The Well of PBC / Dec 2021 Issue

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DEC 2021

A Second Chance at Belonging A Youth Mentor Builds Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Women & Resiliency at Work

A Community Approach to Cancer Soldiers Fighting in Solidarity

Deserving The Prize of Self-Worth

Dare to be Stronger Create Your Resilience Routine

Group Therapy A Journey to Healing





HOPE 06 DEALING Feature Story

06 10







A Community Approach to Cancer Deserving

Dare to be Stronger


REAL 24 THE Culture of Health Prize NEWS 25 BEWELLPBC Presenting at APHA

Conference & Couch Conversations new podcast episode

TALK 26 CORNER 5 Areas of The County

Sharing Evoked Holiday Emotions.






Bringing Hope to Palm Beach County Survivors of Domestic Violence


DEPTH 22 THE Group Therapy: A Journey to




A Second Chance at Belonging

SOURCE 20 THE Getting Your Questions


WORD 28 THE Energy Healing as a Self-care


Letter From The Editor W

armest Wishes! We have to begin by thanking each one of you who helped make our first edition such a welcomed success. We got such great feedback! We heard from readers who learned of new resources, a contributor that got a speaking engagement from a reader who saw his article, and an overall sense of inclusion. In keeping with our vision to be the primary behavioral health resource created by and for residents, professionals, system change leaders, providers, and other sectors of Palm Beach County, we felt we are off to a great start in creating an open line of communication. It’s been such a warm welcome, and we want to remind everyone that you have a place here in this publication. You don’t have to be a professional writer or artist to share. This edition wanted to open the dialogue about resiliency and the importance of belonging in healing. Hopefully, our contributors’ emotions, advice, expertise, points of view, art, and questions will help you learn something new, feel connected, and resonate with, especially during the holidays when the season can evoke many powerful emotions. We welcome feedback to be sent to the email below. Lastly, we are now accepting advertisements. So much intention goes into each edition, including the accessibility of an online publication and the care to reach all of our Palm Beach County neighbors. We welcome advertisers that mirror that effort and share in our vision:

To be the primary resource for behavioral health and wellness for Palm Beach County, a safe exchange space for community and an outlet for our neighbors and stakeholders to transform the behavioral health landscape.

For more advertising information, contributing, or sharing feedback, reach out to us at

Julie Khanna

Julie Khanna, Editor-in-Chief




The Mission The Well of PBC is an online publication that serves to be the primary resource for behavioral health and wellness for Palm Beach County, a safe exchange space for the community, and an outlet for our neighbors and stakeholders to transform the behavioral health landscape. So, what does that mean to you? It means we not only want to be your go-to place for all things behavioral health topics, but we want to tell your stories too! We are looking for freelance photographers (willing to barter) and writers to contribute to our art, ask the experts, youth, self-care, cultural, spiritual, and provider columns. Email us for our contributor guidelines, editorial calendar, or if you’d like to share an event or position you’re hiring for. E: | Follow along at @thewellofpbc



Our Team BeWellPBC Creative Team:



Lauren is the Executive Director for the countywide initiative, BeWellPBC, advancing behavioral health and wellness for all residents in Palm Beach County. The Well of PBC is a passion project for Lauren to increase behavioral health awareness, engage diverse perspectives across the county, and promote solutions to address our county’s most complex challenges.

Freslaine is the Project Coordinator for BeWellPBC and a passionate advocate of behavioral health. She leads and serves alongside a talented group of residents committed to advancing what behavioral health looks like for all in Palm Beach County to feel hopeful, supported, connected, and empowered.

BeWellPBC wants to give a special thank you to additional creative team members: Vanessa Moss, Alexa Lee and Lety Gonzalez who were instrumental in the vision and implementation of this publication. We are here with the help of their desire for tangible solutions for community needs.

Vanessa Moss

Alexa Lee

JULIE KHANNA Editor-in-Chief


Julie, CEO of Khanna Connections, enjoys using her creativity to help health and wellness industries communicate with their audiences.

Surej, founder of Photography by Sunman, is the creative visionary that brings life into each page, concept, visual and digital design of The Well of PBC publication.



Katrina, founder & CEO of Unity3 Palm Beach, brings her executive advertising background combined with her love of faith, family, and this vibrant multicultural community to The Well of PBC and BeWellPBC.

Melanie, president of Otero Communications, provides consulting services for some of Palm Beach County’s leading nonprofit organizations. With a special interest in behavioral health, she has assisted with the launch of The Well of PBC and serves as a contributing writer.

Lety Gonzalez

The information in this issue of The Well of PBC is for information purposes only. The Well of PBC assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The information contained about each individual, company, product or organization has been provided by such individual, company, product or organization without verification by us. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Well of PBC. Therefore, The Well of PBC carries no responsibility for the opinion expressed therein. Any form of reproduction of any content on this magazine without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. © 2021 The Well of PBC All rights reserved.




Dealing Hope A Youth Mentor Builds Resilience in the Face of Adversity BY MELANIE OTERO PHOTO CREDIT : OMAR DIXON / IG HANDLE @MRODIXON


eventeen-year-old Javen Bennett learned how to recognize the sound of fireworks vs. gunfire at an early age. Growing up in the Tamarind Avenue area of West Palm Beach, FL, violence and trauma characterized his neighborhood and hope was in short supply.

