NEC TAC Welcomes Sae Kim!
Sae Kim joined the National Empowerment Center as the new Grant Coordinator at the beginning of June 2021.

As a Korean immigrant who experienced a host of challenges arising from the intersection of her racial and gender identities, immigration status, and mental health needs, Sae found that the mental health care system was not a good fit for her, especially after a particularly distressing hospitalization experience. Sae discovered peer support by chance in 2018 when she became involved with a peer-run respite, where she learned the power of building mutual and authentic human relationships. The experience was transformative and liberating, and Sae has been a passionate proponent of the peer movement since then.

Formerly the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, Sae hopes that peer support will eventually become part of our collective consciousness in any dialogue about mental health and wellness. Sae also hopes to work toward creating a supportive and compassionate community that ensures that everyone’s basic needs are met, and that makes everyone feel comfortable showing up as their authentic selves.

Sae is passionate about animal welfare, and has a dog, a cat, and three rabbits that are from various rescue organizations. She is also passionate about fitness and trains in Olympic weightlifting and boxing.
Youth Corner
Every issue of our newsletter will feature a YOUTH CORNER update written by Shira Collings, our Youth Coordinator. 
Youth eCPR Reaches Girl Scouts!
On June 19th, Youth Emotional CPR (eCPR) Educator Miranda Todt, a former Girl Scout herself, introduced eCPR to Girl Scouts aged 6 to 18 at a day-long Girl Scout "Be Safe, Be Healthy" event in New Hampshire. The girls created paper flowers based upon emotions they chose from the emotion wheel found in the eCPR workbook. “My feelings are in this flower,” one of the Girl Scouts said.
The girls also did Zentangle drawing together on note cards. (Zentangle, which combines meditation and art and was invented in the U.S., is free drawing of shapes with recurring patterns from a combination of points, lines, simple curves and circles.) “As they did their drawings, we discussed content from the workbook and put it into a perspective that connected to the Girl Scout values,” Miranda said. Each girl took home a bag of stress putty. 
"I explained to the girls that, through the activities they did with one another to earn a badge, they are Connecting together as a troop,” Miranda continued. “While those activities are occurring, they are Empowering themselves and each other. The Revitalization occurs with the happiness and memories created while being a Girl Scout. I remember how being a Girl Scout helped build my character and confidence, and I appreciate having the opportunity to spend time with these Girl Scouts."
"My feelings are in this flower."
Youth Leadership Series
NEC has continued its youth leadership webinar series over the past several months. In May, Youth eCPR trainers Briza Gavidia, Felicity Therese Krueger, and Shira Collings shared their experiences in spearheading the development of the eCPR for Youth curriculum, and tailoring this program to meet the unique needs of young people. In another webinar, Dan Adams presented on Sources of Strength, a best practice, evidence-based youth suicide prevention project that uses trained youth peer leaders to enhance protective factors across an entire school population, producing increased help-seeking behaviors and fostering positive peer-to-peer and youth-adult connections. These webinars can be viewed here and here. An upcoming youth leadership webinar on the Jed Foundation's approach to engaging youth leaders will take place on September 16. You can sign up here. Another webinar—“New Frontiers for Activism: Youth Involvement & Leadership in Research”—will take place on October 12. Click here to sign up.
We CARE Circle Update
The National Empowerment Center created the We CARE Circle as part of our ongoing effort to center diversity, equity, and inclusion both within and outside of the organization as we continue to advocate for alternative understandings of mental health and wellness. The We CARE Circle consists of NEC staff, Emotional CPR trainers, and community members who come from different backgrounds. The We CARE Circle will collaborate with NEC to provide more culturally sensitive support to communities impacted by interlocking forms of structural and institutional oppression and violence.
The group, initially named ICARE (Inclusion, Cultural Awareness, and Racial Equity), was renamed the We CARE Circle because we wanted to highlight the following ideas. First, the word “inclusion” implies that someone holds the power to grant access to the table to those who do not have such access. We wanted to work toward building a community where historically marginalized and oppressed people hold the power to create a table for themselves. Second, we wanted a structure where people can come together as equals and build mutually supportive relationships, rather than creating a hierarchical structure where power differentials may exist. Third, we wanted to emphasize the importance of creating a community. We work together—both on the individual level and the community level—to move toward creating a just and equitable world that affirms and values the humanity of every single person.
The We CARE Circle members currently include:
·       Caitlin Fisher (Consultant, National Empowerment Center)
·       Dan Fisher (CEO, National Empowerment Center)
·       Flora Releford (President, Infinity Empower Lifestyle)
·       Gilbert Whiteduck (Program Coordinator, Wanaki Centre)
·       Oryx Cohen (COO, National Empowerment Center)
·       Richarde Donelan (CEO, Turn North Enterprise)
·       Sae Kim (Grant Coordinator, National Empowerment Center)
NEC is seeking to grow the circle and particularly center the voices of members who represent marginalized and underserved communities. If you are interested in learning more about the We CARE Circle and being part of it, including the possibility of your work being featured in a future edition of this newsletter, please email us at
Evidence for Emotional CPR!
A team from Dartmouth College, led by Dr. Karen Fortuna, conducted a pre- and post-survey study of Emotional CPR this past winter and spring, with a peer-reviewed article published in April 2021. Promising evidence indicates that eCPR, a peer-developed and peer-delivered program, may increase feelings of belonging while increasing supportive behaviors toward individuals with mental health problems, and improving clinical outcomes related to positive and negative affect and feelings of loneliness. For a one-page summary of the article, which includes a link to the full text, click here.
In addition, NEC's CEO and Emotional CPR founder Dr. Daniel Fisher had an editorial published recently: “Promising Evidence of the Role of Emotional CPR: Co-Immunity Through Community CPR”: Am J of Geriatric Psychiatry 29:7 (2021) 684−686. (The following is a digest of the editorial.)
As this silent, invisible virus ravages our earth, many of us—young and old—feel alone, powerless, and numb. We are urged to keep a physical distance, wear a mask and wash our hands and get a vaccine. Alienation, frustration, and despair seep in and crush our spirits in their frightening coils. Routinely, mental health professionals screen for anxiety and depression, affix a diagnostic label, and then prescribe medications. Yet in times of natural disasters and public health crises, medication and traditional psychotherapy may not be enough; more than ever, we need each other.
Currently, it is vital not only to improve the social connections of numerous persons with mental health challenges, but also the connections of millions of persons fighting the psychological and physiological impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Not only do social isolation and loneliness contribute to depression and substance abuse, but they can also decrease our immune response. The chronic stress of isolation can lead to a prolonged fight-flight response, which inhibits our immune response1. On the other hand, according to research on social relationships and mortality risk, persons who are socially connected live longer2 and are much less likely to develop a cold after exposure to rhinoviruses3 than those experiencing isolation. Many adults in Western cultures have particularly narrow social networks. Ideally, we can improve community members’ immune capacity by increasing their capacity to form social bonds. We call this co-immunity through community CPR.
People with lived experience of recovery from mental health issues in conjunction with the National Empowerment Center developed a trauma-informed training called Emotional CPR (eCPR; to help address isolation and powerlessness. We teach all people—service users, clinicians, administrators, police officers, and others—about mutual support, connecting nonverbally, active listening, and that everyone has a healer within, especially the most frail, most isolated: older adults. We find that people we train gain hope and renewed life and purpose in our darkest hours through connecting heart to heart. Through being together and purposely sharing our feelings, we find we can build the compassionate communities needed to heal the multiple crises in which we are engaged. Our first study of eCPR found promising evidence of its effectiveness.4
The world community will need to learn how to live with COVID-19, the way we have learned to live with the flu: accepting that it may never be eliminated in the U.S. like the polio virus was. In order for people to live with COVID-19, we hope to encourage them to use eCPR to strengthen social connections, which can enhance our collective immunity.

