We had the good fortune of connecting with Marilee Albert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marilee, what principle do you value most?
I value service and giving back. I also value the art of being the change you want to see in the world. As I’ve gotten older and my kids have gotten to the age where they don’t need as much of my time, I felt like it was time for me to walk the walk.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For years I focused on raising my kids and writing screenplays and novels. It was a wonderfully creative and personally satisfying period. But over time, I began to feel the need to reach out – to become part of the change I wanted to see in the world. I started One Village Green because I saw a lack of support for families dealing with youth mental health issues. Our children are our greatest resource. My goal, and that of my army of concerned parents, mental health professionals, and educators, is simple – to improve the quality of their lives. If the terrifying rise in youth suicide, mass shootings and homelessness weren’t bad enough, we now have an exploding mental health crisis arising from the Covid19 pandemic. One Village Green will promote mental health and wellness in 3 ways: we’ll create content (our first project, Pandemic Blues, will examine the effect of the pandemic on our youth), provide direct grants to families in need of mental health care, and lobby for change (insurance laws and suicide prevention to start) at both the state and federal levels. How did I get here? Most families, at some point, deal with a mental health crisis. Mine is no different. There has also been, in my family tree, people who suffered mental health issues with little intervention. It’s always been a fixation of mine – mental health – but for some reason getting help for mental health is still stigmatized. As a mother of two teen boys, I’m particularly concerned about this. Removing stigma will go a long way toward convincing kids to reach out for help. As a writer, I’ve always been interested in the psychology of my characters. In the past I’ve explored darker subjects – crime and abnormal psychology – but now I’m excited to move into more life-affirming content with One Village Green. All of us should be concerned that most psychiatrists don’t take insurance, that there is a shortage of psychologists in the U.S., and that insurance companies still don’t pay for mental health on par with other services. Whether you are a parent or not, the mental health of our kids is reflective of our collective well-being, and should be a societal priority.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One day we’d go to Malibu and take a beach walk, then dine at either Sunset Restaurant on Zuma Beach, or at Geoffrey’s, where we’d watch the sun set over the water. It’s a standard for any LA visit. Another day we’d take a short visit to either Lacma or The Getty then go to the Griffith Park Observatory before eating dinner at Musso and Frank – a classic. We might take a few days to visit Joshua Tree and hike, then spend the night at Two Bunch Palms and sit in a mud bath. No visit to So Cal is complete without getting out to the desert. We’d also have to go somewhere east of Western for Mexican food one night, Thai town for another, or Monterey Park for Chinese. Lots of dining options. It’s also de rigueur for crime buffs to go on a little LA driving tour. My husband knows where all the famous crimes happened, so we’d take him along as the tour guide. A hike in Chesebro Canyon or Malibu Creek is also a good plan. Or a drive up the coast to Santa Barbara for the day. Even better, a day trip for wine tasting in Los Olivos.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my mom, an unsung hero who dedicated her life to service – specifically to protecting the well-being of children in the foster care system in Los Angeles.