January 26, 2023

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The one-day festival, which takes place at Lululemon's experiential store in Lincoln Park, will help Sista Afya Community Care expand its free therapy program.
LINCOLN PARK — A day of holistic healing, women’s empowerment and community building will help a South Shore nonprofit provide more mental health services for Black women.
The Whole Woman Wellness Festival, organized by Sista Afya Community Care, takes place noon-5 p.m. Saturday at Lululemon’s experiential store, 944 W. North Ave. in Lincoln Park.
Sessions include a sound healing and meditation session run by Cassandra Powell of Light of Loving Kindness, a plant care ritual hosted by Nika Vaughan of Plant Salon Chicago, a Zumba session led by Kymberlee Raya of Fly Girl Dance & Fitness and tai chi qi gong with instructor Venus Sabay.
General admission tickets are $35. Early bird and VIP tickets are sold out. Attendees will receive a free smoothie. Click here to buy a ticket.
The festival serves as a fundraiser for Sista Afya, a South Shore-based nonprofit providing mental health care to Black women.
The event “is really focusing on the mind and the body and how, when you’re focusing on both of those things, women can have better mental health outcomes,” Executive Director Camesha Jones said.
Jones has previously worked with some of the event facilitators, while others she discovered through word of mouth or social media. They “do great work in holistic wellness in Chicago,” she said.
Sista Afya offers free therapy sessions to people making less than $1,500 per month. Applications for free sessions reopen May 30.
The nonprofit also has a sliding-scale therapy program with an option to pay through insurance for people making less than $3,500 a month.
The center opened at 1817 E. 71st St. in July, just a half-block from its old location. The nonprofit has since hired two therapists who provide free and paid therapy sessions, and it is looking to hire one more therapist before the end of the summer, Jones said.
Since opening, “we’ve started to do more in person programs — a women’s drum circle, workshops and group sessions,” Jones said. “We haven’t started seeing people in person for therapy, as we’re still doing virtual. We hope to open that back up in the summertime.”
Sista Afya has raised more than $8,500 of its $15,000 fundraising goal. The group hopes to reach its goal by the end of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Last year, we served over 300 women,” Jones said. “We are directly serving people who are experiencing challenges or who need support with their mental health. That is enough for people to see the value in what we’re doing, and also want to support a local Chicago organization that’s directly serving Black women.”
To donate to Sista Afya’s fundraiser, click here.
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