The dangers of the “Just Do It” mindset...when you don’t have the tools you need to get it done.

The dangers of the “Just Do It” mindset…when you don’t have the tools you need to get it done.

I cried 3 times this week. Once from anger, once from sadness, and once from happiness. Most importantly, I let those feelings be, to allow myself the vulnerability to be open for change. Often times as black males, we have to hold in our aggression, and not show our sadness (be tough). Not show our happiness (be tough).
The toughest thing one can do is be vulnerable enough with their feelings to allow the negative impact to push you towards a positive resolution. When we suppress our emotions, they become repressed, and that energy is misdirected and can show up in unexpected and detrimental ways. Let it out, be vulnerable, be you, but most importantly, always strive for the thing you want to see and be. In order to follow your dreams, you have to put YourPassion1st.   Equity isn’t giving everyone a bandaid, equity is giving a bandaid to those who need it. Many academics and scholars are having conversations about the importance of mental health in spaces where the underserved don’t have access. These conversations are happening in “abundance” and it can seem that the tides are changing, however, those that need access to mental health assistance are still severely lacking. The World Health Organization compiled information from over 20 studies and came to the conclusion that poverty, hunger, overcrowded housing, and more are directly linked to a higher rate of mental illness. Furthermore, A study by JAMA Psychiatry has found that low-income communities lack access to specialty mental health care treatment. These findings suggest that underserved youth are at a higher risk of mental health issues and have fewer resources than those in higher-income households. When we connect mental health to being “functional in the workplace” and pursuing goals and passions then those that come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are at a direct disadvantage. It’s important for us to do our part in supporting the mental health of the next generation so that we can give them a fighting chance of not only being able to take care of themselves but so that we can have the privilege of experiencing and benefiting from all of the talents and gifts that are lying dormant inside of them. They are our future and when we ignore them and cast them aside we are doing humanity a disservice.
LIVE KOBE BRYANT TRIBUTE - Mental Health The Kobe Way

LIVE KOBE BRYANT TRIBUTE – Mental Health The Kobe Way

On Sunday, January 26th, 2020, the world lost a basketball icon, a dedicated father, and a great advocate for mental health awareness. Kobe Bryant amazed us on the basketball court, but inspired athletes and fans around the world off of the court by sharing his struggles with anxiety, insecurities, and a way to overcome it all with his Mamba Mentality!
The Mamba Mentality is about obsession. It is about prioritizing your professional goals over having a normal, balanced life. It is about playing without fear, mastering your craft and wanting not only to win, but to dominate! The five pillars are passion, obsession, relentlessness, resiliency, and fearlessness.
In partnership with IPlayGames, Reflect Media, Echo Theater Collective, CPD, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), YourPassion1st would like to invite you to a Kobe Bean Bryant (August 23rd, 1978 - January 26th, 2020) TRIBUTE hosted on the unfortunate day of his passing.
In recognizing Kobe and his Mamba Mentality, we have organized and amazing tribute event! Below are details of what you can look forward to:
Tuesday January 26, 2021 - 4:30pm - 9:00pm
4:30pm (CST) - NBA2K Basketball Tournament
Your Passion 1st dives into the world of Esports with its first NBA2k21 tournament hosted by I Play Games! If you haven't signed up yet, here's the link:​
6:00pm (CST) - LIVE Art Experiment w/ Reflect Media & Echo Theater Collective
Live Art Experiment is a virtual performance where artists of different disciplines join together to create on the spot. Visual artists, dancers and musicians experiment for an improv collaboration. Our hope is to provide a platform for art to be used as a tool to unify and communication. There will be an auction held at the end of the show. Proceeds from the paintings go towards the artists and YourPassion1st
7:00pm (CST) - Panel Discussion - Mamba Mentality Mental Health The Kobe Way
Co-moderated by:
---Latesha Pike - Supervisor - National Alliance on Mental Illness
---Chris Thomas - Founder - YourPassion1st
---Dr. Wendy Borlabi - Sports Psychologist - Chicago Bulls
---Michael O. Fakuade - Professional Basketball Player - King Szczecin (Poland)
---Jitm Young - Coach/Mentor/Radio Personality - Chicago Jesuit Academy
---Daryl Satcher - Yoga & Mental Wellness Coach - A Leading Man
---Dr. Celeste & Stephen Jackson - Mental Health Practitioners
*panel subject to change
8:30pm (CST) ART AUCTION - Art by @dwhite.original(Instagram) plus special guests
The entire Tribute will be streamed LIVE on Facebook & YouTube @YourPassion1st!
We look forward to having you join us!
And remember..."In order to follow your dreams, you have to put YourPassion1st."
Reimagining Your Why - Your Passion 1st

