A Center for Social & Economic Vibrancy #Live Well Be More
Photography Exposé of Soulful Expression, Conscious Expansion and Optimal Wellness. Written by Maurissa Stone Bass Edited by Nia Hampton Foreward by Dr. Henry Gregory, Jr.
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I devote this Exposé to my late father Maurice C. Stone who transitioned to his heavenly home in 2017. I’m eternally grateful for his love and gift of believing in me.
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Much of the story of our success is told by the brilliant eyes behind the camera lens of our house and partner photographers. This reflection is possible because of the people and the events that make our movement possible.
Table of Contents. Foreward | page 09 Origin Story | page 11 The Search | page 13 Affordable Accessible Space | page 15 Vibrant Community Model | page 17 Social Health Determinants | page 35 Our Platform | page 37 Vision Forward | page 61 Conscious Expansion | page 65 Healing in Community | page 73 Collaborators | page 74 Optimal Wellness | page 91 Soulful Expression | page 103 Looking Forward | page 113 The Company We Keep | page 117 Reviews & Photo Credits | page 121
Foreward. Many urban centers throughout the world face challenges, the city of Baltimore, Maryland is no exception. A city in transition finding its way beyond the deindustrialization of the last thirty years, high murder rates, decaying housing, social unrest, and alienation toward the accommodation and support of a diverse, active and healthy community. Having grown up in a close knit, supportive community in West Baltimore and knowing the benefits that come from that, I can do no less than wish community on all of us. The Living Well serves as a hub; a place to gather, learn, feel safe and express the emotions that underlie our thoughts and behaviors. Every community need hubs. They were once abundant throughout Baltimore. Every community needs a place(s) where its residents of all ages and backgrounds can feel connected, nurtured and supported. Every community needs a place where residents are fed through the healing arts, provided opportunity to share and discuss community issues. Every community needs a place that encourages interaction with diverse peoples and participation in events and activities that strengthen body, mind and spirit.
The Living Well is a fountain from which all may find nourishment, enlightenment and fun. The Living Well builds social capital, the foundation of community, through social networking and transactions marked by reciprocity. Trust and cooperation grow as it produces events and services for the common good. Collective health and welfare of the community are also reinforced, as we accept and empower the still small voice within each of us. The Living Well is a place where healing occurs. Individually and collectively, she mothers our return to health, to power, to responsibility by exposing us to arts and sciences indigenous to healing, self-care and revitalization. For this we thank her! The Living Well is a place where people work together. The single greatest challenge we have on this planet right now may well be our need to get better at working together! It takes skillful, committed, compassionate leadership, such as what we have in Maurissa Stone, to facilitate the work among so many dynamic personalities, with so many diverse offerings. For her leadership of leaders, we are grateful! W. Henry Gregory, Jr. Ph.D.
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â€œWhen I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraidâ€? Audre Lorde
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Origin Story. My parents were born and raised in inner city Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up in the DMV, I came to Baltimore to visit family on the weekends and spent summers in West Baltimore. The 1980â€™s brought the drug epidemic which devastated the urban landscape. I saw the safe neighborhoods where I played with my cousins decline into economic and social decay. Urban blight and its accompanying poverty (i.e.trauma) tugged at my heart and motivated me to study the science of systems and community change as well as ignited my interest in social activism. Spending the bulk of my career working for nonprofits, a University and a Community Development funder, it became clear to me that the solutions to make a difference in the life conditions of those who are
marginalized needed to come from within community. I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to address the issues that plagued the neighborhoods from which my parents shared stories of clean streets and neighborhood pride. I imagined what Baltimore could look like absent the national headlines of crime and blight and the social health conditions which negatively affect the lifespan of people. I purchased The Living Well (TLW), a boutique yoga, dance and healing arts business in 2009. In pursuing my dream of creating a transformational space that would serve as a community center, I wanted to build a model that would employ a double bottom line of being a profit entity with a social mission.
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The following year, I used my savings with a “leap of faith” and built out a commercial space to house TLW. I sought collaborations with artists, healers and other social entrepreneurs. It was the height of the recession and a scary time for those who fell prey to corporate downsizing and crashing real estate values. Although we were a growing community center, the absence of philanthropic and government funding made the need for space rental income to support our primary revenue. After six years at 2443 N. Charles Street, we found that our success in building economic vibrancy in the Baltimore neighborhood known as Old Goucher would fare against us. The lack of protection for commercial tenants as well as the absence of oversight for commercial landlords was the driving force to crowdsource funds so that we could meet our landlord in court. We were victorious with exposing Citywide Properties for serving us an illegal eviction and for elevating CAM fees that weren’t disclosed in our lease or billed throughout our six years. The Living Well ended 2016 with a turbulent shift in our platform’s ecosystem.
THE SEARCH We appreciate the support of various leaders in the pursuit of our relocation. I would like to personally thank local leaders such as Joan Pratt, Diane Bell McKoy, Anthony Pressley, Andre Robinson, Ron Hantz, Karen Stokes and Adam Jackson to name a few for their guidance and help in our search for a new brick and mortar location. We took their suggestions and searched the City for competent space that would meet a multitude of criteria for a community space to be successful such as parking, access, versatility and a soulful aesthetic.
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Affordable Accessible Space Matters.
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Social innovators, artist and healers are looking to build their vision, so access to creative space is a major factor. Our move to The Baltimore Studios at The Real News Network provided the opportunity to expand our partnerships and creative collaborations. Our second floor landing pad is flexible for dance, fitness, medium sized meetings and gatherings for up to 60 people. Our move to our downtown location also brought the opportunity for redefining and expanding our footprint. We could not have predicted that this move would help us serve *over 20 neighborhoods in Baltimore City (nearly 25% from zones 07, 14, & 17) or welcome guests spanning from surrounding areas to states as far as Florida and California. Because of our diversity of space options, we are able to lean closer into our mission of social and economic vibrancy. This exposĂŠ highlights of our work and collaborations. At the end of 2017 TLW achieved our goal of economic and social impact by paying upward of 50 entrepreneurs/organizations, and hosted over 100 social events with themes of Soulful Expression, Conscious Expansion and Optimal Wellness events this year.
