Event Archive | Shared
Topic: Multicultural Wellness, the Holidays, and You: Creating New Meaning and Ways to Celebrate (In English)
Date: December 16th, 2009
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
For many of us, the holidays can be occasions for getting together to celebrate. For
others, though, the holidays can be a difficult and stressful time of encountering cultural
differences, demanding or challenging family dynamics, and uncomfortable feelings
that are associated with unpleasant experiences from years past.
This session will provide an opportunity to discuss and share about cultural celebrations,
attitudes, and rituals that can help to lessen distress that can arise, and will invite
participants to claim new meaning and adopt new ways of celebrating that tap into
creative, affirming, and recovery/wellness-oriented thinking.
Mertice “Gitane” Williams is the Vocational Wellness Educator at Crestwood Behavioral
Health and travels across the state to support and educate consumers, staff and
families throughout the Crestwood network and beyond. Gitane has over 20 years
experience as a community self-help leader in California. Her expertise include housing,
cultural competency, SSI and collaborating with others to build learning communities
for all ages. She is currently part of the Crestwood Leadership team, where she creates
and designs pre-vocational and re-entry programs.
As a Vocational Wellness Educator and community navigator of the human race,
having a spiritual experience, her deepest intention includes increasing her
consciousness to enable transformational systems that are inclusive of everyone
personal wellness and spiritual growth. Her vision is to support and enhance
client/family members in welcoming attitudinal changes to allow healing in all cultural
communities. Her prayer is that we also embrace the healing of the environment, intergenerational
racial trauma, and leave peace as legacy to the next generation.
John Aldam is a Licensed Practical Nurse who worked ten years as an emergency
room, medical/surgical, and psych nurse. He is also a Certified Peer Specialist and
Wellness Resource Consultant leading healthy lifestyle groups and workshops both
within the mental health community and at private retreat centers. He has presented at
Medical Grand Rounds at hospitals in Western Mass. He has facilitated workshops at
local and national conferences on wellness and trauma-informed practices.
In 2005 John received the Advocacy Award from the Western Massachusetts Training
Consortium, the 2005 Massachusetts State House of Representations Citation Advocacy
Award, and the 2005 Outstanding Community Service Award from the US House of
Representatives, presented by John Olver. In 2006 John received the NAMI Heroes in
the Fight Award. He has served on the boards of the Berkshire County NAMI chapter
and the Citizen Monitoring Committee, Transformation Center in Boston. John is
currently an active member of the Health Initiative task force in Mass.
John does consulting work for local community mental health centers in Western Mass,
as a peer educator, mentor of transitional age youth, and leader of recovery groups
and a WRAP Facilitator. He is a member of the Recovery Task Force that promoted
recovery services in Berkshire County, and since 2006, has volunteered as a peer
supporter and recovery group leader in the inpatient units at local community hospitals,
where doctors in training have been required to attend one of his groups as part of
- Outline some of the multicultural aspects of the holidays that can be challenging
- Explore how situations for potential conflict can be seen as opportunities for
further growth and personal enjoyment
- Identify activities, thoughts, and approaches that can help minimize stress and
maximize the possibility of creating new meaning
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Find resources by community:
Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders
Native Americans Alaskan Natives
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Intersex
Youth and Students
Links to resources in languages
other than English.
What is Cultural Competence?
Sign up to receive the STAR Center's
quarterly newsletter, Recovering Together, via email. Or read
the newsletter online in the Recovering
Visit our event archive for audio
files, transcripts, and reports on previous STAR Center events.