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May 24, 2024 29 mins
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month – a good time to get a “Check Up from the Neck Up.”  I speak to Malik Gray, Program Analysis Supervisor at Department of Behavioral Health about a free online survey to check on your mental wellbeing and resources for those seeking help.    

Philadephia has the highest poverty rate of the nation’s big cities. The GreenLight Fund Philadelphia  is addressing this issue by finding community-based organizations making a difference and supplying them support to tackle economic and racial inequities, remove barriers and life individuals and families out of poverty. I speak to The GreenLight Fund Philadelphia’s Executive Director Felicia Rinier about their approach and the organizations they’re currently supporting.
 Hopeworks - Launched in 2022, focus area: digital equity
The Fountain Fund- Launched in2023, Focus Area: economic support for returning citizens
Single Stop - Launched in 2013, Focus Area: Degree Completion/Access to Benefits
Year Up - Launched in 2013, Focus Area: Youth Career Readiness
Center for Employment Opportunities - 2015, Focus Area: Early Literacy
ParentChild+ - Launched in 2016, Focus Area:
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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Good morning, and welcome to What'sgoing on? A show about making a
difference in our lives and our communityand our communities. I'm Lorraine Ballard.
Morrel Angela Giampolo of Gampolo Law Groupand Philly Gay Lawyer joins me for our
monthly features speak out about issues relatedto the LGBTQIA plus community and how they

relate to us. All we'll tellyou about a nonprofit called the green Light
Fund, providing support for individuals andfamilies to help lift them out of poverty.
First, because we are having theseconversations, we're beginning to chip away
at the stigma associated with mental healthbehavioral health, but we still have a
long way to go, but understandthere is help for you, no matter

who you are. And to tellus more about the resources that are available
how you can get a checkup fromthe neck up, we have Malik Gray,
health program Analyst for the Department ofBehavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.
He's here to tell us what theresources are a check up from the neck
up. Tell us my leak,what does that mean exactly? Well,
Laurent, thank you for having me, and quite simply, it's about just

checking on our mental health. Weoften want a reference or think about what
we need to do about our physicalhealth, but this is a reminder that
we have to take care of both. And if you think of it,
even on the larger scope, oneimpacts the other, right, so it's
best to focus on both. Andso this was created a few years ago
as an opportunity for people to goonline free of charge and do a quick

assessment of what's the status of theirmental health. I should note that it
is not a clinical assessment, butit does give you some suggestions as far
as what should be the next steps, including saying maybe needing to talk with
a professional. So tell us howdoes this work? So you go online
and I assume you answer questions.It's kind of like a little quick interview,

right, It's kind of like findlike, yeah, like what's your
typical day look like? And youknow, how often do you sleep,
what are your eating habits, anyrecent traumatic events have taken place in your
life? And then from it takesthat information and it kind of just gives
you an analysis of what's the nextsteps you need to do. It may

give you suggestions about, hey,picking up a hobby or seeking out a
self help group or as I saidearlier, talking with a professional, and
it's free of charge and individuals canaccess this. Let me, I'm gonna
say this several times at Healthymindsphilly dotorg. Healthymindsphilly dot org. So at

the end of this checkup from theneck up, what happens is there a
suggestion made, resources provided tell usmore a little bit of both. I
should start off by saying the beautyis of One of the beauties of it,
aside from it being free, isyou can take it as often as
you see fit. Ideally, Iwould say every couple months, kind of
check in and do this because youknow, as they say, life be

lifing and sometimes we miss out oncertain things and don't think about how those
things affect us in the long run. Right as we were talking offline about
you know, individuals facing grief andthings like that, sometimes we get into
this thing like, oh, Igot to worry about the next day or
whatever, and we kind of putwhat we just experienced to the side.
The fact that those things don't goaway. It actually again a series of

you know, very specific questions andit takes that information and it gives just
a brief analysis of some next steps. When we talk about gun violence or
peace on the street, we oftenlook at it from a criminal justice standpoint,
but in fact, making sure thatwe get the support we need for

