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Below is a recording of the panel held on March 3 in Charlotte, NC moderated by APNC’s Executive Director, Sarah Potter.
Joseph Green is a motivational speaker, educator, trainer, professional storyteller, award-winning spoken word poet, and a person in long-term recovery. Joseph’s life story and work are featured in media outlets such as Youth Today, UpWorthy, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and many more. Joseph’s presentations and workshops are for anybody seeking a reconnection to purpose, motivation, or community. His work reminds us that more important than knowing what we are fighting against is knowing and never forgetting what we are fighting for.
With a background in theatre and performance poetry, Joseph intertwines storytelling and spoken word poetry to inspire his audience to join him on a journey of self-care, self-awareness, self-forgiveness, and paying your blessings forward to make a world a better place for everyone. He believes strongly in stories’ innate ability to connect people to their higher purpose and one another.
Joseph has partnered with many programs making a positive change in schools and communities nationwide. He has designed youth empowerment programs and a comprehensive training for adults working in youth development. In Washington DC, he created “The Healing Root DC” – a mental health literacy program for youth leaders. In Maryland, Joseph works with incarcerated youth to highlight their stories and help end mass incarceration.
Sara Howe is an award-winning, nationally recognized behavioral health leader with 20 years of experience building successful coalitions to take organizations to the next level. Sara holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health promotion from Purdue University and an MBA from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. Sara served on the board of directors and as public policy chair of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing for seven years. She also recently served as chair of the Illinois Department of Human Services Social Services Advisory Council.
Jullee Capshaw (she/her) is a 30 year old woman pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of North Georgia. Jullee has been sober since 2014 and offers a unique personal experience with recovery to the panel. Jullee moved to Charlotte from Atlanta, Georgia in August 2021 and joined the CRC in her second semester at UNCC. In the future, Jullee hopes to work with people who are experiencing mental health issues due to trauma.
Joe Adonis Lewis II (he/him) grew up as the youngest child in a military family, giving him the opportunity to travel the world and be exposed to a myriad of peoples and cultures. This unique experience, coupled with a longtime struggle to find peace and identity as a mixed-race queer son of 2 pastors, inspired his passion for documenting, witnessing and advocating for the unique human experience.
As a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Joe has continuously drawn inspiration from the energy and pulse of the Triangle and its surrounding communities. Beginning as a social worker, he assisted with navigating and providing a pathway to comprehensive care/service for young queer & trans people of color living with HIV, many of whom struggled with poverty, homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse issues. From this experience, he co-developed and implemented a community initiative in Charlotte to provide safe & dedicated space to offer education, programming, and services based in HIV/STI prevention, and Healthy Lifestyle Development for young MSM and transgender people of color—a walk-in community center, The Power-House Project. With nearly 15 years of experience in non-profit servicing, training, and leadership, Joe has been able to utilize experiences from his personal journey, many of which involved trauma & hardship, to encourage and guide struggling people towards personal freedom. Joe is inspired and encouraged by opportunities to cultivate ideas, assets, and projects that amplify the voice & reach of the underserved. Through various roles within the non-profit, human service ecosystem, he’s fostered a life-long commitment to uplift and empower the disenfranchised, especially young black & brown queer/trans people. Today, Joe helps operate a non-profit intermediary focused on providing resources & infrastructure to grassroots projects & leaders in the Global South.
Genuinely gregarious by nature, when not working, you’ll find Joe in the company of family & loved ones, enjoying good food, travel, games, & adventure. He is also an avid fan of art, music, reading, trivia, style, and laughter. Joe is rooted by purpose: to be a light for humanity, and to offer reminders of grace & love to everyone he encounters.
Jane G. Clark brings a diverse background educationally, professionally, internationally, and experientially to her leadership roles in the behavioral health field. She currently serves as the Eastern Region Director for a nationwide private consulting firm dedicated to assisting government, tribal, and other non-profit agencies with grant writing, program planning and implementation, professional training, and other business development initiatives.
Jane received her master’s degree in public administration and her bachelor’s degree in Letters from the University of Oklahoma. She has lived in or traveled to 12 countries, and 75 cities spanning four continents. Her nomadic upbringing as an “embassy brat” provided insight and skills in cultural competency, relationship-building, and mediation that created the foundation for her career in prevention. She brings to the professional network a solid background in strategic planning, organizational development, grant writing, and group facilitation. She is certified as a Prevention Specialist through the state and international licensing boards and was awarded the 2014 Art of Prevention Award by the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, as well as the 2009 Prevention Specialist of the Year award through the Oklahoma Drug and Professional Counselor’s Association.
Lauren Kestner is presently the Associate Director of Harm Reduction at Center for Prevention Services (CPS) located in Charlotte, NC. She directs the Queen City Harm Reduction department and manages special projects that bridge harm reduction, prevention, public health, and the Arts to improve drug user health.
Originally from New Jersey, she grew up immersed in the Arts and obtained a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2005. She exercised her talents and skill sets in both corporate and freelance settings and launched a non-profit R Creative Collective in 2016. She joined CPS in 2017 and will be taking her exam to become a Certified Prevention Specialist (formerly CSAPC) with the North Carolina Addiction Specialist Practice Board this year (2022). She is passionate about capacity building, environmental prevention, and drug user health.
Lauren is a person with lived experience- specifically substance use and justice involvement, and she serves as an advisor on the statewide Syringe Service Program (SSP) Advisory Group and provides technical assistance to other SSPs registered with the NC Safer Syringe Initiative to offer guidance and insight on various and potent topics pertaining to drug user health, housing, and compassionate care that addresses co-morbid conditions such as HIV, HCV, and behavioral health. Additionally, she collaborates with the NC Harm Reduction Advocacy Group, the Mecklenburg County Substance Use Disorder Taskforce, and other collectives dedicated to creating access for minority groups.
With extensive knowledge on people and communities impacted by the social determinants of health, she embraces opportunities that are educational and build competency within the cultural dynamics of minority groups. With more understanding, she believes critical, physiological needs can met to offer vulnerable populations sustainable solutions that improve overall wellbeing.