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Vibrant Community. As a community development entity that looks to the people we serve for solutions and strategies for change and empowerment; we focus on building social capital while using a diversity of business models to create economic outcomes. We believe that using these vibrant approaches to community building creates a distinct culture of engagement. The Living Well is known for its energy, atmosphere and connections to the community. Our urban oasis is a place where community solutions are created to support social connections as well as business development. I truly believe that family is at the Center of Community. Creating forums where children are invited to participate increases the likelihood for families to grow and heal together. The Living Well is an inclusive space where family friendly social and wellness engagements are at the core of our driving values.
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We subscribe to a *Vibrant Community model which espouse the virtues of: ARTS AND CULTURAL EXPRESSION are encouraged and celebrated. LIVING WITH DIGNITY are community values. LIFELONG LEARNING is encouraged and available. SAFETY is both a community and a personal responsibility. CIVIC ENGAGEMENT is considered a duty. SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH is cultivated. PROTECTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT and HISTORICAL PLACES is a shared value that benefits human health and our local economies.
*Vibrant Community Model from the Santa Barbara Foundation
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As a nonprofit management consultant, I wanted to change the framework of community engagement and empowerment for people of color who have been marginalized by systems of institutional racism. By focusing on profit backed by social mission, my intent was to build an organization and movement that mattered to community while recognizing the critical role that cultural arts plays in community healing and development.
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It’s freeing to have the ability to operate without the construct of hierarchical management systems and oppressive organizational cultural dynamics. Everyone on our innovative platform brings constructive assets which helps empower our engine of community impact. It’s our relationships at the end of the day that connects us.
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Growing TLW was a testament to keeping my faith in God and the vision that we can look within to create solutions for economic freedom and healing. Over the past decade I have seen a rise in individuals who have taken on solving social health determinants by using their own resources and engaged their social capital to fuel projects and initiatives.
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One of the most rewarding outcomes for 2017 was watching our individual and collective visions come to light. I watched people with different passions and skills work together to support and build one another’s platform. I believe that The Living Well is thriving because we employ an *intrapreneurial team approach to our operations. Each platform member runs their line of business with the support of the Collective. We are actively disrupting the hierarchical structure as we know it in organizational systems. We used our diversity as a tool to transform conflict while we choose to rise above destructive patterns in communities to strengthen our team effectiveness.
*”intrapreneurship is defined as the process by which teams within an established company conceive, foster, launch and manage a new business that is distinct from the parent company but leverages the parent’s assets, market position, capabilities or other resources.” Robert C. Wolcott and Michael J. Lippitz
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Communities thrive when there is access to safe and trusted spaces. Our model of community engagement continues to build on the power generated by those who are fully occupied in revolutionary thought and action focused on implementation. I believe the capacity of social health and social justice organizations are strengthened when collaborations have symbiotic relationships with a common mission and purpose. This is the essence of the operating model of The Living Well.
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The Living Well’s Social Entrepreneurship platform is engaged in the work of moving the needle of change for Baltimore City Residents and beyond. Our unorthodox platform has created outcome based measures of change. Many of our platform members have elevated their causes and received award winning fellowships from a variety of entities such as Open Society Institute, Red Bull Amaphiko, Kaiser Permanente, Baltimore Corps, and the John Hopkins Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program. Our innovative business practices helped grow the impact of our committed and consistent action. Our platform consists of an organic eco-system of raw artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, organizers and healers. “Social entrepreneurship signals the imperative to drive social change, and it is that potential payoff, with its lasting, transformational benefit to society, that sets the field and its practitioners apart.” Martin and Osberg
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Social Health Determinants. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. We recognize that we can’t continue to rely on government and nonprofits to solve challenges in our own communities. Our philosophy is “change begins within.” In 2018 we will continue our efforts to build the capacity of social entrepreneurs who are committed to changing the status quo of the following social health determinants: • Availability of resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets)
• Availability of community-based resources in support of community living and opportunities for recreational and leisure-time activities • Transportation options • Public safety • Social support • Social norms and attitudes (e.g., discrimination, racism, and distrust of government) • Exposure to crime, violence, and social disorder (e.g., presence of trash and lack of cooperation in a community) • Socioeconomic conditions (e.g., concentrated poverty and the stressful conditions that accompany it) • Residential segregation
• Access to educational, economic, and job opportunities
• Access to health care services
• Access to mass media and emerging technologies (e.g., cell phones, the Internet, and social media)
• Quality of education and job training
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Our Platform. â€œWe must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.â€? Audre Lorde While we were seeking to improve the life conditions of our communities, we took time to strengthen our inner platform by incorporating Mindfulness in our daily lives and operating norms. In 2017 The Living Well financed equipment, branding and provided resource support for platform members to attend conferences and workshops. We continue to provide individuals and emerging grassroots organizations coaching to develop business plans, marketing or business processes. We also increased our media footprint by way of onboarding new house photographers with notable branded photography businesses and equipped our capacity to provide film and photography services by purchasing state of the art computers, cameras, lenses and recording devices.
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Maurissa Stone Bass, Director of Innovation Maurissa Stone founded Iona Concepts, Inc. in 1993 as a Training and Change Management Consulting organization, which is the umbrella for The Living Well Center. Iona Conceptsâ€™ mission is to facilitate planned change in systems, organizations and communities. An artist whose medium is life, fulfills her passion for facilitating individual and community development by creating resource circles for human and community expansion. Her artistic expression was formed by responding to the needs of social equity by designing and delivering creative, interactive media based training programs. Her career spans 25 years as a change agent conducting strategic planning, systems change and training initiatives for Federal, State, local governments and non-profit organizations. In addition to her role as the Director of Innovation, she also works as an Adjunct Professor. She conducts community development training and consultation nationally. Her unique niche is working with social justice and arts organizations by supporting infrastructure and resource development. Maurissa specializes in Strategic Planning, Community Development/Organizing, Non-profit Board Development, Career/ Life Coaching, Retreat Planning/facilitation, Motivational Speaking, Organizational Development Training, and Iona Circles an organizational, systems and personal change management process designed to address work and life conditions that impact the human spirit and energy.