That “anything” could be a shooting down the street where a stray bullet landed in the playground. A police chase where you are mistaken for someone else. Or a gunshot that ends the life of a friend you had played football with just an hour before.

out of school,” he said. “It takes a person to be strong minded to believe they won’t be trapped in the hood forever. And it takes that one person to lead for others to follow and say, ‘if he can do it, I can do it.’”

“There was a time I couldn’t walk down the street with headphones on because I had to constantly pay attention,” Bennett said. “Anything could happen at any minute.”

Bennett recognizes how community trauma undermines individual and community resilience. “A lot of us had the mindset that we wanted to be something in life, but because of the neighborhood, we got sucked into gang life, dope and dropping


“ 6


Bennett has become that person as a Hope Dealer® Mentor for Inner

It takes that one person to lead for others to follow


City Innovators in West Palm Beach, a nonprofit organization that focuses on mentoring, community engagement, anti-violence workshops, and other initiatives aimed at breaking the cycles of violence plaguing communities. But before he became a mentor, he was a mentee in need of guidance. Just three years ago, Bennett’s mentors, Ricky Aiken, founder and executive director of Inner City Innovators, and Norman Austin, programs director, were called almost daily by his school principal to pick him up because of fighting. Aiken and Austin had become surrogates, stepping in for Bennett’s mother who often traveled for work, and mentors who guided Bennett to discover and build his own resilience. Aiken and Austin are from Bennett’s community, known faces who are inspiring inner-city youth to embody the

Javen Bennett Photo Credit : Omar Dixon THE WELL OF PBC / DEC ISSUE 2021



FROM MENTEE TO MENTOR Bennett is exactly the type of youth leader Inner City Innovators seeks for their Hope Dealer Mentors—an on the ground agent of change who believes that real change happens when the people who need it, lead it. He is a constant presence to his twelve mentees ages 13-18, holding them accountable for attending school and keeping up their grades, having meals together, taking them to the gym for a workout, and hosting two-hour group conversations every Wednesday, a place where Bennett sees real progress. “The first week, they won’t participate, the second week they give simple one or two-word answers, but by the fourth change so desperately needed in their communities to eradicate youth delinquency and gun violence. Bennett knew he wanted—and needed—to become a part of a Hope Dealer Mentoring Clique, groups who meet on a weekly basis for mentoring and leadership development, and come together for community service and “get out of the hood” trips to places like Orlando. Under Aiken’s and Austin’s wings, the phone calls from the principal stopped, Bennett’s grades improved, he created a resume, got a job, and learned how to save his money. Bennett credits Aiken and Austin with believing in his potential and so much more. “Ricky and Norman taught me how to become a grown man, how to make good choices, what’s important in life, and about responsibility.” One of the greatest examples of Bennett demonstrating responsibility and resilience came in the form of getting to and from his job at Wingstop. He found himself without a ride one day, but rather than forgoing his shift, or asking for a ride (he was taught “not to ask people for things”) he walked the eight miles to get there. And when he didn’t have a ride home the following day, he walked again. When Aiken heard, he donated a car to Bennett. 8



week, they see how open we are, and they start to get comfortable and share. We get them to see that we’re family and we’re here to help.”

DEFINING RESILIENCE Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Some of the most powerful conversations come through “resonance,” a time when youth share an experience and how it resonated with them, and others can comment on how they had similar experiences. “In our community, when we have a problem, we’re told to stop talking about it, get over it,” Bennett said. “We show that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and step out of that zone.” Bennett looks to Aiken and Austin as the two people who stepped out to change the trajectory of his life and his community’s. “It took those two to make the change for others to follow along,” said Bennett. “Despite all the wrong in our neighborhood, people saw kids prospering and learning and believed Hope Dealers could change lives.” Now Bennett is the one changing lives. “I’ve learned that resiliency is facing adversity and trauma head on and being strong about it. I tell youth to take that chance, don’t be afraid. We’re here to help you become something in life.”

Hope Dealers is a hybrid mentoring program for inner-city males between the ages of 15 and 24 focused on leadership development, social/emotional learning, and community service. Ricky Aiken, founder and executive director of Inner City Innovators, has made it his life’s mission to inspire and empower inner-city youth to embody the change so desperately needed in their communities. Well known in West Palm Beach for his community activism, Aiken has found a way to use his life experiences and social capital to bring hope to his neighborhood and promote the value of resilience.

Source: American Psychological Association

WHAT IS JAVEN READING? Books on resilience and leadership: • • • • •

Make Your Bed ( ~William H. McRaven ) Leadership 101 ( ~ John C. Maxwell ) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (~ Stephen R. Covey ) Five for Your First Five ( ~ Allison E. McWilliams ) Book of Rhymes (~Adam Bradley)

To nominate someone for a behavioral health related feature story, send your suggestions to with “Feature Story” in the subject line.






ith a family history of cancer, I never thought I’d be directly impacted by cancer not once but twice within weeks. In October of 2005, my sole surviving parent, my mother, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Amid providing support financially and emotionally to my mother, I was dealt with another blow to my core. Two months later, I received my diagnosis of Stage II breast cancer. Can you imagine? I was a single mother to a teenage daughter and now my mother was perishing slowly before my eyes while I, too, was fighting for survival. I knew I wasn’t willing to be defeated by this monster. I couldn’t allow my loved ones to bear the burden of losing two maternal figures within months of each other. It was evident I only had one choice: Fight. I would fight for myself, my family, and later my community. Unfortunately, my mother passed. I was overtaken by sorrow and knew my fight wasn’t over. After undergoing treatment and reconstruction, I focused on aiding my surrounding community and founded the Marie Louise Cancer Foundation (MLCF). 10


Marie Ketelie Seide


We are in the heart of Boynton Beach, which has a growing Haitian population. I identify as a Haitian woman who survived breast cancer. I know the norm for our culture, rooted in extreme poverty and hardship, is to work together and develop personal relationships. Through MLCF, we provide an outlet to strong and brave Haitian women diagnosed with cancer, the majority of which are first-generation Americans with zero-to-little support (financially and emotionally) from their families. Their barriers to treatment are overwhelming. The only thing they have for sure is a disease that is killing them.

