Ralph Fagen, Co-President
Ralph is currently serving, along with Sharon Dunas, as co-president of NAMI Westside Los Angeles. He has been an active member of NAMI Westside Los Angeles since 2007, and he became a Family-to-Family teacher in 2008. In this capacity, he helps hundreds of family members to better understand, cope with, and support loved ones afflicted with mental illness. He has mentored new Family-to-Family teachers while leading a number of family support groups. Ralph became a Smithsonian Laureate in 2000, for his work with at-risk children. We are proud to have him as our current co-president.
Sharon Dunas, Co-President
Sharon has unselfishly provided leadership and exceptional services to the community via NAMI WLA for more than twenty years, having taught various NAMI courses to hundreds of members of the community, as well as teaching new teachers. She took the lead in reorganizing NAMI WLA in 2007, recruiting seven people to serve on the initial Board as well as a dozen or more to fill subsequent vacancies. Sharon has also recruited two speakers every month for ten years of our Speaker Series.
In addition to chairing the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2013, Sharon served as President of the affiliate from its reorganization until 2013, and also served for several years as our representative to the Los Angeles County Coordinating Council of NAMI (LACC), and served as its President for three years. Sharon has been the top “Team Captain” fundraiser for the annual NAMI Los Angeles County Walk for many years. She is again serving as co-president this year, along with Ralph Fagen.
Adaline Fagen has been involved with NAMI Westside Los Angeles since 2007. Adaline is chair of the Fundraising Committee, which is responsible for our annual Gala fundraising event. She and her husband Ralph are Family-to-Family teachers, and she is committed to growing the membership of the affiliate and effecting major change in her community’s attitude toward brain illness. She has taken the pledge to fight stigma. She performs well as our fundraising chair; she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, and she has worked diligently to create our annual Gala fundraising event. To see the results she provides, see the Gala Fundraising video from our spring 2018 Moroccan Bazar gala.
Marlene is the chair of NAMI Westside LA’s Outreach Committee, for which she is committed to raising the profile of NAMI and spreading the word about its free services and programs to help people with mental illness and their families. She has worked as a teacher, event consultant, aide to a City Councilman, and was the Director of the Westside Welcomes the World hospitality center during the 1984 Olympics in LA. In addition to NAMI, Marlene has also been involved with other charitable organizations to support children and education.
Karena Dawn, co-founder of Tone It Up, a fitness and lifestyle community founded by women for women, is a spirited entrepreneur and a certified yoga instructor, nutrition coach, personal trainer, and meditation coach under the Chopra Center for meditation. Karena is passionate about empowering others. In addition to NAMI, she supports Girls on the Run and other organizations.
Dorit is dedicated to helping raise money for NAMI and awareness about mental illness. A happily married wife and mother of four children, Dorit immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 14. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and proceeded to get her Masters in Structural Engineering from Stanford University. Dorit has established our NAMI Westside Instagram profile and is responsible for the account’s maintenance and daily updates. In a very short period of time, our NAMI Instagram profile surpassed 20,000 followers.