behavioral health mental wellness can actually bea contributing factor towards making us a safer
city. Tell us more about that. Yeah, quite frankly, it's a
public health problem that we have,or crisis for that matter. You know,
it's understanding there is there there area number of people who are affected.
Well, what I refer to whenthat person when someone's life is taken,

that there's a domino effect. Thatperson's families are affected by it.
And studies have even shown that ifyou have lost a loved one to violence,
you are now more at risk ofdying from gun violence as well.
And so it's important to just kindof know that it's okay to just you're

not going to be well, right, It's okay to say you know what
this is, I'm really mad,I'm upset, and giving people that space
in that forum to speak about it. But in addition to that, to
be able to do this and sayokay, I'm really not okay. Well,
again, if people want to checkout this checkup from the neck up.
What's that website one more time?Yes, it can go to Healthymindsphilly

dot org. All right, andit will walk them through all the steps.
I should also note that on thatwebsite there's a pleasure of other resources
on there, including our resource manualcalled Boost Your Mood and some other things.
If anyone has any trouble, theycan also email me at Malik m
A l Ik dot Gray g ra y at Philla dot go Malik Grave

health program analysts for the Department ofBehavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services. Thank
you so much. Thank you,Larey. The Alzheimer's Association and the ad
Council present the story of Tom andLevi. Tom is the smartest man I
know. He's been a professor attwo major university. He's been a teacher

for over forty years. One dayhe told me that he was having problems
in his classes. I think oneof the students had asked the question and
he didn't remember the answer. AndI also noticed that he was letting his
class out earlier than they were supposedto let out, and he was telling
them that he was doing it asa favor to them, but I think
in reality, he just wanted toget out of there. I was really

starting to worry because I saw somethingthat's wrong. Levi and I talked about
outward change our lives, but hewas there beside me, and my love
for him was just immense. Whensomething feels different, it could be Alzheimer's.
Now is the time to talk.Visit alz dot org slash our stories
to learn more. A message fromthe Alzheimer's Association and the ad Council.

Women Against Abuse is hosting Phillies' BestWomen Chef competition on Thursday, June sixth
at v and Center City. DishIt Up is a fun filled night that
features delicious food from some of thecity's most talented chefs, an open bar,
and the opportunity to connect with hundredsof local change makers. Best of

all, the proceeds from Dish ItUp benefit survivors of domestic violence, so
get your tickets at Women Against Abusedot org. Ay Sis, Mister,
this morning, Jim told me youweren't feeling well, So I'm just doing
a self care check. Ah,thank you friend. How you're doing girl?
Listen my energy it was so lowbecause I didn't eat breakfast when I
got up, so I had tomiss virtual yoga with y'all. Trust me,

I understand. But I'm doing muchbetter now that I've eaten, so
I'm back on track. Great.In that case, let's get some steps
in tonight. I'll come over andwe can walk around the lake. Sounds
good. Appreciate you being in mybusiness too. Now let me get in
yours. Did you check your bloodpressure today? I did that and my
squad's okay, okay. High bloodpressure is not going to be my friend

if I can help it. Seeyou at six. Let's get it.
See you then. Now, morethan ever, it's important that we protect
our hearts and the hearts of thosewe love. Check in on one another,
and be a part of a healthyblood pressure movement. Rally your squad
to take the online plans at Releasethe Pressure dot org, brought to you
by the Release the Pressure Coalition andthe AD Council. So what does green

light mean to you? When Iwas a kid, green light it meant
go. It was red light,green light, and when you got the
green light, you would go afew steps. And then when I said
red light, you had to freeze. And so When I found out about
an organization called green Light Fund Philadelphia, I said, hmm, that's a
great way to create an image ofgoing forward, and going forward is exactly

what they do and supporting organizations,community organizations that help individuals and families achieve
inclusive prosperity. How does that happen? Well, let's talk about it with
Felicia Rainier, who is executive directorof the green Light Foundation. Thank you
so much for joining us today.I am very happy to be here.
Thank you for having me. Well, so for those who've never heard of

you, who are you? Yes, so, I am Filly Scherneer and
I am the executive director of greenLight Fund Philadelphia, and tell us what
you do and how you do it? Absolutely so. Every year green Light
Fund runs a process where in thebeginning, we're working in deep partnership with
our community members, different nonprofit organizationsreally to hear from them what are the