The norm for our culture, rooted in extreme poverty and hardship, is to work together and develop personal relationships

All the women we’ve encountered are incredibly courageous, whether they are aware of their bravery or not. They all want to fight for their right to live. Our foundation provides the Haitian community with the resources and tools needed to battle and defeat the enemy of cancer with experience and compassion. We strive to create a family-oriented atmosphere to ensure women feel safe and at home. In conjunction with providing moral and emotional support, we also aid with transportation, Creole-to-English translation, treatment, food, and housing if funding permits. Through teamwork, we are committed to ensuring every woman who seeks our help is prepared and equipped with the necessary tools and resources to fight cancer. Once we tap into that deep, unknown hidden strength, we can overcome any obstacle. I know anything is possible with a fighting spirit. As the saying goes, “God gives the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers.” With a bit of faith and a solid support system, we all can achieve remarkable things, and that includes a second chance at life. If you need information, please visit our website: Thank you.

The Reservoir is the cultural space for contributors to highlight customs, celebrations, holidays, rituals, recipes, and more. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Reservoir” in the subject line.




accepted too “ Imuch abuse to

believe I deserved it. I let others brainwash me when I knew better.

By Xiomara B.





I choose to put myself first. Get away when I need to breathe. Stay quiet when I don’t need to speak. Laugh whenever I get the chance. Maybe one day start a new romance. Because I deserve it. I accepted too much abuse to believe I deserved it. I let others brainwash me when I knew better. So now, it’s my turn to feel good. My turn to leave when I want and travel. My turn to smile for no reason and reach a new level. I deserve it. I deserve to be taken out on dates. To be hugged when I feel weak. To be kissed when I talk too much. I deserve it. I deserve to reach my full potential. To make my mark, to always feel special. I deserve it.

I spent too many years convincing myself that I didn’t. So many years believing all the words they say and So many more years convincing myself that they were right. This time, I won’t hold back. I won’t be scared to get what I want. I won’t let others dictate the way I think. And I definitely won’t take another undeserving man. I deserve more. I deserve to be respected. To be cherished and appreciated. I deserve to love hard without the fear of heartbreak. I deserve more. I deserve to work hard for my dreams and make them happen. To not be afraid to fail, because it happens. To prove to myself that I can do it all. I deserve it. I am who I say I am. So today, I’m deserving.

The Draw is a space for creatives to share their art, poetry, spoken word, etc. and/or how their art helps themselves and others. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Draw” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / DEC ISSUE 2021





eing able to cope with life’s most prominently difficult challenges is extremely strenuous, and having no outlet for your feelings can make one feel alone and lost in their problems. As teenagers, we often feel we cannot talk to adults about our problems and believe they won’t understand. Therefore, turning to our friends for help instead, but sometimes this can be unhealthy. We shouldn’t have to deal with our problems alone, but our friends most likely have burdens to carry themselves. Though one should never suffer in silence, if you feel you cannot talk to anybody about what’s bothering you, you should work on bettering yourself instead. Speaking from experience, some things helped me when going through rough times:

At first, it was difficult to establish a routine for me during certain periods in my life, but once I found something that worked for me, it made me so much more productive.


Not everybody is a baker, and not everybody may want to make a cake from scratch. However, baking is a technique many use to relieve stress. It’s cheap and accessible to all because of premade mixes. One can easily make many simple pastries and desserts, such as cakes, brownies, Cinnabons, etc.


Writing out or even drawing your feelings could be a possible artistic outlet for your emotions. Some may prefer this aesthetically pleasing way to vent, but there is also a different way to perceive this—a rage book. Personally, I like to keep certain pages in my journal dedicated explicitly to scribbles and random shapes to express anger. However, some may want to express that in their entire journal or not at all. Know that there is no correct way to vent, and it is all up to the creator. The entire purpose is to do what relieves you. 14




Books are full of knowledge, fictional or not. They can take you to entirely different universes to understand certain aspects of life from a different perspective. Bibliotherapy is a huge help to many, and it’s worth a try.

What is mental health? Mental health is our ability to live fully, engage with others, and respond to challenges. Mentally healthy students are more likely to:


No, this does not mean going out and spending a ton of money, rather enjoying the air, the atmosphere, or simply just the presence of other people. Being holed up in a room for an entire day isn’t healthy, and it doesn’t feel good either.

• • •

Be aware of their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. They believe in a healthy balance of social, emotional and physical well-being. Go to school ready to learn and engage in activities. They have a positive attitude toward learning and believe in their ability to succeed. Have supportive and caring connections with others and use appropriate problem-solving skills. They get along well with their family and friends, and are able to navigate typical relationship challenges when they arise.

Learn more about the School District of Palm Beach County Department of Behavioral and Mental Health and the District’s comprehensive school mental health efforts by reviewing their website and the Caring First website.


