As a part of the national Well Beings initiative, KCTS 9 has partnered with the WA Therapy Fund Foundation and The Root of Our Youth for a virtual event to address youth mental health and well-being. The event will center and support Black youth as they continue to build their power, and the friends, family and community that surround them. We’ll hear from national and local organizations and individuals who are addressing the mental health needs of Black youth every day. We will discuss barriers, reducing stigma and successful strategies for mental health and well-being within the Black community, featuring the testimony of teens and young adults with lived experience.
The content of the virtual event is appropriate for ages 13 and up.
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About the programming partners
Ashley McGirt, Founder & President, Washington Therapy Fund Foundation
Ashley McGirt, founder and President of the WA Therapy Fund, is a psychotherapist, TEDx international speaker, and author. Ashley received a Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Ashley works as a hospice therapist and operates her own private practice. In her private practice she focuses primarily on racial trauma, depression, and anxiety. Ashley actively works toward de-stigmatizing mental illness, and reducing high rates of recidivism in American prisons, in an attempt to create a more socially just society for all. Ashley strives to help others find happiness and healing within themselves through unpacking their baggage, resting, reflecting, and restoring themselves to be who they were intended to be on this earth.
Fernell Miller, Founder & CEO, The Root of Us/The Root of Our Youth
Fernell is the founder and CEO of The Root Of Us, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy and its youth subcommittee, The Root of Our Youth. She is also a Physical Educator in the public school system. As a 38th year veteran educator, Fernell is an education activist and community organizer for social change. Her strong commitment to disrupting the White narrative led her to develop mentorship and leadership programs for Black youth and young adults to help build community and support Black Student Unions in middle and high schools. She and her family are longtime residents of the Kenmore community where she continues to share her experience and expertise with young people, families and folks of all ages, ethnicities, races, cultures, genders and abilities.
About the Host
Deaunte Damper, Vice President of the WA Therapy Fund Foundation
Born in Seattle, WA, Damper has focused his work on bringing HIV awareness and LGBTQ-affirming education to marginalized communities throughout the City of Seattle. This started through his non-profit work at POCAAN as a Peer Navigator for the Department of Health. In April 2019, Damper made History as the NAACP’S first LGBTQIA Chair, the first in 110 years of the organization. In October 2019, Damper began as a Transitional Specialist for the Washington State Department of Corrections. And as of November 2019, he is Rainier Beach High School’s Black Student Union Advisor. He started a support group for young men of color, B.R.O.T.H.A (Blacks Recovering Overcoming Trauma Health and Awareness). Deaunte was recently named the Incoming Board Chair for Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County.
About the Panelists
Mia Dabney, Cleveland High School Student, NAACP Youth Council Member
Mia Dabney is a Junior at Cleveland High School and uses she/her pronouns. She is a member of the NAACP Youth Council. Ever since she was seven years old her goal in life was to leave this earth better than when she entered it. Getting the chance to speak about something so important to her, like mental health specifically regarding Black youth is a passion of hers. She states it’s a great way to dive deeper into this important conversation.
Kendrick Glover, Founder and the Executive Director of Glover EmpowerMentoring Program (G.E.M.)
Kendrick Glover is a Founder and Executive Director of Glover EmpowerMentoring Program (G.E.M.) serving males ages 13-21 with one-on-one and group mentoring in and around Kent, Washington. Working with the City of Kent and other community based organizations, G.E.M. seeks to provide mentoring, academic tutoring, and life skills. He holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Seattle University and a master’s in Education & Counseling from City University. He interned for Councilmember Larry Gossett and has worked as a mentor, school counselor and program manager for Puget Sound College & Career Network for the Puget Sound Educational Service District. He is currently an adjunct instructor for City University of Seattle, Albert School of Education-Masters of Education Program Guidance & Counseling.
SirKeenan Hart, O’Dea High School student, program participant with G.E.M
SirKeenan is a freshman at O’Dea High School and a member of the O’Dea Black Student Union. It’s been one of his goals to get into O’Dea High School since he was in the 5th grade, and he is proud to be a member of the fighting Irish Class of 2024. His When he was in elementary, his Dad told him that life is short, and to stand for something or fall for anything. So when he wakes up every morning, he makes sure he prioritizes his time, and takes advantage of every minute. His goal is to be better than he was yesterday!
Toni Williams, Mental Health Therapist in Renton, WA
Toni Williams is a black Christian therapist from Seattle, WA who believes “Every life has value, and everyone deserves to find their healing space.” Toni has a private practice in Renton, Washington with over nine years of experience working with individuals from all walks of life. Toni graduated from Grambling State University with a BA in Psychology, Sociology, & Early Childhood Education. She received her Master’s in Counseling & Psychology from City University of Seattle, specializing in Adult and Childhood Trauma; providing clients with tools and strategies to reclaim the trajectory of their lives. Toni uses Solution Based Therapy (SBT) and has worked in a variety of settings ranging from government, non-profit, K-12, and with families of all backgrounds, religions, and cultures.
About Local Organization Video Highlights:
Tayah Carlisle, Program Coordinator, Young Women Empowered
Tayah is the current Americorps Healthy Futures Program Coordinator at Young Women Empowered. She returned to her home, Seattle, after studying Sociology and Human Services at Loyola University Chicago. While in Chicago, Tayah’s work off and on the university’s campus reflected her passion for working with marginalized communities while cultivating a safe and brave space for growth and healing. She spent 3 years contributing to an intergenerational Womxn of Color collective on Loyola’s campus, facilitating workshops, developing retreats and developing long lasting relationships.
Maia Roundtree, Poet & Powerful Voices program participant
Maia Roundtree has been writing poetry since the 1st grade, and performing it since the 6th! It was her older brother, Carlos, who first inspired her to write because when with him, she never felt excluded and always felt “big”. That soon led her to write about topics such as activism, romance, and self-love. While attending Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Maia realized her passion for activism which led her to Powerful Voices. In fall of 2018, Maia first joined the Powerful Voices program, Activistas. During Activistas, Maia, and other participants worked on social justice topics and applied them to presentations! Maia currently is a sophomore at Franklin High school, and enjoys writing, sewing, and being an instrument of service to those in her community.
Eridon Stewart, Young Women Empowered program participant
Eridon Stewart is a 16 year old who just started her junior year of high school. She’s been a part of Y-WE Nature Connections for about 4 years. She loves filmmaking, writing and drawing. She’s passionate about the things she cares about, especially social justice. She doesn’t want to have to navigate a broken world, and she doesn’t want future generations to have to do so, either.