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Adolescent Wellness, Inc. (AWI) 
Joey Kinyanjui presents on stigma reduction at McLean Hospital.  
Art by Teddy Sevilla and Matthew Tom.
AWI Newsletter
August, 2015 

In This Issue

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It is very warm around Boston; I hope it is beautiful wherever you are reading this! 

In July, I was invited to speak at McLean Hospital.  They asked me to start a week of presentations on the theme of 'Wiping Out Stigma' because of the work  by Adolescent Wellness, Inc. (AWI) and its volunteers. Fortunately for the audience, one of the AWI volunteers agreed to share the podium with me. He was able to concisely explain what he did.

His name is Joey Kinyanjui and he is a 2015 graduate of Wellesley high school.I met Joey after he responded to an invitation to join the  Peer Leadership & Depression  Prevention program that  AWI launched in collaboration with the  Rot ary club of Wellesley.
The power of exercise as a coping mechanism. Spray paint on canvas by Teddy Sevilla.
 He helped found its Interact club, 
where t eens train as peer leaders and co-facilitate emotional wellness  curricula with schools and  youth groups. The program is now in five communities in the US and Puerto Rico.

In our presentation at McLean, we spoke of the outcomes achieved with the curriculum - improved   knowledge, attitude and behavior measured by pre- and post-curriculum surveys. We also spoke of less measured but equally important projects launched by Joey and the other Interact members, such as their blog ( and an  interactive art installation described in an article below.  

Our McLean presentation concluded with a call to action which I hope you will also consider:

I f you can be active with a Parent Teacher Organization this year, please contact me for grade specific resources you can introduce. For example, every youth in grades four  through eight would benefit greatly by exercising the activities in the  virtual Wellness Center ( in its classroom mode.  We know reaching 22 people with improved problem solving and coping skills prevents 1 case of depression, so let's make it happen!  
Thank you!

-Bob Anthony

Did you know... can attend train-the-trainer online with Boston Children's Hospital and receive their depression and suicide prevention curriculum?  

Call or email Karen Capraro, LICSW, at Boston Children's hospital:
    -  (617) 919-3220
How do you cope with Stress?

Teen members of Wellesley's Interact Club, sponsored by Rotary, initiated a series of interactive emotional wellness-themed art installations.  In the first phase, p articipating sites place poll boxes asking for written  responses to questions, including:
Polling box
Polling station.
- 'How do you cope with Stress?' 
- 'Who do you feel you can trust while you're struggling?' 

The Interact teens synthesize the responses collected to create unique art items.  The first art installation was timed to help McLean Hospital launch their 'Wiping Out Stigma' week. Poll boxes were placed around the campus with different prompts. P atients, visitors and providers wrote responses from which the artists translated ideas and themes into art pieces.  

The next installation will be at Newton Wellesley Hospital and the Interact teens are seeking invitations from additional sites, perhaps from libraries or business locations. 

Who do you feel you can trust while struggling?
Responses placed in the polling station ranged from, 'no one' to God, family members, and friends. The artists delivered the following;
"Associated with isolation is the act of hiding from
Blind Spot
Oil on canvas by
Matthew Tom
view, fading to black.  In an effort to visualize internal battles of
 distrust and isolation, furthermore locating the source of the remoteness, the painting asks the audience to question the intent behind the veil over the figure. The blinding placement of the article self-imposed, or influenced by the likes of others?"

"While the subject of this piece is a man confessing
Confession-Teddy Sevilla
Acylic on canvas by
Teddy Sevilla
his sins or wrongs in the context of a church, there is meaning in the painting outside its concrete religious imagery. On a more abstract level, the grating that lies between the confessing man acts as sort of a filter between the man and the recipient of his confession, showcasing how truth can be obscured and distorted from the reality of an individual's experience.  Often times we conflate one-on-one testimony with truth, but deeper unearthed sentiments may frequently lie beneath the words of a trusted friend."

"Often overlooked by themes of childhood and
Where the Wild Things Are
Ink on paper by
Matthew Tom
identity, the book Where the Wild Things Are, reaffirms values of acceptance within the familial structure.  The mother providing food for her son, despite his distancing adventures in an unknown land with unknown creatures. Using the theme as a vehicle for a piece regarding the importance of family and friends, this piece attempts to capture the intimate reception and constant nature of loved ones, regardless of foreboding thoughts of physical distance and savagery."

How do you cope with stress?
This question at a polling station resulted in several responses answering 'exercise' or 'eating'.
Red, Yellow, Blue:
PopTart, Marshmallow, Tortilla
Acrylic on Food; Photography 
Teddy Sevilla & Matthew Tom.
The latter response led to the creation of a photograph with the following  explanation:  "Used as both a luxury and a necessity, the role of food in terms of its  impact to humanity has evolved from an  essential to a detriment to health. In an explo ration of the ever changing role of food in society, the format of t he piece traces the  evolution of primary colors and shapes to complex hues and forms. The quintessential building blocks once bound by basic functions and means, no longer stuck within earlier conventions."
AWI volunteers

The people who make it happen; we are very grateful to the c urrent AWI volunteers listed below:
  • Bob Anthony - President
  • Anthony Schweizer - Board Chairman
  • Chip Douglas - Director
  • Calvin Place - Director
  • Lisa Siegel - Director
  • Frank Hays - Marketing

  • Donna Vello - School facilitation

  • Cindy Hurley - Wellesley HS counselor
  • Teddy Sevilla - Youth Advisory
  • Noah Stein - Youth Advisory
  • Matthew Tom - Youth Advisory 
Adolescent Wellness, Inc. | 103 Old Colony Road | Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481 |
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