At first, it was difficult to establish a routine for me during certain periods in my life, but once I found something that worked for me, it made me so much more productive. I made time for my schoolwork, hobbies, exercise, and to chill. In conclusion, We must remember how important it is to take care of ourselves. Always put yourself first because, as cheesy as it sounds, you only live once. Therefore, you must prioritize living the best life possible, or you may regret it.


The Fountain is a space for youth to share their point of view on things that matter to them. To contribute, send your article ideas to thewell@ with “The Fountain” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / DEC ISSUE 2021



Fighting Back Against Domestic Violence BY: MELANIE RODRIGUEZ, Outreach Services Manager, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Inc.


urvivors of domestic violence live in our neighborhoods, are employed at places we frequent in our community, and at times are visitors in our homes attending friendly gatherings and celebrations. Domestic violence can happen to anyone. The decision to perpetuate abusive behaviors is made by the abuser, not the survivor. It’s not the survivor’s fault. So often, survivors are questioned as to why do they stay? Why don’t they report and move forward with charges? Why don’t they leave? The belief that survivors of domestic violence can end the violence by ending the relationship is harmful and not always true. Controlling tactics, abusive behavior, and violence often increase after the relationship has ended because the abusive partner 16


“The responsibility to

end domestic violence is on us. We are the community of hope.

THE PROVIDERS wants to maintain power and control. Ending the relationship is one of the most dangerous times for survivors of domestic violence. When the survivor decides to leave, they are often stalked by their partners, monitored on social media, harassed at their place of employment, and tracked by the children they have in common. Survivors navigate their everyday lives as parents, homeless individuals, professionals, and persons living with a disability while experiencing abuse by their intimate partner. As a community, we need to learn how to recognize and respond to domestic violence. An excellent place to begin is by having conversations about domestic violence, taking responsibility to address the impact of domestic violence, and building on strategies for prevention. Perpetrators of domestic violence need to be held accountable for their behaviors and choices. The community and youth need access to education about the dynamics of healthy relationships and be provided with tools to build and maintain equitable relationships.

Ending domestic violence is much more than asking a survivor to end the relationship. It involves creating a community of hope where survivors can obtain the resources and support they need to overcome the negative impacts and barriers an abusive partner has created. It looks like a community that supports using a crisis hotline for emergency shelter, legal justice, financial resources, affordable child care, and safety plans. It is a community of individuals educated on domestic violence dynamics with a coordinated response to address it. It is prevention programming and safer spaces for conversations between peers and leaders. And it is a commitment from all of us to listen and learn from survivors to create change. The responsibility to end domestic violence is on us. We are the community of hope.

Matt Tyler – AVDA Violence Prevention Educator

To learn more about domestic violence programs and services in Palm Beach County, please visit

The Providers is a space for providers, practitioners, thought leaders, and systems change leaders to share. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Providers” in the subject line.




sense of belonging “ Agoes a long way in

helping a person learn to cope with difficulties and become more resilient.



o you know how you can feel like a stranger in a room full of familiar faces? If so, you also know how powerful it is to feel accepted, connected, validated, and understood. A January 2021 article in Forbes, “Missing Your People: Why Belonging Is So Important And How To Create It,” featured beluga whale research by Florida Atlantic University scientists that noted how our human need for belonging mirrors the complex social relationships of closely, distantly, and even unrelated whales. A 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study indicated that acute isolation causes social craving, similar to how fasting causes hunger. And a 1999 University of Michigan School of Nursing study found that a low sense of belonging is a stronger predictor of depression than social support and getting connected is paramount in depressive recovery.



The Second Chance Initiative, a non-profit social enterprise located in Boca Raton, Florida, knows a sense of belonging goes a long way in helping a person learn to cope with difficulties and become more resilient. They help women in recovery work toward self-sufficiency, gain confidence, and build a brighter future, thereby breaking the cycle that perpetuates relapse. Creating jobs that help women flourish within a healthy culture of sisterhood and belonging is the core mission of Second Chance Initiative. Executive director Lisa Roeberg says almost everyone has needed a second chance at some point in their lives, and the women who participate in their program are no different. “Our mission is to provide jobs that help women in recovery flourish. We believe that work has the power to transform lives, so we named

BEYOND THE COUCH our program Wellness Works -- because it does. We provide a workplace culture focused on wellbeing by prioritizing recovery, wellness, and work/life balance,” she says. Its founder, Keely Copeland, formed the 501(c)(3) social impact organization three years ago because of her own experience with recovery and unemployment. Keely wanted to create paid jobs to help women in recovery work their programs, stay well, and prosper.

The organization strongly believes that creating a sense of “sisterhood” aids tremendously in each woman’s recovery. By supporting them in their work, acting as a sounding board, and helping them redefine purpose, women experience a greater sense of belonging and hope in a brighter future. “It’s truly inspiring to watch mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters blossom into their best selves after being with us for just a few months. We see the difference we are making in real-time. We have seen women reunited with children and family members and move onto next steps in their lives,” Roeberg says, adding that volunteers are always needed to work alongside the women to help fulfill orders and grow the business with their expertise. Though Second Chance Initiative products generate some revenue, the nonprofit relies primarily on solid community support and donations. This funding is vital as its business model covers all necessary programming as well as generous salaries for all Second Chance Initiative women workers.