most acute needs in Philadelphia right nowand we get very clear on where are
there gaps in services related to addressingthose needs. Because the next phase of
our process, and I think thisis where green Light is really unique in
our in our model, is thatonce we have like our focus areas and
we have you know, where arethere gaps and services. We then will

look outside of Philadelphia for innovative nonprofitsthat are doing awesome work elsewhere that really
need to be in Philadelphia right tohelp with some of the challenges that we're
seeing. And you know, werun that process every year, and now
in Philadelphia we have seven organizations thatwe've been able to invest in to come
to Philly to help alleviate some ofthe challenges that we're seeing here. Well,

you know, Philadelphia, as youknow and the world knows, is
the city the largest city with theworst poverty. We're the big city with
the worst poverty. And so fordecades and even longer, people have been
looking at that is you and tryingto figure out how do we raise people
out of poverty? And so Iguess the question that someone might ask of

the green Light Fund is how doyou measure your success? How effective are
you in helping individuals and families raisethemselves out of poverty. Absolutely, so,
once we decide which organization we're goingto invest in to come here to
Philadelphia, we actually sit down withthem and get very clear on what does
success look like? You know,for the for the organization and more than

that, what does what does successlook like for the families right that we're
that we're here to help, andwe put together quite frankly like key performance
indicators right where it's like, hereare the things that we are bringing you
to Philly to do. Like ourpromise to the Philadelphians is that we're going
to bring these organizations here to helpwith maybe it's early childhood education, maybe
it is support for folks who arecoming home from jailer from prison. So

we get very clear on what oursuccess goals are and then we have metrics
you know that on that point tothose and then I'll work with those organizations
that you know, we're brought hereto Philly almost on a monthly basis sometimes
more to really get clear on,okay, like are we hitting you know,
the these KPIs that we set outto hit in the beginning, and
if not, you know, likewhat type of course direction can we do
to make sure that at the endof the day we are fulfilling our promise

to Philadelphians and that we are bringingthis organization for a very specific reason and
want to make sure that that we'rebeing true to that, you know,
along every step of the process.Yeah, so give us some examples of
success stories, absolutely, yes,yes, yes. So our two most
recent investments are with an organization calledthe Fountain Fund, and they're actually based
in Charlottesville, Virginia, and areoperating now here in Philadelphia. And what

they do is provide very low interestloans, usually around the three percent rate,
to folks who are previously incarcerated.And these loans are for self identified
needs that are going to help theindividual and their family elevate. So for
example, that could be for youknow, going back to school for education,
maybe for a car loan so thatthey can you know, get to

and from work. Perhaps it's forrent, you know, just like making
sure that they can pay their rent. The beauty of the Fountain Fund is
that once folks receive loans, becausethere is an interest rate, when they're
paying it back, it actually getsput back into a loan fund that gets
issued out to other folks who arecoming home, so it's almost like they're
paying it forward, which is areally cool model. And right now we
have I think it's almost eighty loansthat we've issued here in Philadelphia across all

those those varied things right that Imentioned, and I just love speaking to.
So they're called client partners, thefolks that receive loans from the Fountain
Fund, and just hearing from themto say that, you know, the
Fountain Fund was the first organization thatsaid yes to me. You know,
a lot of times when folks arecoming home, there's a ton of barriers,
right that they have to overcome,and the Fountain Fund really is there
to help to remove some of thosebarriers in the form of access to capital,

you know, for these individuals,that's a Fountain fun And then I'm
going to shout out hope Works,who I think a lot of folks in
Philadelphia are very familiar with. Ialways have to chuckle, Lorraine, because
you know, our process is tobring things into Philly that are not yet
here. And Hopeworks is based inCamden, New So people are for like,
that's like fifteen minutes outside the city. Yes, but it's not.
I wasn't in Philadelphia, you knowfirst. So now they are in Kensington,

and it was actually just announced theyreceived a one million dollar anonymous gift
to actually expand their space in Kensington. So now they're going to be serving.
I think it's between like one hundredand fifty and two hundred and I'm
of their participants, and really theirgoal is to help young adults get trained
in fields that are going to producelike high wage jobs. Right, So
a lot of their I'm young adultswhen they come through Hopework stores, perhaps