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Michelle Stafford, Director of Fitness and Wellness Michelle “Divayogi” Stafford has been with us since our doors opened in 2009. Since then, she has developed a mindfulness program that combines the use of Yoga, Meditation, and Trauma Informed Care, so that the women, men, and children of our community have a safe place to let go, connect with one another, and heal their minds and bodies from toxic stress and stress related illness. Michelle is a Certified Personal Trainer, Therapeutic Yoga Instructor, Trauma Informed Care Consultant, Yoni Egg Educator, and Reiki Practitioner. Her focus is on helping the African American Community gain empowerment through taking charge of their health, and achieving optimal wellness. Her hobbies include yoga, belly dance, gourmet cooking, photography, and gardening. She believes that we all have the ability to heal from the inside out if we have the tools to do so. Michelle is also known for her amazing Mione skin care projects. Organic shea butter based body products that melt on your skin. This summer, she traveled to Las Vegas to educate women about the benefits of vaginal weight lifting as it relates to overall health and healing trauma at the ASSECT Conference (American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). She has spoken and presented at three Heart & Soul Passport to Wellness Expos, nationally. Most recently she facilitated a Healing Trauma Yoga class at the Healing Neen Conference in Downtown Baltimore. She has also worked as a consultant with Strategic Learning Partners. Earlier this year, Michelle was honored with a Black Wall street award from BmoreNews.
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W. Henry Gregory, Jr. Ph.D., Thought Partner & Trusted Advisor Dr. Gregory is a mental health professional with over thirty-five years of experience. He holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and master degrees in Community Mental Health and Psychology. He has expertise and extensive experience as a clinician, educator, trainer, consultant and researcher in a number of service areas including substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, criminal justice, juvenile justice, child welfare, schoolbased mental health, and behavioral health. Currently, Dr. Gregory is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing. He also serves as the associate director for the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Psychologyâ€™s Center for Community Collaboration. In addition, he is the cultural competence coordinator for MD CARES, a federally funded System of Care for youth and families experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges. Dr. Gregory provides consultation and training to public and private agencies and direct services to individuals and families through his own organization, the Rafiki Consortium, LLC. Through Rafiki, he focuses on assisting service providers, policymakers, family members and other stakeholders in understanding and implementing skills, attitudes and treatment/service models that are culturally competent and grounded in a competency orientation toward promoting change.
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Nneka Nnamdi, Director of Community Wellness Nneka N’namdi is a Baltimore based entrepreneur engaged in conscious capitalism and community wellness work. As a member of the team, she curates community space for artistic, economic and social ventures. Skilled in creating healing spaces and teaching practical ways of managing trauma, Nneka and her sister Maya Onyango have created SisterGather; events for women of African descent to bond, heal and grow. Her study includes initiation in the practice of IFA, Principles of Trauma Informed Care as well as Masters in Management with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. Her artistic experience includes West African dance with Sankofa Dance Theater, Dishibem, Urban Foli, Wombworks and #BaltimoreGirls. She’s a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Morgan State University, and lives in Upton with her two sons. She also recently gave birth to Fight Blight Bmore, a social and environmental justice tool for residents to identify, report and track blight. Her work as an environmental activist has resulted in the following awards and fellowships: • Baltimore Corps Elevation Award • Associated Black Charities Women on the Move Award • Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program 2018 Fellow
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Kenya Ray, Organizational Management Consultant Kenya, a Baltimore native, brought her comprehensive Human Resources experience to The Living Well Center to on board platform partnerships, conduct business coaching, and craft policies and procedures for The Living Well platform members. With a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University, Kenya enjoys public speaking and has a knack for facilitating intricate conversations. Her most challenging discussions however are had with her two teenage children. Prior to joining The Living Well, Kenya worked as a Benefits and Wellness Manager at Venable LLP and as a Human Resources Manager for Under Armour. Currently a member of the HR team at Amazon.com, Kenya has an eagerness to help people; personally and professionally. Her volunteer services includes working with individuals and organizations who are under resourced and by providing youth development coaching. As a facilitator and artist Kenya enjoys developing icebreakers, team building activities and party games. When she isn’t yelling from the stands at a sporting event, she is reppin’ her hood with her fellow #BaltimoreGirls in front of a camera and throughout the City’s arts community. Kenya is thankful for her training in West African dance under Baltimore based Sankofa Dance Theater. Not only did her training birth her love of African dance, it also forged relationships that have since blossomed into her extensive extended family. What’s her most unforgettable attribute? Her boisterous laugh!
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Ukana McPherson, Facilities Manager If you have ever booked an event at The Living Well you have met the woman who owns this beautiful smile. She is the engine to our revenue generating line of business of space rentals. With immaculate customer service, we are grateful that she is committed to building community. Like many Change Makers on The Living Well platform Ukana works a full time job. She spends her days as a Surgical Coordinator at Katzen Eye Group where she has worked for 17 years. We met Kana, as we call her, short for her Nigerian name pronounced Ookana, as the co-founder of COSL (Circle of Self Love). This group joined our family early on Charles Street and hosted dance classes and a Chunky Girl Fashion show, photo shoots and held a safe space for women of all sizes. Kana, a 1996 graduate of Lake Clifton/Eastern is a mother of a teen daughter who is also an artist. She enjoys attending dance classes and is a Avon representative.