Second Chance Initiative’s workforce opportunities are continually expanding. Jobs range from roles for experienced professionals learning how to balance work and recovery to entry-level positions for women who are new to the workforce or cannot return to previous careers. Of the 63 women they’ve served to date, the dozen or so working at any one time have been employed from a few months to a couple of years. Roeberg says that readers can best support the organization’s work and mission by shopping for custom coffee mugs for their personal or business needs. “We don’t hire women to make mugs; we make mugs to hire women in recovery,” she says. All women who come to Second Chance Initiative start in the order fulfillment process and transition to teams for graphic design, customer service, quality control, communications, marketing, and more. The non-judgmental staff cares about a woman’s potential and future, not her past. They encourage women to share their personal experiences through storytelling, facilitating a solid bond because they realize their shared experiences are similar. Additionally, all workers take regular breaks to meditate together. CL I CK




Beyond The Couch highlights non-traditional mental health outlets and resources in Palm Beach County. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “Beyond the Couch” in the subject line.




Get your questions answered here The Source is a place for Palm Beach County residents and experts to connect and exchange information.

Q How do you get through the

sadness of having so many relatives that have passed on and are no longer here during the holidays? L.S. Wellington

A Grief is part of the healing process,

and the holidays often increase feelings of pain. The holidays may elicit various emotions, and allowing yourself to have those feelings can be healing over time. Set boundaries and be honest with others if certain activities or traditions are too overwhelming. Most importantly, ask for help if you are struggling around the holidays. Share your feelings with someone you trust so that you have support available when needed. Nicole Sorrells, MSN, PMHNP-BC

A What helped me through my grief

and the emotional roller coaster that accompanied the pandemic was (and



still is) my faith and hope, and my strong and unbreakable relationship with God; I take comfort in knowing that God loves us. In addition, I am a firm believer in staying positive and finding gratitude in every situation. Although it is hard to find gratitude during a pandemic when so many people are dying and suffering around you, I find remembering to appreciate the simple things in life helps. Something like a reassuring smile from a partner or spouse, a pet lying by your hip while working from home, or taking the time to notice your surroundings: including nature, the blessings of everyday life, aging parents who are still alive and healthy, and all the families and friends who are grieving with and praying for us, helps us mentally and spiritually. Stay connected through phone conversations with family and friends,

face-to-face moments with those we love and care for (whenever possible), and WhatsApp videos. While grieving, one’s community and village connections are everything; never be afraid to use them and ask for help if you need it. Carmelle Marcelin-Chapman

A With “tears of joy,” I must say

holidays come with a lot of sorrow, but I’m reminded to reflect on all the great memories my mother, father, stepmother, grandmother, and aunt left behind. The process of grief is unexplained. When life ends, and it’s unexpected /sudden, it hits differently. My Dad and Stepmother’s passing was unexpected, and this will be the first holiday without them. I have chosen to make it a grateful day because I do have my life, and I do have other family members that are living. Deborah Powell-Skinner


Q How do you deal with es-

tranged family members at holiday gatherings? How do you avoid conflict? R.G., Riviera

A Usually, I show and spread love, so

when my family chooses to be in conflict, a choice they have made as an adult, I act accordingly and give respect at all costs. Deborah Powell-Skinner

A Family conflict can be especially

difficult to deal with during the holidays. Know that you are not alone, and family conflicts are common. The stigma of not being close with family members can bring up feelings of guilt or shame. Often, the limits you have set in these relationships get blurred around the holidays. It is important to set boundaries and recognize that it is okay to say no if certain events bring up too many painful memories or feelings. Nicole Sorrells, MSN, PMHNP-BC

Q How do you handle the disap-

pointment of not being able to afford gifts to give? D.N.- Lake Worth

A The past couple of years have been

especially difficult for many people, and additional financial stress can make the holidays less enjoyable. Understand and acknowledge that it is out of your control, and you are not alone. Many people are facing similar financial challenges this year. Celebrating the holidays by being present rather than buying presents can bring a new appreciation for many families. Handmade gifts, cooking a meal, or enjoying a holiday activity can be great alternatives to traditional gift-giving. Nicole Sorrells, MSN, PMHNPBC

A I would never feel disappointed

about not having cash for giving gifts at the holiday time. I usually discuss with my immediate family members how I celebrate the holiday time, and yes, I have great-grands. My grandchildren receive the true meaning of the holiday season and my beliefs into why I celebrate the way I do, and they understand. But I never disrespect how they are celebrated with their parents during the holiday season. Deborah Powell-Skinner

Nicole Sorrells Nicole Sorrells, MSN, PMHNP-BC, is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specializing in geriatric psychiatry within skilled nursing facilities throughout Palm Beach and Broward County. She is a 3rd generation Palm Beach County resident with more than 16 years of nursing experience and over eight years of experience in mental health care. Deborah Powell-Skinner Deborah Powell- Skinner has been an employee with the DOH/ Florida Health for 25 years. She is a wife of 18 years, has four loving children and eight adorable grandchildren. In her spare time, Deborah loves creating life moments in home décor, events, gift-giving, etc., through her company Pneuma. She has a servant’s heart and serves as Minister Deb with her local Church Word Of Faith. In addition, she has served on the local board with Community Voice as a Master Lay Health Advisor and her local Union team AFSCME Florida as President. Carmelle Marcelin Chapman Carmelle Marcelin Chapman is a longtime Community Change Expert in the Lake Worth Beach area and Project Director for Healthier Lake Worth Beach. Not only has she experienced personal losses, but she has also supported many members of her community with their own losses of family members and friends.