they're making like a few hundred dollarsa year. They might be experiencing homelessness,
like maybe they didn't you know,complete their their high school education.
But Hope works. What I loveabout them is that they open their doors
to any young adult who wants tomake a change in their life, and
once they go through Hopeworks program andthey really come out on the other side
with like jobs that are now startingat like the fifty thousand dollars salary,
maybe sixty or seventy, So trulylike life changing and transformational for the participants

that are, you know, comingthrough Hopeworks program. Yeah, those are
two great examples, And I lovethe first example. I love because I've
seen that modeled before with the withAction Aids where they give micro loans to
people and they're not really actually inthis case, they're grants. But it's
surprising how a couple one hundred dollarsor maybe one thousand dollars can make all

the difference, you know, fromsomeone sleeping on a mattress in an apartment
they can't afford, or you know, being able to have a place to
rest their head. I mean,it can really be life changing. And
to provide the opportunity in Kensington,which is in such great need, to
give the potential for life sustaining jobs, that's the key. Is huge.

It's huge, yeah, for sure. So how do we help you help?
Absolutely so right now? Or interms of like how green Light works.
So we raise all the money thatwe grant to our portfolio organizations well
in advance, right, so ifyou take like a five year cycle,
for those years, we're running thatprocess that I described, and then we'll
pause for one year to raise ourfund, right to raise the dollars that

we're going to be then you know, issuing to these organizations. So really,
to anybody listening, if you knowfolks that maybe aren't as familiar with
Greenlight Fund, which I think ismost people. I feel like a lot
of people really don't know about aboutgreen Light. So a lot of what
I'm doing this year is really justto spread the word about Greenlight and then
meet with folks who really just havean interest in seeing Philadelphia be the best

city that they can be and reallycan use green Light, you know,
as an opportunity to do that.So I would really just encourage folks to
go to our website, so weare greenlightfund dot org and then you'll see
you'll be able to get to thePhiladelphia page and then my contact information is
there. So would love to reallyjust hear from anybody who a would like
to hear more about green Light ormore about our portfolio organizations. And then

again if there's interested in supporting ourwork, would be happy to have that
conversation. Yeah, that's great.So for those who want to give,
there's greenlightfund dot org. For thosewho need help. These are organizations and
nonprofits funded by Greenlight that have provensuccess rates in all the areas that are
helping people move into a successful lifechange and life sustaining careers. And I

want to thank you so much.So once again, for those who want
to know more, what's that websiting? Yes, so it's Greenlightfund dot organ
If I could, Lorraine, becauseI know I just spoke quickly about the
Fountain Fund and Hopeworks, but justeven want to just shout out the other
five organizations that we have. Sothere's a Single Stop who we invested in
twenty thirteen and they help with accessto benefits for college students. Then there's

Europe who really is here to helpwith you know, college readiness for those
individuals. We have Center for EmploymentOpportunities, which helps folks you know,
who are coming home from jail orfrom prison get access to job training opportunities,
Parent Child Plus who works with familiesaround early childhood literacy. And then
at last, but certainly not least, we have Compass Working Capital. They've

been doing fantastic work here in thecity. I'm really helping family build their
financial assets. So just really wantedto be able to, you know,
to name our full portfolio. Andthen this time next year we will have
another organization here in Philly to talkabout. So super super thrilled about that
fantastic, great work being done bygreen Light Fun Philadelphia. Felicia Rainier,
who is executive director, thank youso much. Awesome, Thanks Henry.