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Dominic Nell, House Photographer & Director of Operations Dominic Nell, native Baltimorean is the quintessential Renaissance man. A graduate of Randallstown High School, Nell attended St. Augustine University as well as North Carolina State. He returned to Baltimore after exploring his creative urges in California, and found he enjoyed mentoring inner city youth. Coaching football provided him with deeper insight into the opportunities to support the development of young men who lived in his historic Penn North. In 2009 Nell picked up a camera and discovered a new gift of photography. His most notable work was the documentation of the 2015 civil unrest known as the “Baltimore Uprising”. The Kids Safe Zone a Baltimore City community Center, and The Reginald Lewis Museum are an example of where he has facilitated photography classes for local youth. Farmer Nell is his alter ego as his recent study of urban farming under the City-Hydro program has manifested into a new business venture named City Weeds. This business is gaining market share across
the city by resourcing microgreens used by chefs across the City. Farmer Nell teaches Food for Life for youth in Baltimore City after school programs under his BeMoreGreen program. Nell received 2017 Red Bull Amaphiko Fellowship for his Food Justice social venture initiative. By stepping into the role of Director of Film and Photography Dominic Nell was able to expand his portfolio and footprint in multimedia. He shot and directed over 50 hours of footage for our Healing in Community Transmedia Film Stories. A series which reflects how healing technologies are being used as a tool for healing and their direct impact in shifting social health determinants in Baltimore City. Working in partnership with the National Center for Trauma Informed care TLW produced 10 broadcast quality videos and curated #HealingincommUNITY transmedia healing stories. Nell as was a feature film maker in the HBO Documentary Baltimore Rising released at the end of 2017.
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Schaun Champion - House Photographer Schaun Champion is a published photographer, currently based in Baltimore, Maryland who travels all over to capture life through her lens. People, places, things and the simple joys of life are her visual love language. Fluffy Pop Postcards was created as a way to share her travels, to capture “emotion” and tell story through her “postcards.” Since then it has evolved into much more. Whether it’s a portrait, street photography, travel photography, events, weddings, commercial or photojournalism, her goal is to capture life for the adventure that it is. Her interest in the arts, language, anthropology, and philanthropy has lead her to develop the A Looking Glass Project, which is dedicated to enabling and encouraging underrepresented teens in Baltimore through travel and photography. Learn more: algp.org
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Bridal Pearson -Transformational Teacher Dr. Bridal Pearson is a Thought Partner, Consultant, and Qigong teacher at The Living Well. He is the program director and senior lecturer of the graduate program in Human Services Administration at the University of Baltimore. He also teaches at Coppin State University. Bridal is an award-winning professor. He earned the IOTA PHI LAMBDA Sorority “APPLE FOR THE TEACHER AWARD” in 2013, for Outstanding Service in Education. He also earned the 2014-2015 UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS OF MARYLAND “BOARD OF REGENTS” FACULTY AWARD for Teaching and Collaboration. This is a coveted award and the highest possible recognition for a professor within the University Systems of Maryland. He has educated hundreds of leaders over 15 years. He formerly held jobs as a therapist, mobile treatment team specialist for the homeless, advocate, and organizational consultant. He currently volunteers his time at the Baltimore Office of Civil Rights as the Chairman of the Civilian Review Board. Bridal is also a martial artist and has trained in traditional Kung Fu schools. He teaches Qigong and Tai Chi at The Living Well, Helping Other People through Empowerment (HOPE), and Moving Forward as a vehicle to create healing throughout his community. He views himself as a social entrepreneur who engages in actions to empower and transform those who are most marginalized in our society by educating, mentoring, advocating, and leading by example while existing as an active agent within his community.
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Andrea Pyatt - Healing Arts Practitioner Andrea Pyatt is an energetic and loving student of yoga. A dancer and yogi for more than 35 years; she is dedicated to helping others recognize the light and power that lies within each person. Understanding that we are energetic beings having a human existence, her focus is on supporting every age and body type on their journey of selflove and awareness through the practice of yoga. As a Registered Yoga Teacher-200 hour with Yoga Alliance, her training and teaching style encompasses aspects of Sivananda, Iyengar, and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. She is currently in the process of expanding her yoga knowledge and training to incorporate Pre-natal Yoga and Radiant Child Certifications. She has taught yoga to Baltimore City School Children for more than 2 years. She also participated in the Baltimore City Council 2017 Senior Symposium, teaching chair yoga to our community elders. As a daughter of Baltimore City and current resident, she is vested in creating safe sacred spaces for the growth of our community.
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We started last year with new partnerships, purpose and energy. Before the 2015 Uprising, TLW maintained a healthy balance of providing community arts engagement, thought leadership and healing arts services. Post Uprising we found ourselves building on our cache of history, talent and relationships.
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Vision Forward. The Living Well hosted a retreat late summer titled Vision Forward where seven of our core investors and thought partners spent a week in Hampton Virginia at the historic Buckroe Beach to have a meeting of minds. We discussed our strengths, challenges and opportunities and engaged in mindfulness activities such as yoga, meditation and QiQong to refuel.
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We collectively agree that we are stronger together. Many are curious about how we operate with a solid infrastructure and measurable outcomes without funding from philanthropic funders. Because we operate as a Stock Corporation, we are not confined by non profit fiscal standards and practices such as restricted capital. We have developed a process to quantify the value proposition for each platform member or partner. We now have a formal agreement which outlines expectations and goals for each platform partner.
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underlay The core platform members defined the benefits of being on TLW platform as: • Instant community of people with thought capital • Loyalty from team as your name is safe in peoples’ mouths • Support systems • A meet up of people who are trying to save the planet and community • Super friends • Access to space to build • Social capital • Barter (in a way that means something) • A space to be creative • A resource bank of quality access and services • A cooperative of leaders who are engaged in the empowerment of Black people • Access to personal & professional development resources • Access and resources
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Conscious Expansion. Kaiser Permanente Social Health Innovation Late summer 2016, I was hired as a thought partner for Kaiser Permanente’s Social Health Innovation Hack-a-Thon and Pitch Competition. My role was to provide guidance and recruit community members to participate as thought leaders, visionaries, innovators and tech developers to create solutions for social health issues such as employment, access to health care and education.
“The Learning Process is something you can incite literally incite, like a riot” Audre Lorde
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The Kaiser Pitch event weekend was held at Coppin University early fall of 2016. A number of teams pitched their tech innovations, but only three were awarded money and access to a customized technology business development acceleration program. Nneka Nâ€™namdi our Director of Community Wellness was awarded a scholarship for the Juxtopia Juice Acceleration Program after pitching her initiative Fight Blight and won the opportunity to audit the acceleration training. Nneka is eligible to receive a cash reward to support the development of her social health and tech innovation Fight Blight. Nneka received brand development support and coaching from TLW before, during and after the KPSIC-AP.
