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MAY 16 & 17

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A creative approach to community conversation.

This FREE community event is designed to set the stage for dedicated conversation. Each night is filled with stories, poetry, spoken word, performances, and more. Join the conversation, discuss creative approaches to managing and healing, connect to local awareness/resource organizations, or just sit back and listen!

3130 N Rockwell Street Chicago, IL 60618

MONDAY, MAY 16 
MEN'S MENTAL HEALTH

5:30 - WELCOME 
6:00 - STORY (#HowMenCry)
6:15 - PANEL: Men's Mental Health
6:45 - BREAK - Song by Scott Hawksworth
7:30 - PERFORMANCE (Joe Weins)
8:30 - CONVERSATION

 

TUESDAY, MAY 17
GRIEF, LOSS & THERAPY

5:30 - WELCOME 
6:00 - STORY (Shelita Shaw)
6:15 - PANEL: Grief, Loss, & Therapy
6:45 - BREAK
7:30 - PERFORMANCE (Janki Mody)
8:30 - CONVERSATION

 

PERFORMERS

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Dxtr Spits
Spoken Word

As a spoken word artist, Dxtr Spits shares personal stories of struggle and growth. How Men Cry is the conversation that follows and the growing number of men joining the discussion. Instead of drinking it away, smoking it away, over working, distracting with hookups, joking about it, or running from it, How Men Cry is sitting with all that is unsaid. Through this transformative conversation, men are speaking their truth and proving vulnerability is a strength. They’re bearing witness to each other with compassion and changing the way they think about emotions. Healing begins by feeling and it begins with an invitation. How Men Cry is here to extend the invitation and to start the conversation. 

Monday
6:00PM

Scott Hawksworth
Musician

Scott Hawksworth considers music his lifelong hobby having sung and played piano since high school. He picked up the acoustic guitar at the age of 30. He continues to work on his songwriting and translating stories as well as emotions into appealing lyrics/melodies. The Erasing the Distance songwriting workshop provided the perfect outlet and challenge for him to continue his growth as a songwriter by incorporating CBT concepts and a platform to explore mental health.

Monday
6:45PM

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Joe Weins
Solo Show

Joe's solo show, titled "The Deep End", explores how music and connection can be essential to guiding us on our true path in life. Joe developed The Deep End with help from Amber Kelly, Lou Contey, and Sandy Shinner.

Monday
7:30PM

Shelita Shaw
Storyteller

Shelita will be performing a piece based on her own story. Shelita's performance reflects on growing up in a loving family, strong in their faith, and her journey into developing language around her mental health. As a leader and teacher by nature, she shares with honesty and authenticity about the power of journaling, prayer, and the deep connection between the mind and the body.  

Tuesday
6:00PM

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Janki Mody
Solo Show

Janki will be performing a 35 minute version of her solo show, exploring motherhood, infertility, and loss. 

Tuesday
7:30PM

PANELISTS

MONDAY, MAY 16 
MEN'S MENTAL HEALTH

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Dxtr Spits 
Founder of HowMenCry

Jordan “Dxtr Spits” Holmes is a jack of all trades, including a scientist/engineer, musician, spoken word artist, and entrepreneur. Holmes graduated from Virginia Tech where he got his degree as a Materials Science Engineer. Holmes is the Founder and CEO of “Onli Packs”, an apparel and backpack brand that utilizes art from local artists. He prioritizes community reinvestment and creates community support initiatives utilizing his company and brands.

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Joe Wiens 
Artist and Performer

Joe Wiens is a singer/songwriter/actor based in Chicago. Last year he released his debut album, Sounds of Isolation. He is a longtime ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater Company and has been nominated for 2 Jeff awards for acting. He has worked in underserved communities in Chicago for the past 8 years as a social worker for Thresholds Mental Health Agency. 

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Nick Thomas
Co-Founder and COO of HIYMH

"I sat down for my first therapy session in 2017. It took me about 4 months to find a therapist and another 4 to set an appointment. My life changed once I was able to understand my anxiety and what potential triggers would lead me to feeling overwhelmed, not in control and/or unmotivated. My goal for our organization is to give you and/or someone that you love the same opportunity to get to know yourself as I did."

TUESDAY, MAY 17
GRIEF, LOSS & THERAPY

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Dana Black 
Founder and Host of "I Swear On My Mother's Grave" Podcast

Dana Black (she/her) is a professional union TV/film/voiceover actor based in Chicago, and also the creator/producer and host of the 5-star reviewed Apple podcast "I Swear on My Mother's Grave". The podcast is full of bold, funny, vulnerable conversations about the loss of our complicated mothers...and not just in death. Dana believes that there is great healing power in storytelling, listening to others without judgment, making sure people feel seen and safe, and laughing while crying. She also loves a good iced, oat milk latte.

