with a teammate. I used it as a bonding tool. My dad any I made the two ramps that you need to play the game with on our own.  It was a good bonding time with my dad to make the two ramps for that game. It was great to have a common connection. It’s great to interact in a less pressured environment. That was fun. I also like to play Badminton and Bocce Ball. I love games. Being outside, hanging with friends.

I know that you have been with The NAN Project for a little while.  How was it adjusting from being a Peer Specialist at Eliot to working with The NAN Project?

I was a Certified Peer Specialist with Eliot for six months.  It definitely was an adjustment for me going from checking in with individuals one on one that were on my caseload to presenting to larger groups of students at schools.  The good thing is I am able to reach more people with my story through The NAN Project and show that recovery is possible.

I remember back when you were a Peer Specialist for Eliot you always had great positive feedback and good input in the Team meetings.  Where would you say this positive energy comes from and what inspires it?

I think my positive energy comes from wanting to make a difference.  If I can make a difference in one life than that is worth it.  I always wanted to stay positive because I wouldn’t want people to feel alone as I did when I was struggling.

It has been really great to interview you Greta for the PM Spotlight.  Thanks so much for doing this interview.  Lastly, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future both personally and with The NAN Project?

My hope with The NAN Project is to reach as many young students as possible and breakdown stigma that surrounds mental health.  My personal goal is I would like to get back to school and get my Masters Degree in Social Work, so I can continue to help others in their times of struggle. 

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