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The Joy Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit, grassroots organization based on the philosophy of using real-world, workable solutions to end the epidemic of eating disorders. We work towards reducing the rate and severity of eating disorders by supporting and conducting research, education, and support programs.

Free Eating Disorder Support Group Meetings in St Paul and Minneapolis

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Change Your Pace 5k Logo
Join the Joy Project in challenging social pressures and living in the moment!
Walk, don’t run, in our unique 5k event. We invite you to listen to your body, stop and smell the roses, and chat with friends as you walk or skip, rather than compete for the fastest time. Eating disorders thrive in a culture that prizes appearance, productivity, and material wealth over health and wellbeing. Join the Joy Project in a celebration of individuality and empowerment, as we throw aside external pressures and strut our stuff in whatever way we prefer! 

While we won’t be timing you, we will be giving PRIZES to the highest fund raisers and best costumes! Dress as your own challenge to the breakneck pace and unrealistic standards set by the media and societal pressure- for example, you could dress as a broken scale or someone who came in 25th place (One of our staffers plans to run the entire distance backwards!). Or, come as you are- costumes are entirely optional.

Date, Time and Location
Saturday, October 8th, 2011 @ 10:00 AM local time
Como Lake Park, 1360 N Lexington Parkway St. Paul, MN 55103

Event Theme

Eating disorders thrive in a culture that prizes appearance, productivity, and material wealth over health and wellbeing.
Join the Joy Project in a celebration of individuality and empowerment, as we throw aside external pressures and strut our stuff in whatever way we prefer! Walk, donít run, in our unique 5k event. We invite you to listen to your body, stop and smell the roses, chat with friends, and enjoy the moment as you walk or skip, rather than compete for the fastest time.

Registration Fees

$5 for Basic Registration
Donate or raise $25 or more to get a T-shirt
Donate or raise $50 or more to get a T-shirt and water bottle

Online Registration

Change Your Pace 5k registration

Mail-In Registration
If you prefer to mail in your registration, print out the Mail-In Registration Form, fill it out, and mail it in.
You may also register at the event for $25.
Awards and Prizes!
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Best Costumes
Dress as your own challenge to the breakneck pace and unrealistic standards set by the media and societal pressure (for example, you could dress as a broken scale or someone who came in 25th place). Or come as you are, costumes are entirely optional.

Highest Fundraisers

YOU can help us broaden and deepen the impact of the Joy Project by joining our walk and actively raising money on our behalf.
You can easily set up your own personalized Change Your Pace page after registering online. With this page, send a personalized email to your family, friends, and co-workers to invite them to support you, and set and keep track of your goals! You can also set up team fundraising pages!

Can't Make it to the Event?
We are making it possible to participate in the Change Your Pace 5k Walk/Run event on October 8th, 2011 from a remote location. You are welcome to register online. You will still be eligible for PRIZES! Fundraising prizes work the same way, regardless of location. To enter the costume contest, just send us a picture of you walking with your costume prior to October 6th, 2011. If you have any questions feel free to email

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Photos from our Change Your Pace 5k Walk/Run, October 16th, 2010!
Registration- Walk to Fight Eating Disorders Walkers on the 5k Event Course
Change Your Pace 5k Walk Logo

What a fun and inspiring day! Great weather, an enthusiastic crowd, and lots of inspiration all around!
See more photos from the event
View even more pictures on our Facebook page!

One of our most important missions at the Joy Project is to assist those who suffer from eating disorders in getting their voices heard. As some of you may know, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is currently in the process of reconsidering the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders, which will be published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders- V in 2012. We believe that a crucial part of this process is consideration of the negative impact that the current criteria may have from the perspective of the patients themselves.
We had asked people to share with us their concerns and suggestions regarding the DSM criteria, and how changes to the criteria might affect them. The response was amazing! We collected nearly 4,000 signatures on our online petition, and hundreds more signatures on paper and via other websites. We received numerous letters about personal experiences of how the current diagnostic criteria affected people in terms of insurance coverage, treatment-seeking, and playing into ED-thinking.
We delivered stacks of comments, signatures, study info, and personal appeals to members of the DSM Eating Disorder Criteria Revision Committee. Thanks to all who participated! We'll be monitoring the progress of the DSM committees, and hope to see some positive changes!