The Source asks YOUR questions to 3 experts: one professional, one community expert (i.e. spiritual leader), and one with lived experience. To ask a question, or to contribute as an expert, email with “The Source” in the subject line.




Group Therapy



remember saying, “I need a focal point,” to our then-leader Lauren Zuchman of Healthier Delray Beach. Many may not have realized that I was the daughter of a pastor divorced from my mother and a sister to a brother who had died by suicide. Our family and our church had never spoken about either trauma. As a result, many illnesses manifested in our family and relationships. Scriptures teach the need to confess to one another to be healed; I realized that healing would not happen if we were not sharing. I knew that we were not the only family in the church dealing with these different challenges, and I wanted to do something more about it. I wanted to experience healing by moving past not sharing and bottling feelings to sharing, confessing, and praying for one another.



Angela T. Williams

The church stigmatizes mental health as taboo. When someone is experiencing a mental health challenge, the assumption is that they are demon-possessed, and we as the church need to fast and pray to cast the demon out.

THE DEPTH The vision for our new “Mental Health and The Church: Group Therapy” was to gather believers from the community of churches in Delray Beach who were open to sharing their personal stories of mental health. The church stigmatizes mental health as taboo. When someone is experiencing a mental health challenge, the assumption is that they are demon-possessed, and we as the church need to fast and pray to cast the demon out. I knew from many experiences that something more needed to happen. But before we could address it, we needed to acknowledge the problem existed: “Faith can’t fix what you don’t face,” says my husband, Ernest Williams. As a result, we began meeting at Christ Missionary Baptist Church with the support of Minister Prince Arafat. Seven churches represented by their leaders kicked off our new initiative through Healthier Delray Beach. We knew that authentic conversations around mental health start “from the pulpit to the pews.” If leaders aren’t providing an example, it will be challenging to reach the churchgoer. As we continued to provide these authentic spaces for safe conversations, we invited faith-based therapists who looked like our participants to support and speak at various times. They were able to understand and identify with many of our church-related experiences. Our goals were to provide a space for church members to be heard and learn of the different needs in our community. One thing we learned was that this was generational. A lot of suppressed feelings led to depressive reactions instead of healing. Many churchgoers wore masks because of the saying, “what happens in our house stays at our house.”

Mental Health First Aid Training

Angela T. & Ernest Williams

To create a comfortable atmosphere for sharing, we did icebreakers with humor, movement, meditation, games, and of course, food. The goal was to get to know each other and ourselves. As we realized our stories sounded similar, sharing became easier. We provided Mental Health First Aid training at various partner churches, guest speakers, and local professionals who joined and shared on multiple topics. We introduced tools for connection and crisis. We held sessions in Haitian-Creole to reach all cultural groups. Through this diverse experience, having open conversations, praying about our challenges, seeking professional help, and being open to the idea of taking medicine, our challenges took on a different view as the walls began to fall. Churches partnered with countywide campaigns such as Get Your Green On. Through a mini-grant received from Healthier Delray Beach, we launched Move from Church to Church. COVID-19 led us to Zoom meetings to continue conversations, and Facebook Live broadcasts from various churches included open forums on mental health topics. Many fruits grew from these planted seeds. People are now more open to seeking help from faith-based therapists, churches adopt mental health ministries, and May sermons focus on Mental Health Awareness Month. This collective effort has made us realize how much we need each other, and that God is in the small things that we do. To learn how your church can begin this journey, please reach out to me at

The Depth is a space for faith-based leaders and individuals to share their thoughts, guidance, encouragement, what they’re witnessing, and more. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Depth” in the subject line. THE WELL OF PBC / DEC ISSUE 2021





Palm Beach County!

alm Beach County was officially selected as one of 10 communities across the nation to receive the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. The Prize recognizes the whole county and the accomplishments across our community in four achievement areas: • • • •

Commitment to equity in our work Resident Leadership Civic Muscle and Belonging Focus on Youth and Accountability for Success

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. They seek to improve the health and health care of all Americans. In recent years they have placed a strong emphasis on the social determinants of health. 24


The Culture of Health Prize started in 2013 in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute. The Prize recognizes communities working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity for all and honors urban, rural, tribal, large, or small communities that are beacons of hope and progress for healthier people, families, and places.


We envision a community in which every person in Palm Beach County feels hopeful, supported, connected, and empowered. BeWellPBC presents at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

Couch Conversations - Episode 4: School District



ocal partners presented “Rethinking Population Health in Palm Beach County, FL: A Shared Stewardship Approach” at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in Denver, Colorado in October 2021. The 5-part workshop highlighted national perspective (offered by ReThink Health), regional context (Palm Health Foundation), study recommendations for a population health approach (Dr. David Shern), examples of countywide collaboration and alignment (BeWellPBC), and the story of civic muscle and belonging success (EJS Project). To learn more about what was shared, watch the presentation above.

veryone wants to feel Hopeful, Supported, Connected and Empowered. BeWellPBC’s Community Connectors have opened the door to insightful conversations between residents and system leaders in Palm Beach County, who are understanding and exploring behavioral health needs and solutions together in new ways by including the voices of all. With the launch of their podcast Couch Conversations, each episode features an intriguing and relevant topic to our times and connects a diverse group of people passionate about creating positive change in behavioral health and wellness in our community. Listen to a clip of our recently released Episode 4: School District of Palm Beach County Edition with one of our high school seniors and Dr. Mary Claire Mucenic, Director of Behavioral Health and Mental Services who joined the couch.

