In keeping with Mental Health Awareness Month, I have been consulting with our good friend and producer, Paul Panico with Panic! Productions. Those of you who attended Hope & Harvest last year, will recall a powerful live dinner program performed by a group of local child actors made possible by Paul’s vision and generosity. That production focused on the lifelong effects of trauma experienced by children who are abused or witness violence at home or enter into abusive dating relationships.

Now, Paul Panico and Panic! Productions are once again partnering with Interface to demonstrate how a typical suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. I encourage you to join Joelle Vessels, Director of Youth and Mental Health Services, and friends of Interface to see “Next to Normal” playing June 2 – June 17 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks. “Next to Normal” will warm your heart whether you know first-hand what it’s like to have a family member suffer from mental illness or want to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like for others. Hope to see you there!

-Erik Sternad

“And remember…if you live here, you’ve got to give here!”