The goal of the NPGA is to provide problem gambling awareness training and education to all corners of the state of Minnesota. One way it accomplishes this mission is through an evolving and growing speaker’s network.

The speaker’s network is led by Susan Campion, LADC, Northstar’s new training manager who joined the organization in January. Susan is a nationally certified gambling counselor and a member of the Minnesota problem gambling treatment network.

A longtime advocate for special needs children, Susan is also particularly sensitive to the plight of problem gamblers. “I see problem gamblers as being lopped off from the rest of the world,” says Susan. “You don’t hear a lot of people talking about gambling addictions as they do with other addictions. Yet, with treatment, problem gamblers can be giving, contributing members of society.”

Susan’s role is to ensure that Northstar’s roster of problem gambling professionals and people in recovery are available to connect with communities through a variety of outreach events. “We want to get the word out about problem gambling to help people understand the complexities of the addiction and how and where to get help.”

Speakers from the Northstar speakers network are available to discuss problem gambling with any number of community groups and organizations. Recent programs have included talks to Rotary and Kiwani’s groups, the Optimists Club, Metro State University students and several faith groups. The speaker’s network team also provides training to professionals such as lawyers, addiction counselors and corrections officials.

“There is so much that isn’t being done about problem gambling,” says Susan. “We want to talk to as many people in the community as possible to educate them about this serious addiction.”

Programs are generally offered free of charge, though donations to the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance are always welcome. For a listing of upcoming speaker network events, please consult the NPGA website at http://www.northstarproblemgambling.org/events/.