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Our Director of Film and Photography Dominic Nell was hired to document the Hack-aThon event via his Nellaware Photography services. While taking photos, he linked with a team and pitched to develop the application “MyNiche” which will increase access to employment by connecting work candidates in the 21217 zip code with employers such as Amazon, and Under Armor to name a few. His team was a chosen a winner. This application has caught the interest of investors and is currently in the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development stage with a demo date to be determined in 2018.
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We hosted the Kaiser Permanente Social Innovation Acceleration Program (KPSIC-AP) in our new location. The winning teams attended a 12 week training which included business development, coaching and mentoring. TLW donated training and meeting space to host the KPSIC-AP and was successful in engaging the following local African American consultants and businesses to achieve the goal of the program:
• Dominic Nell - Nellaware Photography • Fred Samuels - Intellectual Property Attorney • Jason Harris - Thought Partner and Creative Consulting • Dr. Jayfus Doswell - Juxtopia Group Inc. • Jennifer White Torres Photography • Lakaye Mbah - Photography and Graphic Services • Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle
• Alanna Taylor - Masuret Group
• Michelle Stafford Wellness - Director of Health and Wellness
• Calvin Harris, CPA - Harvin Consulting
• Nicola Norman - Administration
• Cheryl Hinton Consulting
• Tafari Melisizwe - Indigenous Lens
Thought Partner and Technical
• Dr. David Fakunle - Thought Partner
• Terence Dickson - Terra Cafe
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HEALING CIRCLES Circle learning is an ancient healing modality. I created Iona Circles early in my career to address issues which impact the human spirit in organizations, systems and community. Healing Circles hosted at TLW are safe, trauma informed and designed for community members to share and listen to others with an open mind and heart.
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Healing In CommUNITY. Healing in CommUNITY demonstrates paths for wellness and self-healing from the long-term stress of intergenerational, economic, medical and emotional trauma. Addressing the impact of historical and systematic racism that maintains trauma in communities of color provides resources for organizations and institutions to audit their operating practices and norms. Increasing methods for reducing stress, anxiety and providing outlets for listening within organizations, systems and communities reveals best practices in restorative and healing modalities.
In spring of 2017 we worked in partnership with The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directorâ€™s Center for Innovation in Trauma-Informed Approaches to create a Healing In CommUNITY Transmedia Initiative that brings the power of storytelling and awareness to both the impact of trauma and the use of ancient healing traditions. We believe that the Soul must be the center and the core of healing. By using a combination of ancient healing modalities and expressive mediums such as visual arts, music, and physical movement we can create meaningful connections with ourselves and others.
Transmedia is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies such as hashtags, video, social media, etc.
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Throughout the year we found opportunities to expand the training received by NASMHPD Center for Innovation in Trauma-Informed Approaches and hosted a series of forums to teach residents and service providers about trauma responsive care. We also created the hashtage #healingincommunity so that others can benefit from the messaging and join the healing movement. We started by facilitating mega yoga and qigong classes so that we could begin our transmedia appeal. We invited a host of healing practitioners and media agents to film these events.
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Collaborators. The essence of TLW is collaboration. We believe that in strengthening and supporting each other we strengthen and support ourselves. Here are a few of our collaborators and a highlight of how we work together:
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Fluffy Pop Postcards founder Schaun Champion was noticed by TLW after submitting her photography from an open mega shoot hosted with Baltimore Girls Founder Stephanie “Safiyatou” Edwards. During her time at TLW, Schaun has produced compelling and engaging portrait, lifestyle and branding photography such as our Sister Power photo shoot and has helped to expand our Soulful Expression line of business.
A Looking Glass Project Through photography and travel, A Looking Glass Project promotes a sense of onus as students become cultural assets in their community and global leaders. Using photography as a medium and anthropology as the lens, A Looking Glass Project fosters creativity, resourcefulness, self expression, responsibility, citizenship, cultural awareness and philanthropy.
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Sunmolu Ashabi & Krystal Brown - ASA! Total Body Conditioning The premier low-impact workout evolution is an engaging fusion of modern club movements with cultural African energy into an enchantingly upbeat dance class.
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Andre Robinson - Thought Partner, executive producer, producer, project manager and consultant, on feature films, documentaries, television and variety shows, concerts, conferences and other special events. Along with his passion as executive producer for animation and graphic novel company Carbon-Fibre Media, he is currently the executive director for the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation, the developer of Baltimoreâ€™s first innovation district, Innovation Villages and part of the conscious creative leadership teams that are revitalizing Baltimore neighborhoods and enterprises.
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Eyes of Micheal Photography is one of our early brand photographers. His #HealinginCommunity shoot was featured on our Billboard.
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Joseph Beasley, offered his Photography and Video Services. A seasoned professional, he supported our Healing in Community Mega Shoot.
Cheryl Hinton, a beloved educator, artist, and long time Thought Partner. She is our Creative & Cultural Capital, a Community Historian as well as a Trauma Informed Consultant.
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BALTIMORE CEASE FIRE In May 2017, a movement started as a city-wide call, asking Baltimore residents to abstain from killings from Friday, August 4th through Sunday, August 6th. It also asked Baltimore residents to celebrate life during the ceasefire, by joining with others to plan life-affirming events. In preparation for the November Ceasefire, The Living Well alongside other community spaces around the City hosted planning meetings where community members provided input and suggestions to create healing spaces and activities with the ultimate goal of getting everyone in the city to commit to zero murders.
Residents were called to action by: • helping each other get the resources they need in their lives • having conversations with each other about how to handle conflict differently • making commitments to one another to be nonviolent in thoughts, words, and deeds, for at least the ceasefire weekend. The November Baltimore Ceasefire and Peace Challenge weekend came on the heels of co-founder Erricka Bridgeford’s Mid Atlantic TedX Ted Talk where she left not one dry eye in the house after telling the story of Baltimore’s greatness.