Reimagining Your Why

Unprecedented, omnipresent, and life-altering. No matter how you describe the COVID-19 pandemic, for billions around the world the virus has changed life as we know it. Mental Health Issues have shown up front and center since the arrival of COVID-19.  They have been addressed by the media, in particular entertainers, sports stars, musicians, and even in the culinary space as we look to redefine who and what we bring into our mind, body, and spirit. While this crisis has affected adults on so many fronts, we must also take into consideration how this is affecting our youth.

According to the Association for Children’s Mental Health (ACMH), one in five adolescents have some kind of diagnosable emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder. It is also estimated that one in ten adolescents have mental health challenges. Therefore it is imperative that as mentors and parents of young adults, we identify and assess mental health concerns, as opposed to behavior changes that are attributed to normal growth and development during the adolescent years.

Life will never return to what it was. As rushed vaccines, do their best, much will still be permanently changed. Engaging in the workplace, attitudes about life goals, and reimagining how to conduct life socially are all things YourPassion1st is excited and eager to focus on. Mental Health Awareness will be increased as individuals revisit personal goals, and organizations will be forced to look at hiring, onboarding, training and retention policies as they look to redefine equitable employee engagement standards for all, but most intentional around our black and brown young adults as they get ready to initially enter or re-enter the workforce.

Interestingly, some new research points to features of mental health that will be needed during this 3rd Industrial Revolution. Those findings link, with what some have unearthed, creates greater emotional resiliency, allowing individuals to realign what is essential with their personal values and vision, and what you're truly passionate about. It’s vital to the success of our nation, that we continue to demonstrate these values to our young adults through support and mentorship.

"In order to follow your dreams, you have to put YourPassion1st." - CT

2020 Workforce Readiness Festival Recap

Passion Unleashed!

Despite the odds of a global pandemic, economic hardships, and continued racial tension and inequality, we continued to press forward, pivot, adapt and met our final objectives with the culmination of our mentoring program and virtual workforce readiness festival on November 14th. It was amazing to see our participating young adults, mentors and community partners come together for an unbelievably impactful day of performances and workshops. Individuals were able to highlight their passion in art, culinary, entertainment, fashion, music, sports, and/or wellness as part of 7 Day Global Music Festival hosted by one of our partners, Mi Casa Holiday (MCH).  Along with BUILD Chicago Inc, the MCH Community came together in the name of passion and brought 150 contributors from 18 different countries, more than 25,000 streams, and helped raise over $10,000!! We're so grateful to Julius “The Mad Thinker” Spates and the Mi Casa Holiday family for allowing us to join their platform, Carmen Scott Boria and the BUILD Chicago team for being amazing hosts, Sal and the MeetApp GO team, Derik Hines of Stories to Savior, Martin Ho of Traceable Change, Evan McKerns of UQF, Casandra Powell and Light of Loving Kindness, Jeff Cole and One Span, Dot Lambshead Roche of Race Conscious Dialogues, Echo Theater Collective, John Ibarra and the team from Que4 Studios for their amazing partnership. Our amazing team of mentors and volunteers especially Shana “Queen Prophecy” Williams, Daniele “DeLaFaye” Carr, Tere Wang, Zaire Brooks, Marcelus Miles, Crystal Thomas, Debra Kraft and Susan Lucci. A special thank you to my board members Carlee Taggart and Katherine Kirk for always going above and beyond.  And finally, my business partner Joe Natal of Exponential Consulting for sticking with me from the beginning and helping to make this crazy idea a reality. Thank YOU! Big congratulations go to young adults Jada Cardine and Keishjuan Owens for winning the 2020 YourPassion1st Pitch Competition. Continue to follow your dreams with YourPassion1st! If you were unable to attend the live stream Workforce Readiness Festival event, we've included a link to the unedited version at:
Your Passion 1st Chicago has officially launched!

We are proud to announce our new website, Through innovation, research, and synergy, we inspire under-resourced communities as they overcome challenges surrounding the employment and achievement gaps. We are looking to be the industry leader in workforce readiness festivals, workshops, and events. Check out our website for events, podcasts, and opportunities to volunteer and help us inspire Chicago's youth.


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