A New Resource for Finding the RIGHT Treatment Program
We are happy to announce the official launch of our online Treatment Directory! This directory includes treatment centers throughout the United States that specialize in eating disorders. Of course you'll find contact information for each center, but we didn't stop there! We've given treatment centers the opportunity to be specific about their program structure, rules & guidelines, requirements for participation, areas of specialty, and more. Find it here: Online ED Treatment Directory

On September 10, 2009, The Joy Project hosted a very special event! Our moderated panel discussion brought together eating disorder Survivors, Researchers, and Treatment Providers, for a mutual exchange of ideas, observations, and experiences.
Among the panelists were authors Jocelyn Golden and Shannon Cutts, Binge Eating Disorder Association Director Chevese Turner, FREED Foundation and EDC Policy Director Kathleen MacDonald, and members of our own support groups.
This collaborative dialogue brought together stakeholders on all sides of the process to speak freely about the state of eating disorders treatment, and forged new partnerships to strengthen the fight against eating disorders.
The video from the discussion can be viewed on YouTube: Panel Discussion Video
(We're working on adding tags to the content to help identify topics of discussion for each section)

YANA Volume 2 CoverYou Are Not Alone- Volume 2 is a collection of stories of recovery and hope, compiled by Andrea Roe with Shannon Cutts. Included in this book is the Founder of The Joy Project's own personal story of recovery. This book is available through, and all profits from sales will be donated to The Joy Project and MentorCONNECT. MentorCONNECT is an organization, founded by Shannon Cutts, that matches people in recovery with a recovered 'mentor'.
This is an amazing book, and every purchase helps to support the development of resources for people in recovery.

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New Site Content!
Check out the Grounding Techniques page for in-depth description of strategies that can be used to fight "automatic" symptom use, and to help you re-claim your focus once you've already been triggered

SAMHSA and TJP Partnering for Consumer-Driven Discussion of EDs
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services, Office of Consumer Affairs, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, has invited The Joy Project to participate in its "Food For Thought" series. The purpose of the series is to provide information on issues faced by consumers of various mental health services, in order to provoke discussion, increase understanding, and outline paths for future change. The Joy Project will be representing consumers of Eating Disorders treatment services this December at a presentation at the SAMHSA offices in Rockville, MD.

Jessica Weiner Honors The Joy Project with her "Actionist of the Month" Award
Best-selling author, advice columnist and self-esteem expert Jessica Weiner has honored The Joy Project and Andrea Roe (Author of You are Not Alone) as Actionists of the Month on This honor is given to individuals and organizations who have led by example and inspired others to take action to make the world a better place.

Announcing our 2008 Board of Directors
We are very excited to announce the results of our elections for our Board of Directors for 2008! Previous board members- Joy Nollenberg, Serena Iacono, Justin Novak, and MJ Gilbert- will now be joined by a few other fantastic individuals:
Leslie Murray, MD, MPH, has a wide variety of personal and professional experience in the field of eating disorders. She is a fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, and her special area of interest is eating disorders in minority populations.
Renee Worke, JD is a district judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Along with her tremendous professional achievements, she is also active in various community organizations and advisory boards.
Tracey Sullivan, J.D. has been involved with various activities and non-profit organizations, including public school mentoring projects, tutoring reading and language arts to children and adults, senior community outreach programs, and coaching self-improvement skills to clients served by a battered women's shelter.

Good Neighbor Award
Executive Director Joy Nollenberg was the recipient of WCCO Radio's "Good Neighbor Award" on November 2, 2007. The Good Neighbor Award is awarded to individuals who have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to the greater good through volunteering. Congrats, Joy!

