By Kathy Chouteau
YES Nature to Neighborhoods (YES) will bring together local nonprofits, artists and City of Richmond officials for the free-admission Rich City Kickback Sat., Nov. 4 from 1-4 p.m. at the Richmond Recreation Complex in an event encouraging wellness and mental health in the community.
Young adults ages 18-26 participating in YES’ Teaching Racial Environmental Empowerment Series (TREES) program will seize the moment to address the high rate of substance use disorder among their peers, according to YES. The TREES group will share firsthand experiences with attendees re: alternative wellness practices while also advocating for more government-funded mental and emotional health resources.
To this end, Rich City Kickback encourages others dedicated to promoting wellness and mental health advocacy in Richmond to join them Saturday. Already lined up are Urban Tilth, The Watershed Project, Young Women’s Freedom Center and the Alcohol Marijuana Prescription Drug (AMPD) Coalition, which YES said will lead hands-on healing and wellness activities, as well as musical acts, intended to uplift and inspire attendees.
During the day, BANTABA will entertain the crowd with drumming and dancing, while Danza Azteca will also perform. Giveaways, raffle prizes and a community art activity will additionally be part of the mix. The first 15 adults to arrive at the event will also receive a special gift, per organizers.
Michelle Nguyen, Young Adult Program Supervising Coordinator at YES, said TREES long-term goal is to inspire a paradigm shift in how our community approaches wellness. YES aims for TREES to become a program that “our city can learn from, replicate, and integrate into holistic wellness centers,” she said, emphasizing that “young people have ideas and voices that need to be heard.”
One person who has benefited from the TREES program is Rafael, who hopes the event bridges the generational gap in awareness of the importance of community mental health and inspires city officials to become more active in connecting community members with available resources. He said “It’s about giving people the choice and the tools to heal.”