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Youth Empowerment Summit 2015

On Saturday, August 29th, 2015, HUG ME Ink hosted the 1st Annual Youth Empowerment Summit (a bi-annual event) as part of the 15th Annual Bexar County Consumer and Family Support Conference at the Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, hosted by The Center for Health Care Services.

This was an opportunity to educate youth in San Antonio about mental health awareness, suicide prevention, bullying prevention, and resources available in their community.

          Our Speakers

Roy Lopez, Jr is a native of San Antonio and has been a dedicated community activist throughout his life. He currently serves as a Volunteer and Events Specialist for the Alzheimer's Association spending countless hours advocating for the world's leading health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. He also serves as the President of CAPiSA, Caring About People in San Antonio, an organization dedicated to performing random act of kindness throughout the greater San Antonio area. In his spare time, he serves as a local comedy promoter producing several comedy shows a month. Roy exhibits a very positive attitude in life and conveys the same message to everyone he comes in contact with; Don't worry, be happy!

          Our Speakers

Eric Castillo, at the age of 28 with no prior football experience Eric Castillo, chased a dream to play collegiate football at the University of the Incarnate Word and made it his own reality. Castillo will share his experience and journey but it's what he has done off the field that has already begun to change lives forever. Castillo needed to train hard and learn fast in his pursuit to play college football, but it was his ability to work with a team coherently and efficiently that has paid dividends for him both in football and the surrounding community. Eric Castillo played his last year of football and being 30 years old was invited to UIW's 2013 first Division 1 football camp where only 95 guys were selected. 

The oldest and least experienced but hardworking and dedicated is what got him to his dream. Castillo a 30 yr old Senior Division 1 college athlete lived his dream through a powerful testimony called THE POWER OF A DREAM. Film features Heisman Trophy Winner Ricky Williams and NFL Super Star Lenny Walls and more. Eric Castillo has a non profit called A Walk in My Shoes which has collected and donated over 14,000 pairs of shoes in the San Antonio community and serves as a board of director for former NFL athlete Lenny Walls non profit "Breaking Down Walls" their mission is to use the power of sports to positively impact children and influence a healthy mind, body and soul.

Mike Easter, at the age of 36 took a long time to discover himself and let go of the crippling demons that hindered himself from his full potential. Misdiagnosed his entire life with a Severe Mental Anxiety Disorder, left him starving for that Common Ground or what most consider a normal way of living. Fighting with every ounce of energy to beat the disabiltating disease that was tying to consume him, Mike persevered and just kept going! Mike was able to move on with his childhood dreams and not only own his own company, but rather owns 4! At the age of 30 and not before many bad choices that led to severe consequences before and during his twenties, Mike was introduces to a Doctor he calls his Angel.

She introduced to Mike some statistical data and some hormone tests and within 5 days after receiving the Results, the skies were once blue again! After successful testing and properly diagnosed Mike has been able to sustain a Quality of life going on the past 7 years without having to substitute alcohol and drugs to Band-Aid the Inner Pain. At this present time Mike feels it is critical to give back. He recently set up a non-profit organization to help individuals with this specific illness because he too can personally relate, and standup and be the voice for all, including the silent hurting and letting them know, they will never be alone!

Elizabeth Garland is the Founder of Soul Nourishing, LLC. She helps others rediscover their joy & rebuild after a loss. As a trauma survivor, Garland knows first hand what it takes to have a nourishing life!

Edgar Ivan Garcia is a Bilingual Actor, Dancer, Video Editor/Director who Majored in Radio-Television-Film Broadcasting, obtaining two associate degrees from SAC. "I am on a journey to find my own personal place in the entertainment industry." You might of caught Edgar on ABC's TV show "American Crime" as Carlos Sanchez with a recurring role. Garcia was also voted winner by America's Votes for Univision's contest "Despierta Bailando" in the hit show "Despierta America." Univision invited Edgar to walk the green carpet at the Latin Grammys 2012, & also made a special appearance/interviewed on the popular show "El Gordo Y La Flaca." Edgar has accomplished many of his goals thanks to his fans, becoming the winner of "Fiebre de Mira Quien Baila" "Subway Artistas Frescos" and in 2011 the lead actor for a churches chicken television commercial. Recently Edgar's creativity was also recognized by Gabriel's Liquor Store, by creating a television commercial he came up with, and later his idea was aired in both English & Spanish Television Stations like FX, Fox, AMC, TvAzteca, and NBC. "Thank You to all the people who have placed me where I am Today, and for this I will be forever thankful, Thank You for believing and for joining me in this crazy adventure I call my Life."

Shannon Barkwell is a Research Associate with Youth Transportation Safety Program based in San Antonio Texas. Before moving back to Texas, Shannon worked at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC providing car seat, teen driving and mature driving education. Shannon is very passionate in preventing death and injuries across the life spectrum. Shannon holds degrees Bachelor’s Degree from Baylor University and a Masters from Texas A& M- Commerce.

Joshua got clean on 02/07/10 and joined the PDAP staff as a recovery coach in August 2012. He feels that God has called him to this type of work and believes that giving back has been instrumental in his recovery. He is a successful alumni member of Bexar County Drug Court. Joshua is a Certified Recovery Coach and also a trainer of the Recovery Coach curriculum. Joshua says, “Working with teens has changed my life. It is both challenging & rewarding. I wouldn’t want it any other way. These kids along with the PDAP team bring purpose and meaning to recovery every day.”

Frankie Leanne Lindsey, MA, LPC has a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from Sam Houston State University and has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2001.

She has worked in the mental health field for 20 years in a variety of settings including a Head Start program providing play therapy and supportive services to families, domestic violence and sexual assault agency as the child counselor and most recently with the Center for Health Care Services for over the last 14 years. While at the Center, Frankie has worked as a direct service provider in the Children’s Division, as a Utilization Manager in the UM Department and as a Clinic Administrator in the Children’s Behavioral Health Division for the last five years. As indicated by her experience, her focus has primarily been in working with children and families and continue to promote and advocate for children’s mental health services. She is also a parent of two adoptive boys who have mental health challenges and as a parent have had to work with doctors and therapists to make sure her boys have a healthy and productive future.

The City of San Antonio launched the San Antonio Youth Commission on July 25, 1991 as an opportunity for youth and a vehicle to respond to the current situations that affect young people. The San Antonio Youth Commission’s mission is to empower youth to succeed. Youth Commission members are advocates of youth today and leaders of the masses tomorrow.

The San Antonio Youth Commission is comprised of 22 high school youth leaders, two members from each City Council District and two Mayoral appointees. Each appointee is selected for a two-year term and is vetted through the City of San Antonio’s Board and Commission process. The Youth Commission meets monthly to plan events and programs that give a voice to the concerns of San Antonio’s youth.

Commissioners Attended:

Lola Carrola, District 1

Isabella Rodriguez, District 3

Jazmyn Frederick, District 5

Elizabeth Greer, District 9

Paige Johnson, District 10

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