Shelita Shaw
Owner of SMS Consults

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Shelita Shaw is a tenured professor who has been teaching for 20 years. She is currently on a sabbatical throughout the rest of 2022 to address/research Mental Health in Higher Education. Her goal is to take this time to nurture a better understanding of the way young adults, specifically ages 18-25, experience mental health; then help train their minds to “go the other way” (a slogan she is infamous for on her campus).  More specifically, Shelita would like to teach them this simple truth that has impacted her own life: Wherever the mind goes, the body follows. 

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Janki Mody
Artist and Performer

Janki will be joining the panelist as an expert in her personal experience and an advocate for processing grief in a peer-to-peer setting. Following the panel she will be performing a 35-minute version of her solo show, exploring motherhood, infertility, and loss. 

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Jill Wolf
Owner of Wolfpack Therapy

Jill (she/they), is a licensed clinical social worker and Executive Director of Wolf Pack Therapy. She is a clinician, an educator, a healer, and a consultant. They are a therapist who sees a therapist, whose therapist sees a therapist. I understand what it is like to actively be in both seats as I support folks in doing the work. For the past 14 years, she has maintained a small private therapy practice. After two decades in the nonprofit workforce, they decided to leave and build Wolf Pack Therapy. Their goal is to focus exclusively on building mental health services that are normalized, prioritized, and accessible.

Emily Drake
Owner and CEO of The Collective Academy 

Before you know it, Emily has you feeling like you can do anything. Some say it’s because she’s a licensed mental health counselor, but it’s really just who she is. She asks the questions that get you to the answers that lead you to believe in possibilities, including that your investment in the humans who work with you is more than worth it. An ardent supporter of diversity in leadership, Emily is as happy to lift others up as she is to speak up, and thrives on work with women in particular. She has a BA from Augustana College and an MA from Northeastern Illinois University.

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Andy Swindler
Co-founder and Chief Empathy Officer of FeelReal

Andy (he/him) is a social entrepreneur, community organizer, abolitionist, and mental health advocate. He works and plays at the intersection of embodiment, healing, purpose, and social justice. Andy coaches via Lead From Love and co-founded FeelReal, an ecosystem of Spaceholders who connect deeply in authentic community to shift the dominant culture from fear to love. Andy is immersed in mutual aid, houseless, and restorative justice communities around Chicago. He writes and speaks about social justice and authentic expression, and co-authored the book, U Empath You.

Aaron Smith
Owner of Escaping the Odds

Aaron is a native of the South Side of Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Columbia College Chicago, and it wasn’t long after that he began his journey within the criminal justice system. In 2009, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. He was released after nine years and five months in February 2019. With his belief In God and a lot of hard work, his focus was to live out his passion of entrepreneurship and make an impact through his media company, Escaping the Odds. In December 2019, Aaron launched the Escaping the Odds podcast to build his social capital and tell amazing stories of redemption through business. Aaron was awarded the 2021 Media for a Just Society Award in the podcast/radio category.

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Jill Wolf
Owner of Wolfpack Therapy

Jill (she/they), is a licensed clinical social worker and Executive Director of Wolf Pack Therapy. She is a clinician, an educator, a healer, and a consultant. They are a therapist who sees a therapist, whose therapist sees a therapist. I understand what it is like to actively be in both seats as I support folks in doing the work. For the past 14 years, she has maintained a small private therapy practice. After two decades in the nonprofit workforce, they decided to leave and build Wolf Pack Therapy. Their goal is to focus exclusively on building mental health services that are normalized, prioritized, and accessible.

RESOURCE TABLES

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"How Is Your Mental Health" (hiymh) is a mental health service that provides people with mental health resources, and normalizes mental health among all individuals.

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"Wolf Pack Therapy" provides accessible mental health services to people in order to normalize and prioritize mental health care.

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"How Men Cry" is a collective seeking to change the narrative around men's mental health by sharing honest stories in safe spaces.

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Halcyon Counseling and Psychotherapy Services provides one-on-one tele-mental health for adults using cognitive behavioral therapy, creative approaches, and humor to treat symptoms of grief, stress, anxiety, depression, and other concerns.

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"DBSA" provides accessible mental health services to people in order to normalize and prioritize mental health care.

"In Touch & Motion" offers a range of counseling and services aiming to help people find the right balance of support and opportunities to meet their needs.

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ADDITIONAL INFO

FOOD AND DRINK

Food will be provided by Dozzy's Grill: Modern West African cuisine that awakes all the senses.
*Cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

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PARKING

There is limited street parking, so we recommended using public transit or rideshare. There is also a divvy station and bike rack directly in front of the space, riding a bike is an option.

HOST A RESOURCE TABLE

We are inviting local mental health-related organizations to table the event. Send a representative from your organization along with any handouts, giveaways, and merchandise to sell at your table. Spread the word about the work you do, and possibly identify new volunteers and donors. 

GET INVOLVED

We are actively welcoming volunteers who are interested in assisting with the event. If you can't make it, but would like to donate or support in another way, we would love to chat with you.