New Downloadable Site Content!
* You can download a Volunteer Registration Form and submit it to us via email or mail! Click here: Volunteer Application
* Add Our Eating Disorder Awareness Banners to your personal website or myspace profile!
Eating Disorder Awareness Banners
* Tools for Recovery

The Joy Project's Director is 'Inspiring Woman of the Month' on!
Eating Disorder Information is a site created and run by Andrea Roe, author of "You Are Not Alone: The Book of Companionship For Women Struggling With Eating Disorders. Joy's story will be featured in the August issue of the You Are Not Alone email support letter. If you would like to sign up for Andrea's inspirational newsletter, visit the site at

Our trip to Washington, DC was a success !!!
Joy, Congressman Jim Ramstad, and Serena meet in Washington DC to discuss Mental Health ParityWe met with Congressman Jim Ramstad (representing our home state of Minnesota), who is leading the battle, along with Patrick Kennedy, to get Mental Health Parity laws passed in every state. He had a great recovery story of his own, and we will be staying in contact as we work together towards better access to treatment as well as better quality of treatment programs.   

We attended the Mental Health America National Conference, where we were able to attend workshops aimed at organizations working to reduce stigma and increase treatment possibilities for those affected by mental health issues. We met members of other organizations that we plan to collaborate with in the future. 
The Joy Project's Assistant Director, Serena Iacono, was honored with an mPower Youth award at the closing dinner ceremony.  
We were also invited to participate in focus groups with Mental Health America, and had the opportunity to socialize with some amazing people that were fellow award winners at the conference.
We are so thankful to Mental Health America and mPower for sponsoring the trip and making the week exciting and productive for us. We are also grateful to Congressman Ramstad and his assistants for meeting with us and for his willingness to continue working with us in the future. Thanks also to the many wonderful people who also attended the conference, and who continue to work towards our shared goal of better mental health care for all who need it!

We're Heading to Washington, DC !!!
The Joy Project's Assistant Director, Serena Iacono, has been chosen to receive an mPower award in recognition for her contributions to the field of mental health through her personal life as well as her work for The Joy Project. The mPower Outstanding Youth Awards are awarded to individuals between the ages of 13-23 who have done outstanding work in using their own life and experiences to help combat the stigma of mental health. The awards will be presented at the annual conference for Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association)
Serena Iacono and The Joy Project's Executive Director, Joy Nollenberg, will receive a free trip to the MHA National Conference on June 6-9th, 2007, where Serena will be presented with the award. During their trip, both will have a chance to speak with legislators on Capitol Hill.
Congrats, Serena!

03.30.07Eating Disorder Awareness Bracelet
New Eating Disorder Awareness Bracelets Now Available
Women For Hope is now selling eating disorder awareness
bracelets.10% of the proceeds will be donated to The Joy
Project. The bracelets are high-quality, made with Swarovski
crystals. Please visit for more
info or to purchase a bracelet.

03.06.07Joy Project volunteers at a fundraising event
Thank you to everyone who participated in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week activities!

Despite the huge snowstorm that shut down everything for a day or two, the week was a success! A big THANK YOU to Serena Iacono for coordinating NEDAW, and thank you as well to Francesca Heir, Olivia Tise, Justin Novak, Allie Michelson, Lauren Eriksson, Heather Dombrovski, Angela Fugleberg, Ilyssa Siegel, and Angela Studt for lending a hand and helping to support the cause! We appreciate it!

Our Director featured on FM107

Joy Nollenberg, FM107 Get Real Girl of the WeekFM107 is a radio station in the Twin Cities area. The Get Real Girls airs every Saturday morning from 8-10am on that station. Every week, the nominate one person from the community to be their 'Get Real Girl of the Week'. They have chosen The Joy Project's Director, Joy Nollenberg, as a weekly Get Real Girl! Joy was interviewed via telephone during the show on Saturday, February 24th.

Article on The Joy Project featured on

Check out the article that Lori Henry wrote about The Joy Project for her column: Intro and Article Lori Henry is the author of Silent Screams, among other popular works.

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PO Box 16488, St Paul, MN 55116