JOIN US! We welcome you to join our Palm Beach County-wide movement towards health. Check out our website, social media, and YouTube channel for podcasts, resource videos, events, and ways to get involved. Dr. David Shern, Patrick McNamara, Lauren Zuchman, Anna Creegan, and Dupree Jackson

Thank You to Our Invested Partners




During the holidays, I am full of joy, gratitude and love! It’s something about that crisp air and the change in people’s mood that gets me motivated. There is a lot we have to appreciate and be grateful for, if not just for one more day of living. We have to take time out to INTENTIONALLY be thankful, love a little extra and let the world know that there is still hope, joy and a better tomorrow!

The holidays and the end of the year usually have me looking back at the past 12 months. The ups, the downs and everything in between, I think about my loved ones, my goals and triumphs as well as my mistakes and failures. Not in a bitter or regretful way, but in a “how can next year be better” for me, my loved ones, and everyone we touch.





The holidays remind me of all I am grateful for and that life is not forever. There’s an incredible amount of stress on families - to give, to serve, to keep up with the Joneses. There’s added pressure on those single-parent families who have to split their time. With so little commonality between the courts, the school system, and extra activities, the holidays can be nothing short of overwhelming and exhausting.

” “

The emotion that I feel is joy, happiness, and peace. I know that this sounds cliché; however, it’s genuinely one time a year that the world seems to come together and put its differences aside. Which gives me hope for the future of humanity.


The holidays, for me, are a special time of gratitude, of laughter and smiles and the joy of shared memories, old and new. Of traditions created, old and new. As an immigrant family, I felt like I had to work extra hard to teach my children our customs and traditions which they would have imbibed naturally from the air if we had been living in my home country of India. So when they were growing up, I made an extra effort to celebrate major Indian holidays with them so they could learn. And then we created new traditions with American holidays like Thanksgiving. My kids love our version of Thanksgiving dinner and it’s one of their most favorite meals of the year, right alongside the Diwali sweets and lights.



To have your voice heard from your corner of the county, send an email to with “Corner Talk” and your city in the subject line.




Energy Healing as a Self-care Tool B Y S H E I L A Z AYA S O W N E R O F T H E S A N C T U A R Y F O R M I N D , B O DY & S P I R I T I N L A K E W O R T H , F L . W W W. F B . C O M / M B S S A N C T U A R Y | @ M B S S A N C T UA R Y | H E A L I N G @ M B S S A N C T UA R Y. C O M




Stress releases specific hormones into the bloodstream to ready the body to fight or flight. That is why, despite feeling exhausted and sleepy, falling asleep or staying asleep can seem difficult during stressful times.

EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE BODY Stress releases specific hormones into the bloodstream to ready the body to fight or flight. That is why, despite feeling exhausted and sleepy, falling asleep or staying asleep can seem difficult during stressful times. One’s body can’t calm down while the stress hormones are raging like a wild river and getting fueled by worry and racing thoughts. Health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, can stem from leaving stress to run amuck and unchecked. Additionally, mental and behavioral effects such as anxiety, substance abuse, and toxic relationships can leave one feeling emotionally and physically heavy. To calm down from high levels of stress, more people are exploring unconventional ways to feel balanced and soothe the mind-body as a whole. For thousands of years, indigenous and prescientific medical systems have documented that a balanced pulsing biofield is fundamental to treating the mind-body-spirit.

Modern-day living has become hectic with errands, worries, and relentless distractions pulling our attention. Days melt into weeks, and the next thing one knows, here comes the winter holidays again. Stress-related illnesses and mental exhaustion are skyrocketing. Most people we know experience moderate to high stress levels. The true effect stress was having on many lives came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once people settled into the new work-from-home routine, they had more time to reflect on their constant state of stress.



THE WORD EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE WAYS FOR STRESS RELIEF AND SPIRITUALITY Biofield therapies such as Reiki and pranic healing are noninvasive and low-risk methods for stress relief and stimulating the body’s natural self-healing ability. Thus, they are worthy spiritual complements to conventional medical treatment. Starting in Japan in the 1920s, Reiki works by supporting the recipient in deep relaxation, which gently nudges the nervous system to stop pumping additional stress hormones into the bloodstream. It encourages us to shift our view of the body from a physical mechanism into a body that shares information about what it needs to create balance. A practitioner senses and works with a client’s biofield (interacting fields of energy and information that surround all living beings). The practitioner aims to balance these subtle energies to boost the body’s innate knack to bring itself back to its default state - homeostasis.

WHAT IS REIKI? Reiki practitioners lightly place their hands on the body in a series of positions to aid in energy flow throughout the body. No religious belief system is attached to Reiki. A soothing treatment usually lasts between 30-60 minutes, with the recipient lying fully clothed on a massage table while soft music plays in the background. It can be performed remotely. So, a recipient and practitioner do not need to be in the same location, making for an extremely safe and comforting form of healing for those uncomfortable with physical interactions during the pandemic. Reiki is not a cure-all solution and should not take the place of medical treatment. However, it is worth an honest try. Learn more at

Reiki, also known as energy healing, is a wonderful method of clearing energy and self-care for stress relief and wellness and for spiritual growth, abundance, love, and discovering one’s life purpose. Maintaining clear energy can be beneficial for the individual who prioritizes their spiritual health. Taking the time to go inward can open us up to our unseen resources. People who bond with their inner being via spiritual practices, such as energy healing or meditation, can diminish the negative side effects of chemotherapy, improve surgical outcomes, regulate the autonomic nervous system, and dramatically alter their experience of physical and emotional pain associated with illness. 30


The Word is a broad topic space for contributing writers (a.k.a the community) to share your stories of behavioral health or anything self-care related i.e. fitness, health, educational, parenting, hobbies, wellness, etc. To contribute, send your article ideas to with “The Word” in the subject line.