“ Revolution is not a one time event” Audre Lorde
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Terra Cafe is more than a food venue in Baltimore. Our Community Partner continues to provide community based services such as Neighbors without Walls, a monthly event which feeds men and women who are homeless with quality food and beverage. The Terra Cafe recently expanded their restaurant and obtained a liquor license. Owner Terence Dickson has been our long time community partner. The Terra Cafe operates as a community hub in Old Goucher.
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Bashi Rose - Co-founder of NOMMO Theatre/film provided film and editing for our Healing in Community film stories.
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Brittany Oliver - Founder of Not Without Black Women, community organizer, and thought partner, provided communication support for our fall programming. She also hosted a Resist & Engage forum, Nature Healing and a #MeToo speak out forum at TLW.
Devlon E. Waddell - Artist, Creative Capital, Designer, Stager, Owner of Knot You Vtg. Devlon provides furniture and design staging support for our events and studio.
Sundiata Osaige - Co-owner of Reflection Eternal Barbershop is one of our first Community partners. Sundiata is a fitness coach for his co-brand “Stay Chiseled” master barber and a community organizer. We also know him for spinning the wax as DJ Spirulina Green.
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Intentional Community Building Collective (ICBC) core mission is to create a pocket community in West Baltimore of community centric families drawing on the philosophies of our African ancestors and Indigenous American predecessors using advanced technology to create a modern village.
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Jason Harris - Creative and Cultural Capital, Afrofuturism, Author and Organizer. Jason provides “Break Glass” support for programming and community arts engagement. He is also the owner of Redlines Publishing. TLW sponsored his travel to Kimbilio in New Mexico for a writing retreat which nurtures Black writers and is dedicated to supporting and empowering Black fiction writer from America and the greater African diaspora.
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Kafi Dâ€™Ambrosi - STUDIOKAFI CREATIVE is our Thought Partner and Creative Coach. Kafi supports the development of strategic solutions for messaging, branding and corporate initiatives for TLW.
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Optimal Wellness. Feldenkrais Method “We move according to our perceived self-image.” Moshe Feldenkrais We expanded our Optimal Wellness line of business with collaborating with Feldenkrais hosting over 20 days of training. The Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and an empirical understanding of learning and human development.
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Lululemon Athletica Inc. is an athletic apparel retailer and self-described yoga-inspired athletic apparel company for women and men. The company makes a variety of athletic wear and has increased its footprint of social missions by co-hosting a Healing Trauma Yoga classes and their Here to Be initiative. Lulu Lemon grants yoga access to people who would not otherwise be able to attend classes, due to the fact that it is not readily offered in certain neighborhoods or affordable to those who are on a limited budget. Michelle Stafford will facilitate a community-based social impact program that will provide access to the healing benefits of yoga and meditation.
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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is selfpreservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde Photography Exposé of Soulful Expression, Conscious Expansion and Optimal Wellness. | 93
Rafiki Consortium continues to serve as our thought partner for counseling and mediation. The Living Well platform members received six continuing education units of training in Mindfulness & Meditation. Dr. Henry Gregory provides ongoing support and guidance with our mindfulness and trauma informed practices.
Michael Scott - Equity Matters continues to Promote Equity In All Policyâ„˘ including healing and trauma impacts by increasing awareness and creating navigable spaces through complexity--both physical and emotional. Equity Matters does this through healing circles for organizers from internalized racial oppression and by supporting a pipeline of leaders developed as liberated gatekeepers.
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Center for Innovation in TraumaInformed Approaches
The Living Well was hired as a technical assistance provider for The National Center for Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC). NCTIC is funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through a contract with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Over the last four years, NCTIC has provided on-site training and technical assistance to nearly every state in the country to develop and improve trauma-informed environments across the spectrum of public health programs. Training and technical assistance has been provided to residential programs; criminal justice and homeless programs; networks of training, educational, and learning collaboratives; communitybased agencies; and less formal gatherings of people seeking trauma support. Dr. Joan Gillece provided TLW guidance and coaching for our Trauma Informed Care Programming and provides a bridge to our connection to the SAMHSA.
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Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC) confronts the disconnect that exists in the Black communities regarding income disparity, leadership and indigenous decision making. Through implementing the principles of conscious community development, NDCC organization seeks to build economically cooperative and equitable communities through transparency, inclusiveness and collectivism. NDCC successfully works to improve financial sustainability, encourage business ownership and increase residential real estate ownership in Black neighborhoods.
Takia Ross - Thought Partner and Makeup Artist who continues to dazzle us with her make up business Accessmatized and connections to the business community. Most recently she partnered with Black Girl Ventures to co host “Boss Up” a Black Women Entrepreneurship pitch event.
TLW has partnered with Board Chair, Ron Hantz, to support their mission by providing capacity support and engagement for a variety of events and conferences. Photography Exposé of Soulful Expression, Conscious Expansion and Optimal Wellness. | 95
The mission of the Starving Artist Conference (SAC) is to provide valuable and comprehensive opportunities for the development of Artistic Entrepreneurship. Their goal is to inspire, engage, and assist independent artists in the development of their own growing businesses, community support, health and wellness, and individual success. This includes fostering professional growth and skill development through exposure to community and business leaders, while gaining a broader perspective on industry standard business practices.
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Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS) a Grass Roots Think Tank is one of our community and thought partners. We were able to grow our relationship with LBS and support their mission by providing access to space, logistical support for events and media.
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Asante Celebration - TLW launched its 2017 LBS partnership in February by supporting the logistics of the organization’s Asante Fundraising event. A ‘thank you’ to current and new supporters, the event of 100 attendees afforded LBS new sustainers and monetary donations.
Black August August has particular significance in the Black freedom struggle. There are two things in particular that inspired the creation of Black August; the commemoration of the martyrdom of Jonathan Jackson in 1970, which was inspired by many of the prison uprisings & the birth of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, a stalwart of modern Pan African Nationalism and self determination. In the spirit of this history we collaborated with LBS to host their Black August Symposium. This event held at the famous Black and Wax Museum consisted of educational and informative panel discussions on prevalent issues affecting Baltimore’s Black community.