2 (Holt-Lunstad,J. et al., Social relationships and mortality risk: a metanalytic review, PLoS Med. 27:7(2010).
3 Cohen, et al.: Social ties and susceptibility to common cold. JAMA 1997; 277:1940–1944.
4 Myers AL, Collins-Pisano C, Ferron JC, et al.: Feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a peer-developed and virtually delivered community mental health training program (emotional CPR): pre-post study. J Particip Med 2021; 13:e25867
Supporting Organizations to Maintain Their Nonprofit Status
Judene Shelley has continued to work with nonprofit peer organizations, advising them on completing their annual 990 IRS tax filings.
Small tax-exempt organizations with normal annual receipts of $50,000 or less can quickly complete a 990-N “postcard” on the IRS website with basic information about the nonprofit to meet their annual requirement.
Larger nonprofits, with annual receipts of more than $50,000, need to file Form 990 or 990 EZ each year. This form is due by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of the nonprofit’s tax year. Organizations that fail to file Form 990 for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status and need to refile their entire original nonprofit application, and submit a fee, to apply to be reinstated as a nonprofit. (While this may sound like a lot of work—and it does involve an expense—it just requires sending the same forms sent previously.)
Organizations need to know and follow the IRS requirements to maintain their nonprofit status.
Rental Assistance Toolkit
The federal government is conducting an all-out push to make sure tenants and landlords take advantage of the historic funding for emergency rental assistance to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes. 

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, billions of dollars in federal rental assistance is reaching renters behind on housing costs, as well as landlords who have struggled during the pandemic. These programs are run locally, and right now emergency rental assistance is available across the country. 

We are putting out a call to action to government agencies, companies, advocates, nonprofits, the faith community, and more to make sure that renters and landlords are able to take advantage of the relief available to them.  Please go to for more information and to see if you might qualify for assistance.
This newsletter was developed [in part] under grant number SM082648 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.