People Who Need People

“People inspire me. They infuriate, puzzle, motivate, sadden, surprise, enlighten, awe and confound me… Witnessing another [person] crawl from the depths and stand on their own two feet is the most inspiring and humbling experience I have ever known.”

Those are the sentiments of Eileen Warmbrand, who in 2008 was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It did not come as a total shock; she had experienced the condition’s symptoms for years. Soon after, the Peekskill resident further learned she had both Parkinson’s disease and chronic Lyme disease. In short order, she recalls, “Depression, anger, despair, and hopelessness became nearly constant companions.”

What is somebody—anybody—supposed to do after processing such life-jolting information?

Sign Up for E-News

If your spirit and will are as indomitable as Eileen Warmbrand’s, you create a community outreach organization called the Peer-to-Peer Mood Disorder Support Group, Inc. of Peekskill. Focusing on recovery, the seven-month old, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization attends to the needs of people with mood disorders, also enfranchising their friends, family and other supporters.

“Member comfort and security are key,” says Eileen. “Confidentiality is paramount.” Members are advised not to share what is said in the closed sessions with anyone outside the groups. Members also benefit from free informational material and hearing the expert counsel of guest speakers.

“Sharing and learning from the experiences of others who have been there offers the unique opportunity to help others while helping yourself,” says Ms. Warmbrand. “These are not pity parties, or gripe sessions, although they can pass through as elements. There is no greater joy than celebrating the triumphs along the journey of recovery. A major element in peer support is reminding, supporting, sharing, and celebrating life.”

Ms. Warmbrand has been guiding and serving others for nearly 30 years—as a mother, educator, community member and volunteer. Along the way, she developed core competencies essential to well-being.

“I’ve learned valuable lessons: How to speak up, how to listen, how to research, how to trust, not to give up, not to give in. I learned how to listen to, trust and believe in myself, to let others in and seek support, to understand change and allow and look forward to it. I also learned the importance of bringing people together in collaboration and mutual respect.”

Her earliest volunteer experience was in elementary school, where she tutored younger students in reading. In high school, she participated in local political campaigns and in fundraising for the March of Dimes.

In adulthood, Eileen continued her community involvement with activities in theater companies, public education and youth sports. She currently is a member of the Rockland County Office of Mental Health Workgroup.

“As life brought challenges,” she says, “I reached out to others for, and to offer, support, as a member, and organizer of meetup and Facebook groups.”

That well-rounded experience culminated in her founding the Peekskill-based support group last August. “The most valuable lesson I learned is that no matter what I was burdened with, I was not alone. This drives me to help others help themselves toward self-assurance, independence, confidence, and a positive, healthy relationship with their community.”

If Eileen Warmbrand had a wish list, what would be on it?

“If I could wave a magic wand and make anything disappear, it would be the judgment and fear of disability, particularly mental illness. Having to struggle for acceptance, in addition to the struggle to stay healthy, adds weight to the burden. Look to yourself first before you assign expectations, and get to know someone before you decide what’s best for them.”

Weekly meetings of Peer to Peer Mood Disorder Support Group are 6–7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, on the third floor above 12 Grapes Restaurant, 12 North Division St., Peekskill.

For more information:; 914-257-3766;

Bruce Apar is chief content officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at or 914-275-6887.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Facebook, Fools, Friends and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Since its inception, Facebook has been a regular target of mockery and criticism—everything from, “Do I really need to see a picture of the pastrami sandwich you had for lunch?” to “Why did you help the Russians get Donald Trump elected?”

No one likes to mock and criticize more than I do—just ask all of my former friends. And while I agree that Facebook can ...

It Was the Economy That Got Trump Elected

I am not easily shocked by much anymore. Yet, I was by last week’s column by fellow columnist Bernie Kosberg. Kosberg, whose column runs regularly in Mahopac News and sometimes in Yorktown News, said in the first paragraph: “Several readers decried my conclusion that the overwhelming support of Putnam County voters for Trump was not due to economic anxiety or the unavailability of ...

God Is Just! Schneiderman Is Out!

Whenever you doubt that God is just, remember last Monday. That is the day New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned.

As you know, I have had him in my sights for a long time. He has squandered our tax dollars with more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration. Plus, his lawsuits against Big Oil and trying to nullify our double jeopardy laws. Most will go nowhere as ...

It Wasn’t About the Economy or Jobs

Soon after President Trump was “crowned” by the Electoral College in November 2016, I wrote a column about Putnam County voters that garnered some attention—both good and bad. Several readers decried my conclusion that the overwhelming support of Putnam County voters for Trump was not due to economic anxiety or the unavailability of suitable jobs, but to the overarching fear ...

BOCES… What’s in a Name?

Do you ever wonder what BOCES stands for? We associate the name with a center of learning that supplements the general curriculum of local high schools by teaching students specialized trades. Beyond that, does everyone in the non-BOCES population, those who have no direct connection to the programs, fully appreciate the priceless value it brings to our communities’ young adults and their ...

Bias in Media, in Me, in You

While listening to an interview with a voter on my car radio, I thought I had excess ear wax that obstructed my hearing. The voter (whose name is Bruce) said this about one of the qualifications that a Senate or House candidate must have to earn his vote: “I don’t want anyone with ideas. We have enough of those already.”

I’m a journalist and have been one my entire ...

Dog Allergies, Part Deux

“I have some good news and I have some bad news,” I told my husband.

“Give me the good news first.”

“OK. The vet doesn’t think the dog’s ear infections are from a food allergy after all, so we don’t have to keep feeding him that hypo-allergenic food,” I said.

“Hallelujah,” shouted my husband. He was understandably ...

Cross My Legs and Hope to Die

One morning, I had a big cup of coffee as I usually do, and then I got in the car and drove 40 minutes to a clothing store I had been curious to check out. I don’t normally drive 40 minutes to go shopping, but since I am a stay-at-home mom and everyone knows we stay-at-home moms just spend our time shopping and eating bonbons, I figured, “What the hey.”

Having had the ...

CD Release Concert - New Middle Class at Putnam Arts Council

May 23, 2018

Press Release

Contact: Mike Borok

Phone: (914) 962-0120


May 19, 2018

Putnam Arts Council Hosts CD Release Concert featuring New Middle Class, with Dan Pelletier & Wendy Cody

MAHOPAC, ny: On Saturday evening, June 16, 2018, the Putnam Arts Council will host a concert ...