Topics included: • Anti-Violence in Baltimore
TLW contributed to this forum by curating the panelist for the Black Arts Community Panel which included: Eric Brisco - Professor Briscoe, is a lecturer, visual artist and staff faculty of Morgan State University. Eze Jackson - Activist, Artist, Journalist Naomi Hanna - Self taught artist expressing her experience of the African Diaspora under the name of Sheshet Brush. Kafi D’Ambrosi - Creative consultant, entrepreneur community artist, photographer Olu Butterfly Woods - Poet, writer, artist, activist & Mother.
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The Eddie Conway Liberation Institute (ECLI) was housed at The Living Well in July 2017. ECLI is a national debate camp unified around the theme of Black cultural identity development and social justice. Students are equipped with policy debate training that incorporates cultural and racial identity and a developed knowledge of structural social, political and economic issues.
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HANDMADE HOLIDAY is our signature social and economic and empowerment event. This annual urban soul day party brings together local artisans to expand their market share. Itâ€™s a community meet up and celebration where shoppers can purchase gifts for the holiday and kwanzaa season.
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Soulful Expression. Baltimore El Tendedero Clothesline Project In early fall of 2017 I attended a skillshare workshop at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) with Mexico City artist MĂłnica Mayer and other activist and organizers working in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. on issues regarding sexual and domestic violence. Participants explored the needs of diverse communities. Mayer curated the first Clothesline Project in 1979 in Mexico that brought attention to sexual and domestic violence and continues to bring this interactive exhibit to Museums and Universities globally. This program is a part of the Women in Social Change at NMWA. I curated the Baltimore El Tendedero Clothesline Project as a contributing partner with the Fresh Talk program.
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NMWA Public Programs Coordinator Alicia Gregory, NMWA Director of Public Programs Melani Douglass, artist Mónica Mayer, Maurissa Stone Bass of The Living Well Center, and Dilcia Molina of La Clinica Del Pueblo; Photo: Kevin Allen — at National Museum of Women in the Arts.
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BeMore Community Sings is a community event for singers of all ages and experiences to connect and create a healing space with music. BeMore Community Sings is led by our Thought Partner, Lea Gilmore, a blues, gospel and jazz singing civic activist who has lent her voice, literally and figuratively, to advocacy for the underserved and made a huge difference not only locally but internationally.
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FelaFest Afro Beat Family Friendly Day Party We understand that a major part of healing is done through music and dance. TLW community sponsored a day party in the afrobeat tradition to celebrate Freedom Fighter and artist Fela Kuti. We achieved our goal to celebrate his contribution to our legacy and engage our community to resist, engage and activate our collective power. This celebration was important as we organize to fight against policies that undermine our collective humanity.
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Rueda De Casino Baltimore Our amazing partnership with Cedric Teamer and Rene Holt of the Rueda De Casino Cuban Dance organization, created one of many family and culture centered community gatherings. We hosted two dance socials in 2017. This partnership is one that demonstrates our platform as one that uses the healing technologies of dance and music to preserve indigenous cultural arts and social communities.
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Egbe Akokorin is an African Rites of Passage Menâ€™s Society that provides indigenous spiritual and historical leadership for Black Men in the Baltimore region. The Egbe have a deep connection within the community and continues to educate and preserve ethos of African indigenous culture, spirituality and leadership.
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Baltimore Girls Baltimore Girls founder, Stephanie ‘Safiyatou’ Edward, a visionary leader, healer and a cultural conductor uses a Creative Placemaking approach to design interactive multimedia art installations using poetry, dance and compilation of cultural arts and afrofuturism. Her work offers commentary on the resiliency of Black Women in community. TLW partnered with Baltimore Girls to host a mega Sister Circle and a mega shoot which was the foreground of the popular Baltimore Girls Video.
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Masai Interactive is our Brand Consulting and Design Partner. CEO Anthony Teat has driven our brand strategy from our inception. Masai provides the creativity, experience and leadership to help businesses and organizations build and deliver clear messaging and effective communication materials, in digital and print.
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Looking Forward. ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES: • Customized training & technical assistance for social entrepreneurs. • Create visual content (including photographs, social media, brand images) for digital media platforms) • Facilitate Black Men Wellness Circles. • Sister Power Support Circles that will provide coaching and support to improve quality of life. • Work collaboratively with Baltimore City Schools to expanding Healing Technologies resources for K-12 school based and after care programs. • Creating a social health innovation pitch coaching forum. • Provide technical assistance and capacity building training for Community Development organizations. • Host a Vision Board session. • Financial Fasting & Education Forums. • Host two Style Swaps. • Continue Healing Technology and Mindfulness classes: Yoga & QiQong. • Provide Strategic and Retreat Planning (on/off site). • Facilitate Trauma Informed Care Talk Backs and Healing Circles. • Curate Photography Exhibits. • Speak Up Poetry for Youth.
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Looking in my rear view mirror, I can better appreciate the challenges of growing and sustaining a social venture business as an “opportunity in work clothes”. I’m mindful and grateful for personal sacrifices that are made by the TLW platform members to help grow a vision. It is a constant reminder that we are connected by the core values of service and civic engagement. I am also thankful to our allies and as well as our detractors because they both bring a new opportunity for motivation and reflection. We will continue to listen and learn from those who have a stake in reclaiming agency in our neighborhoods. We will continue to support our communities to live well and celebrate our culture and our greatness. We will continue to free ourselves from mental, spiritual, physical and economic bondage.
“Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves” Aundre Lorde
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The Company We Keep. Our sphere of influence is what powers The Living Well’s ability to navigate impact within our eco-systems. Our core platform partners operate within a collective web of thought leadership, social health, cultural and business connections. These inter-connections demonstrate how we are rooted in community development. • Andre Robinson - Mt. Royal Community Development Corporation - www.mrcdc.org • Anthony Pressley - Druid Heights Community Development - http://druidheights.com • Alanna Taylor - The Masuret Group - www.masuretgroup.com • Anthony Teat - Masai Interactive - http://masaidesign.com • Baltimore Peace Challenge - www.baltimorepeacechallenge.com • Bashi Rose, Co-founder - NOMMO Theatre/film - www.vimeo.com/bashirose • Dr. Bridal Pearson - www.ub.edu • Brittany Oliver - Not Without Black Woman - http://www.brittanytoliver.com • Calvin Harris, CPA - Harvin Consulting LLC - https://www.linkedin.com/in/calvinhjr • Charlene Phipps - Community Healing Network - http://www.communityhealingnet.org • Cheryl Hinton - Thought Partner and Creative Consulting • Dana Brown - Make Up Artist - firstname.lastname@example.org • Dr. David Fakunle - Thought Partner - https://www.wombwork.com/featured-artist/2017/10/20/david-fakunlephd
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• Devlon Waddell - Knot You Vtg. @knotyouvtg • Diane Bell-Mckoy - Associated Black Charities - www.ABC.org • Dominic Nell - Nellaware Photography - www.nellaware.smugmug.com/ • Eze Jackson - Artist - www.soudcloud.com/ezejackson • The Feldenkrais Method - https://baltimorefeldenkraistraining.com • Fred Samuels, Intellectual Property Attorney - http://www.cahnandsamuels.com/MeetOurAttorneys_Samuels.html • Gina Merritt - Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures - http://www.nreuv.com • Dr. Geri Lynn Peak - Two Gems Consulting - https://www.twogemsconsulting.com • Great Black & Wax Museum - http://www.greatblacksinwax.org • Greg Brown & Naijha Wright-Brown - Land of Kush - www.landofkush.com • Intentional Community Building Collective @ICBC - https://www.facebook.com/ICBCBaltimore/ • Jason Harris - Redlines Publishing - www.newfuturism.com • Dr. Jayfus Doswell of Juxtopia - http://www.juxtopia.org • Jennifer White Torres Photography - http://jenniferwhitetorres.com • Dr. Joan Gillece - National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Center for Innovation in Trauma-Informed Approaches - www.samhsa.gov • Joan Pratt & Associate - 1900 E Northern Pkwy Ste T10, Baltimore, MD 21239 - (410) 243-1200
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• Joseph Beasley -https://josabeasley.deviantart.com • Kafi D’Ambrosi - Studio Kafi Creative - https://studiokafi.wordpress.com • Kaiser Permanente Social Innovation - www.kpsic.bemyapp.com • Lakaye Mbah - Photography and Graphic Services - www.Lakayembah.com • Lea Gilmore - Bemore Community Sings - http://www.leagilmore.com • Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle - http://www.lbsbaltimore.com • Lisa B. - email@example.com • Lulu Lemon - www.lululemon.com • Michael King Photography - http://www.eyesofmichael.com • Michael Scott - Equity Matters - www.equitymattersbaltimore.org • Michelle Stafford Wellness - https://www.michellestaffordwellness.com • Naomi Hanna - Shehsut Brush - http://seshatsbrush.bigcartel.com • National Museum of Women in the Arts, Woman Arts and Social Change -https://nmwa.org/advocate/womenarts-and-social-change • Nia Hampton, Journalist - www.niahampton.com • Nicola Norman - Garden of Nicola - https://www.facebook.com/nicola.norman.16 • Nneka Nnamdi - Fight Blight Baltimore - https://youtu.be/4ouAYt-esms
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• Olufunmike Butterfly Woods - http://www.poetryandpower.org/olu-butterfly-woods • People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond - PISAB.org • Rafiki Consortium - http://www.rafikiconsortium.com • Ron Hantz - https://ndccnetwork.org • Rueda De Casino Baltimore - http://ruedadecasinobaltimore.com • Sean Yoes - Afro American Newspaper - https://twitter.com/seanyoes?lang=en • Schaun Champion - Fluffy Pop Postcards - www.fluffypoppostcards.com • Shawna Murray-Brown - Kindred Wellness - www.healasister.com - http://shawnamurraybrowne.com • Starving Artist Conference - www.starvingartistconference.com • Sundiata Osagie - @SudiataOsagie/facebook.com • Sunmolu Ashabi & Krystal Brown - ASA! Total Body Conditioning - http://www.asabodyconditioning.com • Tafari Melisizwe - The Indigenous Lens Photographic Arts - @theindigenouslens • Takia Ross - Assessmatized - http://www.accessmatized.com • Teachers Democracy Project - http://www.tdpbaltimore.org • Terence Dickson - Terra Cafe - https://www.terracafebmore.com
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Reviews: Glynnetta Chancellor-Lewis — 5 stars December 29, 2017 We are from St. Louis and attended a Kwanzaa Celebration here and absolutely loved this space and ambiance. Beautiful venue, very clean with a gorgeous view at night. There is a cultural energy that greets you at the door that feels amazing! Love it here! Tiffany Rice — 5 stars October 29, 2017 I’m so glad that I booked this place for my birthday party. You were so hospitable. My friends and family complimented the place all night.
Michelle Woods — 5 stars May 27, 2017 I absolutely love The Living Well. This mornings Yoga experience with Michelle Stafford was amazing and it left me feeling energized and grateful. The space is warm and welcoming and her staff was very helpful. I recommend anyone to give The Living Well a try, you won’t be sorry. Mary Gearhart — 5 stars January 22, 2017 A warm, welcoming space in Baltimore for all kinds of people to share their gifts, to sing and move together, to listen and learn from each other, to begin to heal...
Photo Credits: Fluffy Pop Postcards 10,19 far right, 20, 23, 27, 28, 36, 38, 42, 44, 56, 60, 73, 74, 76, 80, 85, 91, 93, 94, 106, 110, 114, 116 & 122
Nellaware Photography 14, 18, 19 far left, 24, 30, 32, 34, 36, 40, 46, 54, 60, 63, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72, 73, 80, 81, 82, 83, 87, 89, 90, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104 far left, bottom right, 105,107 & 109
Eyes of Michael 11 Shayna Hobson 67 Saddi Khali Photography 12 Joshua Stafford
Christoph Dupree 58 Kevin Allen Photography 104 top Photography Exposé of Soulful Expression, Conscious Expansion and Optimal Wellness. | 121
235 Holliday Street Baltimore, Maryland 21202 410.212.5953 | livewellbemore.com
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