I'm probably okay to have one moredrink before I drive home. I'm probably
okay. I open the window tostay alert. Probably okay, I just
blow up some gum in my mouth. Step out of the car. Please,
I probably made a mistake. Probablyokay isn't okay when it comes to

drinking and driving. If you seea warning sign, stop and call a
cab, a car, or afriend. Buzz driving is drunk driving.
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I'm the ad Council. I amjoined as I am once a month a

handler Gimpolo who is the founding memberof Giampolo Law Group and also also known
as Philly Gay Lawyer. We cometogether once a month to talk about something
we called speak Out, which isa conversation about issues impacting the LGBTQIA plus
community but also how it relates toall of us. Well, Angela,

do you and follow? It's alwaysgreat to have you. And there's so
much to talk about as we areon the eve of Pride Month, and
there are folks that would like toend Pride Month, so let's let's do
a little check in what's going onin terms of legislation anti LGBTQIA plus legislation.
There's a lot going on there.There is so much going on,

and I wish I sort of happier, you know, message going into Pride
Month. But Pride started as arevolutionary act, as a revolt, as
a protest right. So it's sortof you know, what LGBTQ folks are
protesting right now is very much inline with the origins of Pride. So

we are seeing an unprecedentednumber of antiLGBTQ bills, legislations introduced, not necessarily
passed, Okay, So it's importantto notate the difference that these bills are
being introduced by legislators, but they'renot necessarily being passed. We are seeing
a lot being defeated and some passed. But currently, right now, as

of May fifteenth, we are atfive hundred and fifteen anti LGBTQ bills that
have been introduced, and so toput that in perspective, right, because
if you're not following bills, youdon't know if that's a lot or a
little. In twenty twenty four wehad five hundred and thirty five. In
twenty twenty three, we have fivehundred and thirty five anti LGBTQ bills,

and right as we stand now inMay, not even five months into the
year, we're already at five hundredand fifteen. So if we stay on
pace with the number of anti LGBTQbills being introduced, we are very likely
going to be over one thousand antiLGBTQ bills in twenty twenty four, which

you know last year twenty twenty three, that was a record breaking, that
was unprecedented number. So we arelooking we are on pace to double that
for this year. What are someof the areas in which these pieces of
legislation cover. They really they coverthe gamut, you know, of personal
issues, healthcare, school, everythingfrom wanting to restrict all gender markers wherever

you see gender be it on IDs, passports, birth certificates, sept the
buses, passes, you know,anywhere where a gender marker would appear,
wanting to restrict it to solely biologicalsex, hence obviously discriminatory against trans and
non binary folk. Wanting to restrictgender firming care from restriction to a full

on ban in Arizona, wanting tojust ban any type of gender firming care
whatsoever. And abortion rights Arizona.Again, the way the abortion laws anti
abortion laws are written, they evengo to restrict and basically make IDF illegal,
which would then obviously directly impact LGBTQcommunity, which is that's one of

the only way, that is theonly way we're having babies, right,
So and then so you a gendermarker. We have anti abortion, how
it impacts LGBTQ community, gender firmingcare legislation in schools from not allowing any
diversity and inclusion language or courses torestricting pronouns, use of pronouns whatsoever,

and allowing teachers to use the pronounsfor the children as they deem fit.
So really spanning the gamut of personalproponel and school and healthcare. Yeah,
so you know a lot of folksare going, well, this doesn't really
relate to me, because you know, I'm not in that community. Why
should I care? Why should IThere's a lot you know, Right,

you could be a parent of anLGBTQ child and now you're impacted. Right,
you can be a friend of anLGBTQ person and for a lot of
kids, especially ranging from fourteen toeighteen nineteen years old, right, the
friends are seeing the impact and especiallythe mental health impact on their LGBTQ friends

and comrades. And then you haveteachers. Just the other day, there
was I was at a Starbucks.I was traveling. I was at a
Starbucks, and I don't know howthe barista and I got to talking about
this in the span of my orderingthe drink and to getting the drink.
But they were a teacher, theygot fired. They were a teacher in
Florida got fired over don'te a astraight ally teacher that was fired over the

mandatory recording. A student opened upto them about being potentially LGBTQ and sort
of their questions and wanted to openup to an adult that wasn't their parent,
and due to the mandatory reporting thatwould classify them as basically a child
abuser and a felony. Right,it was either that it was either quit
or report. And so this womanquit her job in Florida and is now

in Philadelphia working at a Starbucks.Right, So, I mean these things
impact everyone, whether it's your friend, your child, or what you do
for a living. Yeah, yeah, So what can we do about it?
So every single person listening can vote, donate, or speak out.
Right, those are the main things. Whether gay, straight, trans,

