YouthBuild Elizabeth Hosts Mental Health Action Day For Union County & NJ Residents

YouthBuild Elizabeth Hosts Mental Health Action Day For Union County & NJ Residents
Elizabeth, NJ Event Held in Partnership With SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios, Someone’s Daughter, and Maple & Monroe is One of the Only Official Events of 22 in the Country and Only One of Which in New Jersey

ELIZABETH – May 20, 2024 – In partnership with SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios, Someone’s Daughter, and Maple & Monroe, The Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth (HACE) YouthBuild Elizabeth proudly hosted an event in support of mental health action on May 16 for Mental Health Action Day. As part of the mental health action network, the greater Union County community was invited to step away and join others for a refreshing mental health break. Working alongside each other, the overall goal of the awareness holiday is to shift the culture of mental health from awareness to action. This event was one of the 22 official events taking place across the country this year and the only one of which in New Jersey. 

HACE Executive Director William D. Jones shared, “We are always seeking opportunities to expand horizons for our residents. YouthBuild Elizabeth is just one of the many initiatives and partnerships that invoke beneficial changes to the mental, physical, financial, and emotional well-being of not only our residents at HACE but also the greater Elizabeth community. We’re proud to partner with MTV Entertainment, Someone’s Daughter, and Maple & Monroe to bring national attention to mental health.” YouthBuild Elizabeth Program Director Nikea Young-Bagley, MSW, LSW added, “This collaborative effort embodies our commitment to uplifting underserved communities and ensuring equitable access to mental health support. Through mindfulness activities, we aim to foster self-awareness and resilience, empowering each individual to flourish on their mental health journey.” 

The engaging activities designed to promote mental well-being included yoga, sound baths, meditation, dance therapy, and more. Community organizations were also in attendance to share their resources and linkages with attendees. View the 2023 Mental Health Action Day Highlight video here and learn more about this movement powered by a growing coalition of more than 2,000 nonprofits, brands, government agencies, and influential leaders from more than 32 countries at

“The mental health crisis touches every community across the globe, and it requires a response that is just as expansive,” said SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios SVP of Social Impact Brianna Cayo Cotter. “We are thrilled to see Mental Health Action Day creating a surround sound for mental health actions in every corner of the world. Whether that’s connecting with oneself, participating in a community event, or trying the new A.S.K. digital experience to better learn how to help a friend, we hope that everyone can take a mental health action on May 16th that is meaningful to them.”

“Since 2021 we have impacted over 600k people around the world though our events and social media messaging,” said Maple & Monroe: Global Social Impact Think Do Tank Founder and Chief Impact Officer Shakira Monet Johnson. “This year is special because for the first time, we have taken our Mental Health Action Day activation directly into the heart of the community. By hosting it at the Mravlag Manor Community Center we have been able to increase our impact with local underserved youth and demonstrate activities for health and wellness that can be used to improve their everyday life. We thank Paramount MTV Studios for again trusting us with this most important work.”

“Someone’s Daughter Inc. is a 501c3 organization whose primary mission is to improve the quality of life for young females in urban communities by advocating for and sponsoring programs which assist such individuals in attaining a higher level of economic, social, educational, cultural, and spiritual well-being,”  said Someone’s Daughter Inc. President and CEO Natasha Davis. “Presently, we run several programs, servicing 100 girls, with weekly site-based mentorship. Through our conferences,  retreats, and workshops, on average, we service over 3000 girls yearly with out of school activities in areas of leadership, STEM, mental health and more.”

Community organizations in attendance included Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services, Mental Health Association in New Jersey; Great Joy Counseling; Union County Department of Human Services; Union County Department of Social Services; Mental Health is Health; Kean Cares Clinic; Elizabeth Department Of Health And Human Services; ARRIVE Together – Union County Prosecutor’s Office; United Way of Greater Union County; Urban League of Union County; Dr. Randy Sconiers, DSW, LCSW (Dr. S), New Steps Counseling, LLC; PROCEED, Inc.

YouthBuild Elizabeth aims to provide participants with the “keys to success” as they pursue advantageous career paths. YouthBuild Elizabeth helps young adults, ages 16-24, from the City of Elizabeth earn both their high school diploma equivalency and trade skills, including national construction and medical certifications. Participants can receive six months of classroom GED® instruction, job placements, and support services. All participants receiving national certifications will be able to work as paid apprentices in their respective industries. HACE was the only organization in the State of New Jersey to receive a YouthBuild grant in May 2022 from the U.S. Department of Labor HACE received the largest award possible, a $1.5 million grant, which will positively impact the lives of approximately 84 young adults over a 40-month period.

For more information about HACE’s YouthBuild Elizabeth program, contact YouthBuild Elizabeth Director Nikea Young-Bagley, MSW, LSW, at 908-965-2400 ext. 131 or visit

This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of DOL/ETA. DOL/ETA makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it. The total cost of the YouthBuild Elizabeth program is $1,880,600. The U.S. Department of Labor funds $1,500,000 (80%) and the other $380,600 (20%) is funded through non-Federal resources. 

About the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth

Since its formation in 1938, the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth has worked diligently to meet the housing needs and improve the quality of life for all the residents it serves. The Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth began with public housing units and now has expanded its portfolio to include Section 8 vouchers, mixed financed developments, and several grant programs that deliver a broad range of services ranging from social, economic, educational and redevelopment. For more information about HACE, visit


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