Birth to 22 Taskforce Meeting Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures (Birth to 22) is an alliance of Palm Beach County community partners that engages and aligns existing coalitions, networks, systems, and youth-serving organizations, as well as connecting families, community members, and most importantly, with local young people directly. The ultimate goal is to support the healthy growth, development, and education of our children and youth prenatally through young adulthood to graduate from high school and succeed in life. Annually, a Taskforce Meeting is held to inform, engage, and plan with the key champions, coalitions, and young people about the work of Birth to 22. This meeting serves as an opportunity to review the work of Birth to 22 for the previous calendar year and plan for the upcoming year. The 2021 Taskforce Meeting, “Reimagine & Create Pathways for Success,” was held virtually on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021. The meeting was open to community members, agency representatives, and interested participants to learn more about the goals being accomplished and give feedback to the teams as they plan their 2022 objectives.

Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures presents the 5th Annual Taskforce:

Reimagine & Create Pathways for Success Birth to 22: The Backstory The Youth Master Plan was developed to: address existing gaps, align ongoing efforts (reducing duplications), and strengthen key supports.

Action Team Highlight:

Workgroup Highlight:

Safety and Justice's mentoring subcommittee members participated in a community-wide panel to address the importance of mentoring in PBC

The Engagement Team held four virtual Community Conversations in 2021 with over 290 participants Join us at the Annual Task Force Meeting December 14, 2021 9 am - 12 pm

The Birth to 22 alliance consists of over 300 agencies

To read up on highlights from the taskforce meeting, please visit:

To learn more about the Alliance and how to become involved, please visit the website at [].

Contact to learn more about advertising opportunities.



Events and Careers LOVE & JOY CELEBRATION


December 15 | 5:30 pm Community Voice Learn about building a healthier community with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County. December 16 | 5 pm Books and Cream Party @ SW 12th Avenue Ice-cream and books for the kids. Hosted by the Delray Beach Library and City of Delray Police Department. December 17 | 3 pm Frog Alley Tour of Homes @ St. Matthews- 404 SW 3rd Street Join this trolley ride tour of historic Frog Alley homes and marketplace. Vendors are welcome. December 18 | Holiday Observation Day of Prayer Delray residents pray for city, county, country, and world. December 19 | 5:30 pm Coalition Holiday Party in the Set @ Studio 404 Grown folks fun in the Set. Come out! December 20 | 5 pm - 7 pm Holiday Candlelight Service @ Libby Wesley Amphitheater A night of remembrance with Eta Phi Beta Sorority. All sororities and fraternities are welcome to join in.

JOIN THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FIELD Henderson Behavioral Health • • • • • •

Click here for more Information

Boys Town South Florida •

December 21 | 1 pm Holiday Meal w/Cros Ministries @ St. Matthews- 404 SW 3rd Street Join us as we provide a hot holiday meals.

• •

December 21 | 6 pm Holiday Game Night @ Studio 404 You play Spades, checkers, dominoes or other games? Well, come out. Only costs you an unwrapped toy to get in!

December 22 | 6 pm Holiday Networking on the Ave @ Studio 404 Professionals, come out and network at Happy Hour. Bring your business cards. Talk about your business at Minute on the Mic. December 23 | 5 pm Santa's Pajama Block Party @ Libby Wesley Amphitheater A night for the kids to join Santa for an evening of fun. Wear your pajamas. December 24 | 3 pm Caribbean Day Party @ Arts Garage- 94 NE 2nd Avenue Enjoy the holiday sounds of the Caribbean at this Day Party! Admission $20. December 25 | 12 pm - 5 pm Children's Christmas Southside Day Party @ SW 12th Avenue The Black Lions Motorcycle Club is co-hosting this Christmas Day Celebration. December 26 | 1 pm Kwanzaa Kickoff @ Spady Museum-170 SW 5th Avenue Habari gani? Umoja! We're celebrating the first night of Kwanzaa. Vendors welcome!

Safety Management Action Response Team (SMART) Family Advocate Safety Management Action Response Team (SMART) Care Coordinator Family Intensive Treatment Team (FITT) Clinician Family Intensive Treatment Team (FITT) Parent Advocate Wraparound Case Manager Wraparound Peer Advocate

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Family Services Consultant - Martin County Child Psychologist Parent Child Plus Learning Specialist - Bilingual Creole Behavioral Health Case Manager - Care Coordination

Click here for more Information

Community Partners of South Florida • • • • •

Targeted Case Manager-Wraparound Facilitator Child and Family Therapist - School: Glades View Elementary Child and Family Therapist Receptionist/Administrative Assistant - Full Time Community Tech Navigator

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CYNTHIA RIDLEY- 561.302.8064 MONTRE BENNETT- 561.862.3072

Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County • • • • • •

Clinical Therapist – Prenatal Plus Mental Health Services Clinical Supervisor – Counseling for Parents and Young Children (CPYC) Intake Coordinator Support Staff Care Coordinator Assistant- Partners for Change Clinical Therapist Triple P Program (Positive Parenting Program)

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To add your event or behavioral health-related career opportunities, please email with “careers” or “events” in the subject line.