non binary doesn't matter. Every singleAmerican at this point, vote, donate
and speak out, especially if you'rean ally, speak out for those that
you love and that you protect.And then if your LGBTQ and these issues
are impacting you directly, if you'vebeen denied gender firming care for your health
insurance provider, reach out, ifyou're being dis against or bullied at school,

reach out. Right, there isvery possible that you are entitled to
legal recourse, legal redress in aproactive way. Right, those are defensive
things that you can do. It'salready happened to you, and now you
need legal help. But in away, families doing your estate planning and
or adopting right protecting the family unitso that it doesn't matter what laws are

happening around you. And if you'retransgender or non binary and you want to
change your name or change your gender. Market now is definitely the time as
we enter the presidential election and notknowing who would be president, you know
in the coming months. Well,we've talked about some of the challenges.
Tell me one good thing, onegood thing that's happening. You know,

a lot of these bills are beingdefeated. Actually, in Georgia, there
was forty four anti LGBTQ bills introducedand every single one was defeated. So
while there are bills being you knowin Georgia of all places. So you
know, while while there's a tonof bills being introduced, they are not
all passing. So that's good withPride Month coming up the at least on

an energetic level, everyone is happyand going into Pride Month like, yes,
we have a lot of work todo, but we're a community like
other marginalized communities that are used tofighting the fight for progress and equality for
all. So going into this particularPride Month, I am sensing I think

because it's also a presidential year,right, Like, everything is just that
much more amped up, and Isense a lot of good energy from LGBTQ
folks going into you know, wejust celebrated Pride last weekend and New Hope
and Philly Pride is the first weekendin June, so it's just like a
kickoff of Pride Month, and youknow, it feels really good. Yeah,

what about Caravan of Hope? Areyou going to be doing that again
this year? So skipping this yearas far the physical one, waiting for
the presidential election to happen and thendo it again in twenty twenty five,
but we are doing a virtual caravanof Hope where we reach out to all
those cities, all the same locationsthat we were in, the same centers

like you know the William wayn CommunityCenter of all of these cities that we
were in and so reaching out tothose fourteen cities, I know that for
two weeks, the last two weeksof June, that we will be available
to help remotely, you know,because everything that we do is transactional.
There's no need to walk into court. We're helping people fill out their name

change petitions, their adoption petitions,doing their wills, and all of the
lawyers and all fourteen states have agreedto help again. So yes, we
are doing a virtual Caravan of Hopeand then in twenty twenty five we'll have
another voyage to all those fourteen states. Fantastic and of course Caravan of Hope

is a mobile unit that has gonethroughout many of the smaller cities where access
to legal assistance for the LGBTQIA pluscommunity is often lacking and providing that for
this community. It's pretty awesome andwonderful that you're doing it virtually this year.
If people want more information about aGMPOLO law and also your wonderful blog,

Philly Gay Lawyer, where do theyfind out more? Absolutely so,
you can find the law firm informationat Lawyer dot LGBT, so Lawyer dot
LGBT, and then the blog isat Phillygay Lawyer dot com and if you
wanted to check out the Caravan ofHope, that is Caravanofote dot LGBT.
Fantastic Angela Gmpolo. She is theprincipal at Gmpolo Law Group and the co

host of speak Out. Every monthwe talk about issues related to the LGBTQIA
plus community, but also understanding howthis relates to us all. Because we're
not all in isolation. We doconnect with one another, and this is
a conversation to help us do that. Thank you so much, Thank you,
Loraine. You can listen to allof today's interviews by going to our

station website and typing in keyword community. You can also listen on the iHeartRadio
app yey Words Philadelphia Community podcast.Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at Lorraine
Ballard. I'm Lorraine Ballard MOREL andI stand for service to our community and
media that empowers. What will youstand for? You've been listening to what's
going on, and thank you
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Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang

Ding dong! Join your culture consultants, Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, on an unforgettable journey into the beating heart of CULTURE. Alongside sizzling special guests, they GET INTO the hottest pop-culture moments of the day and the formative cultural experiences that turned them into Culturistas. Produced by the Big Money Players Network and iHeartRadio.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


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