Nonprofit organizations stress the importance of self-care in Inglewood

Two nonprofit organizations held a wellness fair in Inglewood to emphasize the importance of self-care and mental health.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Open Paths Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization, is making its home in Inglewood. To welcome and introduce the counseling center to the Inglewood community, members of Connected to Lead, another nonprofit focused on youth leadership, organized a wellness fair.

"What we wanted to do is raise awareness for a specific organization moving to the Inglewood area called Open Paths Counseling Center," said Betajohmarie Brown, event organizer and member of Connected to Lead. "In addition to that, we also wanted to make it easier for the community to come out and engage with us and to see what it means to talk to a therapist."

Sierra Smith is the executive director of Open Paths. She said her organization provides therapy to individuals who may otherwise not have access.

"We work a lot with clients who come to us for all kinds of reasons anxiety, depression, trauma," said Smith. "We've really been focusing a lot on serving the BIPOC community."

At the wellness fair community members participated tai chi classes, got gardening tips, participated in raffles and a food giveaway - even got to sign up for free massages.

"This is all in an effort to encourage and empower our community members to really take care of their health and know that there are resources out here to support them," said Gaston Lassalle, another event organizer and member of Connected to Lead.

Organizers said one of the main goals of the event was to emphasize to the Inglewood community the importance of self-care and mental health, which they said is for everyone.

"We recognize that in a lot of communities of color, there's a lot of stigma around getting therapy," Smith said. "So, we really work to try to get rid of that stigma and to let everybody know that regardless of your ethnicity, your race, your background, your nationality, mental health support is for all of us."

Open Paths says their Inglewood location won't open until September, but Smith said they're still offering all their services via telehealth.

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