Award Nomination Form
The Alternatives Conference offers life-changing opportunities to those in the mental health peer-recovery movement. It helps mental health consumer/survivors make valuable connections, develop leadership skills, provide and receive peer support, and share expertise and resources. We honor those who have paved the way, provided leadership in promoting recovery, and kept the Alternatives Conference alive for three decades. We welcome emerging leaders and those who are new to the peer movement to this conference.

Below are descriptions of each award. Please submit your nominations by July 10, 2018..

Cookie Grant and Bill Compton LGBTQ Leadership Award
The Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBTQ Leadership Award is rooted in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) caucusing at Alternatives conferences since 1985. From secret to official, people proclaimed their place of competence and prominence in the mental health consumer/survivor civil rights movement. The award recognizes leadership in a journey of coming out to make it safe to be proud and diverse. It was first given at Alternatives 2007 in St. Louis, in memory of Bill Compton of California and Cookie Gant of Michigan, who led by example when it wasn’t safe to be “out.”
Youth and Young Adult Peer Leadership Award
Alternatives wishes to stand tall with our emerging leaders and honor a youth or young adult who is exceling in this sector with their leadership to engage more youth and young adults and who is working on continually changing the system to be person directed and recovery, health and wellness focused.
Esperanza Hope Award
In honoring contributing members of our community, Alternatives has presented the Esperanza Hope Award to a consumer/survivor/peer of color who has expanded the idea of cultural competency and done exceptional work within the mental health and peer support community. Esperanza was a nationally and internationally recognized Latino leader, who often attended Alternatives. She is credited with starting Casa La Esperanza, the first clubhouse for Latino consumer/survivors in New York City. This award is given in the spirit of her leadership and perseverance in advancing cultural diversity issues for people of color who are consumers/survivors.
Howie the Harp Arts Award
Howie the Harp (1953-1995), a leader of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement, created peace with his music, playing his harmonica wherever he went. He was a founder of Altered States of the Arts, a national network for artists, writers, and performers, and was the emcee at Alternatives Conference talent shows. Howie was a longtime advocate for the arts in the consumer movement. We honor the work he did by presenting an award in his memory to a person who has carried on that tradition.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The lifetime achievement award is given to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the consumer/survivor/peer movement throughout the course of their career
Judi Chamberlin Joy in Advocacy Award
This award is joyfully dedicated to recognizing an individual who has made enormous achievements in bringing hope into the lives of persons with lived experience and advancing the field of disability rights advocacy. The award is given in memory of Judi Chamberlin (1944 - 2010), one of the co-founders of the National Empowerment Center and author of the groundbreaking book, On Our Own.
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