August 21, 2016
AIR Is Now Officially in Four States!
MN Chapter Launched Aug. 13th!

Stars Support AIR's Minnesota Chapter Launch
Minnesota, which has the same problems of limited access to mental health services as New Jersey. "There has to be a way to fix it. If I can't do it myself, I'll tell enough people - lawmakers and other important people - to get things rolling and make a difference," she said. "I haven't found anyone to bond with and I was thinking of starting my own group. But, I ran into a lot of red tape trying to get 501(c)(3) status. Then, I met Tricia and now,   
MN Chapter Lead Melissa Knight (left) and Tracy Pellegrino, wife of Supernatural actor Mark Pellegrino
I'm excited to bring AIR to Minnesota."

While Melissa, AIR Co-Founders Tricia and Katelyn Baker and other volunteers were setting up for the chapter launch event, they were visited by Mark Pellegrino, who plays Lucifer on the hit TV show Supernatural. He donated shoes from his best friend Mike who took his own life earlier this year. Later on the same day as Mike's funeral, Mark attended the premiere of Supernatural's fan movie in Los Angeles, where he met Tricia and became a supporter of AIR. In fact, after the Minnesota event, Mark agreed to be a member of AIR's Advisory Board.  
Mark Pellegrino signs boots that belonged to his friend Mike, who had taken his own life earlier this year.

Melissa collected the 478 pairs of shoes she needed for the IN THEIR SHOES™ exhibit, to match this tragic number of individuals aged 10 to 24 years old in Minnesota who die by suicide each year. She also strived to represent the diverse cultures in her home state: moccasins to represent the large Native American population; shoes representing immigrants from Somalia and Minnesota's large Hispanic community; and hockey skates, hiking boots, baseball shoes and flip flops. "We get all seasons here and we have received eclectic donations," Melissa said.  

Mark Pellegrino's message and goal are to "Keep Hope Alive."
Also on display was a hanging exhibit of 1,000 origami cranes created by AIR's newest volunteer, Karen from North Carolina. "I met Tricia and others from AIR in DC while I was in a pretty bad place emotionally. Around the same time, I started making origami cranes as a form of kinesthetic meditation to center me," Karen said. "When I finished the last crane, I wished for the flock to take those emotional and mental burdens and lift them away. I wish for anyone and everyone who struggles or has ever struggled with mental illness, who have loved ones they are supporting or whom they've lost, to be graced with some reprieve."

The event featured Scarlett Taylor, who sings about mental health issues and how to break through depression. She is sponsored by Borderline Musick, which is named after bipolar disorder and focuses on good mental health. 
 While these parts of the event were planned, along with speeches from Melissa, Tricia and Katelyn, a very welcome surprise was the appearance of Jared Padalecki, one of the main stars of Supernatural who has been supporting AIR through his Always Keep Fighting campaign for more than a year.  
Dr. Lynn Zubernis, a clinical psychologist and professor at West Chester University, spoke at the event. She has studied the phenomena of fandom and written several books. Two of her most recent books are Fangasm, the story of a five-year road trip through fandom, including adventures at Supernatural conventions; and Fan Phenomena: Supernatural, a series that features chapters written by Supernatural fans and cast and crew members.

This new poster for the IN THEIR SHOES exhibit features an inspiring quote from Jared PadaleckI: "Today is going to be a fight, but I AM GOING TO FIGHT." Jared's shoes from the 4th -8th seasons of Supernatural with the message, "Always Keep Fighting" are on the table along with shoes donated by his co-star Jensen Ackles and Mark Pellegrino's friend's boots.

AIR's MN Chapter Launch Featured in NJ Press
Click here to read an article about the Minnesota chapter launch that was published online by Community Bullet and printed in the Times of Trenton earlier in August.

Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Events
Please check your calendars for the following events where volunteers -- both people and therapy dogs -- are needed and e-mail Tricia at if you are available to help out. Thank you so much!

AIR Awareness Event
Thursday, August 25th, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Rider University Resource Fair for Resident Advisors
2083 Lawrence Road, Bart Leduke Center, Cavalla Room BLC #40, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Volunteers and Therapy Dog Teams needed.

Who Let The Therapy Dogs Out?
Wednesday, August 31st, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
90 Minute presentation on therapeutic support dogs, in partnership with Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital and Live and Learn Dogs
830 Route 202/206 North
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Open to the Public
Volunteers and Therapy Dog Teams needed.

Friday, September 10th, Setup 10:00 AM, Event 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Ocean County College, College Drive, Toms River 08754
Volunteers and Therapy Dog Teams needed.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Classes
Part 1 Friday September 9th, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Part 2 Saturday, September 10th, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
707 Alexander Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
Click here to register.

AIR and NJAMHAA's Fourth Annual National Suicide Prevention Day Conference, Back to School: Take a Breath
Presented in partnership with the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies
Monday September 12th, 8:30 AM to 1:00PM
New Jersey Department of Children and Families, New Jersey Child Welfare Training Academy, 30 Van Dyke Avenue, CC#967, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Click here to register.
Therapy Dog Teams needed.

AIR Awareness at the Supernatural Convention Dallas
Wednesday, September 14th through Sunday, September 18th
Westin Park Central Hotel, 12720 Merit Drive, Dallas, TX 

Tuesday, September 20th, Setup 10:00 AM, Event 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Mercer County Community College (MCCC)
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550
Volunteers and Therapy dog teams needed.

Coming Up for AIR
, Freshman Spirituality Day

Wednesday, September 21st, 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Notre Dame High School, 601 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrence, NJ
Volunteers and Therapy dog teams needed.

AIR Awareness at Pet Emergency & First Aid Seminar, in partnership with the Bridgewater Veterinarian Hospital and Live and Learn Dogs
Wednesday, September 21st at 6:30 PM
Bridgewater Veterinarian Hospital, 830 Route 202/206 North, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Register at 908-704-6700.
Public welcome Click here for more details. 
Volunteers and Therapy Dog Teams needed.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Classes in partnership with Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital
Part 1 Friday, September 23rd, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Part 2 Friday, September 30th, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital, 830 Route 202/206 North, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Open to the Public- Click here to register.

Begin your journey to join the AIR Dog: Paws for Minds Therapy Dog Team!
AIR Dogs Therapy Dog Classes begin Saturday, September 24th  
Week 1 Intro class is 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM  
Miki says, "It's cool to be an AIR Dog!"

Evaluation Class is 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM
Contact for more information  

Wednesday, September 28th, Times TBD
Volunteers and Therapy Dog Teams needed
Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430

AIR Awareness at NAMI NJ's Harvest of Hope Conference
AIR will be exhibiting and Co-Founder Tricia Baker will be participating in the "Channeling Despair into Positive Action" Panel  at 1:15 PM
Saturday, October 1st, 8:30 Am to 3:00 PM
$15 Fee
Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, 2688 Main Street (Route 206), Lawrenceville, NJ

AIR thanks Jared Padalecki, Mark Pellegrino, Clif Kosterman of the Supernatural Crew, Fans of Supernatural and all AIR volunteers for your support!