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In Our Community

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

07 May 2024

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. UGI is proud of our employees who speak up about mental health awareness and we are pleased to recognize Nina Judge, Bobby Judge, and Joe Jones for their efforts through the John Malvizzi Foundation.

Stopping the Stigma

The foundation was named after Nina Judge’s father John Malvizzi, who lived with bipolar disorder. His struggles with mental illness ultimately led him to end his life in July 2021 at the age of 57.

Family smiling together wearing green in support of Mental Health Awareness.
UGI Utilities employees Nina and Bobby Judge, and their family.

Nina (UGI Sr Construction Admin – Capital Projects) and Bobby (UGI Sr Manager Operations) saw a need for more support, awareness, and education surrounding the importance of mental health than currently exists. To bridge that gap, they established the John Malvizzi Foundation, which was registered as a nonprofit in February 2023. The John Malvizzi Foundation aims to provide families and communities with the resources needed to increase mental health awareness and improve their quality of life.

They recognized that the stigma surrounding poor mental health gets in the way of open conversations, leading to Nina and Bobby launching the “Clear Umbrella Project” as part of the foundation. The clear umbrella symbolizes transparency when discussing mental health and the ability to see through the stigma that often obscures people’s mental health struggles.

“The most significant challenge in reducing stigma is the understanding that mental illness and mental health are interconnected,” said Nina. “You can experience poor mental health without having a mental illness. Conversely, you can live with a mental illness and still maintain good mental health.”

Nina is finding that her message resonates with people. They approach her to express thanks for what she’s doing and ask to hear more about the foundation. Her colleagues are also aware of her story and actively support her cause, with several teams from UGI Utilities participating in events, and even one serving on the Board.

Expanding Beyond UGI and the Foundation

Joe Jones (UGI Operations Manager) serves on the Board for the John Malvizzi Foundation as the Secretary and is a big supporter and advocate for mental health and wellness.

Group at TV studio holding translucent umbrellas in support of Mental Health Awareness Month.
UGI Utilities employee Joe Jones, back row, third from left.

Currently, Joe is also a participant in the Leadership Northeast (LNE) Core Class of 2024. LNE is a nine-month core program designed for adult professionals to develop leadership skills and become more acquainted and involved within our community.

The Community and School Impact project component of LNE allows classmates to design and execute a project that fulfills a community need. Participants utilize the leadership development skills they have learned throughout the year, while making a positive impact on their community.

Joe’s Community Impact Project is “Team Up for Transparency,” which further supports the John Malvizzi Foundation through its inaugural Mental Health Awareness Week and free Mental Wellness Fair. The fair was held in Wilkes-Barre this past weekend, followed by a free stand-up comedy show. The event encouraged people to learn about local resources, and the comedy show brought people together to share the benefits of humor and laughter for mental health.

Leading up to the fair, Joe and his LNE team made their rounds to various businesses to raise awareness around mental health, and polled the businesses on how they support mental health and wellness. Photos were taken outside their workplace, holding clear umbrellas and sharing the message to speak openly about mental health struggles.

We are proud of Nina, Bobby, and Joe, and their advocacy for mental health awareness and education. Learn more about the John Malvizzi Foundation here.