Start Your Day with Purpose!

Join Parents, Educators and Business Members of Chicago’s Communities

for the

6 for 6 Adolescent Mental Health Speaker Breakfast Series

Join Us for Breakfast on These Dates

September 26 Emotional Intelligence: The Youth Advantage
October 11 Resilience: Rising Above in a Rapidly Changing World
October 25 Communication: The Bridge in Mental Health Dialogues
November 8 Motivation: Igniting Minds Amidst Mental Health Struggles
November 22 Developmental Insights: Understanding the Adolescent Mind
December 6 Trauma-Informed Approaches: Guiding Youth Through Life's Storms

MHAGC, in collaboration with our premier partner Alight Solutions, invites you to join parents, educators, and community business leaders for a series of six engaging breakfast events focused on adolescent mental health. Each session features an expert speaker who will share valuable insights, strategies, and resources to support the mental well-being of adolescents. Whether you’re a parent, educator, or mental health professional, these events provide an excellent opportunity to learn and connect with others dedicated to improving adolescent mental health.

Event Highlights:

  •        Six informative breakfast sessions
  •        Expert speakers on various aspects of adolescent mental health
  •        Practical advice and resources
  •        Networking opportunities with like-minded individuals

Don’t miss out on this chance to deepen your understanding and make a positive impact on the mental well-being of young people.

Seating is Limited



Commissioner Dennis Deer

Speaking on Communication: The Bridge in Mental Health Dialogues
Commissioner/Dr. Dennis Deer, deeply rooted in Chicago’s West Side, is not only a devoted family man but also a respected leader dedicated to uplifting his community. With advanced degrees in Elementary and Special Education, Rehabilitation Psychology, and Christian Psychology from Jackson State University, Dr. Deer combines his educational expertise with his extensive experience in community service to enrich his advocacy work. Dr. Deer's professional certifications, including as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Certified Corrective Thinking Therapist, enable him to address a wide range of community issues through a multifaceted approach.

Erica Petrelli

Speaking on Emotional Intelligence: The Youth Advantage
With nearly three decades of experience in people development, this seasoned leadership trainer, advisor, author, and adjunct professor has made a significant impact in the field of emotional intelligence and leadership development. Erika serves as the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at The Leadership Program, where she has successfully cultivated emotional intelligence and leadership skills in K-12 youth. Her work involves creating award-winning leadership curricula recognized by esteemed organizations like CASEL, OJJDP, and SAMHSA, alongside initiating extensive programmatic efforts for youth and professionals across the United States.

Nicole Van Baardwijk

Speaking on Resilience: Rising Above in a Rapidly Changing World
As a dedicated coach with a rich background in Human Resources and personal development, Nicole brings a unique perspective to teaching teen resilience. Her philosophy is rooted in progression and self-awareness, empowering young individuals to make informed decisions and embrace personal growth without the need for drastic changes. Her coaching style is interactive and supportive, focusing on active participation, practical solutions, and constructive feedback to guide through one’s unique challenges.
Nicole’s professional expertise is complemented by her work in "The Power of Choice: A Journey to Resilience," a book where she explore themes of selfleadership and breaking negative patterns. She aims to help individuals develop these skills, fostering a robust foundation for enduring personal and academic challenges with confidence and optimism.

Audrey Grunst, MSW, LCSW, CCM

Speaking on Motivation: Igniting Minds Amidst Mental Health Struggles
Audrey Grunst, LCSW, owner of Simply Bee Counseling and an experienced mental performance coach, specializes in motivating teens through a comprehensive approach to mental wellness. Her practice offers services tailored to young people, including individual and group therapy, workshops, and retreats that integrate elements such as nutrition, yoga, and movement with traditional counseling. Audrey is a dynamic public speaker who frequently addresses topics critical to adolescent development such as anxiety, decision-making skills, body image, perfectionism, and mindfulness. Her presentations to educators and parents are designed to equip them with the psychoeducational tools necessary for understanding and enhancing teen motivation. 

Dr. Terry Wu

Speaking on Developmental Insights - Understanding the Adolescent Mind
Dr. Terry Wu, an expert in neuroscience leadership training, offers invaluable insights for educators and parents on how to support teens effectively. In his workshops and talks, Dr. Wu explores the "Neuroscience of Why People Follow," transforming complex brain science into practical strategies that can enhance leadership in educational settings. His focus extends to managing stress and burnout, emphasizing techniques for leaders to mitigate the effects of stressors in both work and life, ensuring they do not inadvertently become stressors themselves to those they lead. Dr. Wu's extensive research into neuroscience reveals that our brains inherently seek group belonging and identity, a principle that can be particularly useful in fostering inclusive and supportive environments for teens.

Dr. LaKeta Carter

Speaking on Trauma-Informed Approaches: Guiding Youth Through Life’s Storms
Dr. Carter, a distinguished clinical psychologist with a Doctorate from Loyola University Maryland, brings an extensive academic and professional background to her presentations on trauma. Her credentials include licenses in psychology, clinical professional counseling, and alcohol and drug counseling, alongside certifications such as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and a Diplomate in Rape Trauma. Dr. Carter’s approach is deeply informed by her significant achievements, such as the American Psychological Association Fellowship and multiple accolades for leadership and professional excellence in Maryland. Her work consistently integrates the latest insights from her publications on trauma and intimacy in top-tier outlets like Psychology Today, ensuring her presentations are both informed and groundbreaking. 


Join MHAGC in this transformative journey as we collectively strive to turn the tide in adolescent mental wellness.
Emotional Intelligence: The Youth Advantage
September 26
Discover the power of emotional intelligence (EQ) in shaping the success and well-being of young individuals.
Communication: The Bridge in Mental Health Dialogues
October 11
Effective communication is key to understanding and addressing mental health issues among young people.
Resilience: Rising Above in a Rapidly Changing World
October 25
In an era marked by constant change and uncertainty, resilience has become a crucial skill for young people.
Motivation: Igniting Minds Amidst Mental Health Struggles
November 8
Motivating youth facing mental health challenges requires a delicate balance of encouragement, understanding, and support.
Developmental Insights: Understanding the Adolescent Mind
November 22
The adolescent years are a period of significant brain development and emotional growth, which can impact behavior and mental health.
Trauma-Informed Approaches: Guiding Youth Through Life’s Storms
December 6
Trauma can profoundly affect a young person's mental health, behavior, and outlook on life.
Seating is Limited

Venue 4343

Breakfasts will be hosted at Venue 4343, a local venue owned by members of and located in the heart of our community.
Seating is limited, so be sure to book your spot fast!
Located: 4343 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60639




The Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago (MHAGC) was founded in 1957, based on the amazing work and accomplishments of Clifford W. Beers - who gained the support of the medical profession and others in the work to reform the treatment of the mentally ill. Beers was a leader in the field until his retirement in 1939.

MHAGC concentrates its efforts on the development and implementation of educational programs and support services making emotional wellness a health
priority in our schools, homes, and communities.