Meet Napa Valley Cast Members Juanita and GT

We are excited to introduce two more of our Napa Valley Brave cast members - Juanita and GT. We hope you will join us to hear these stories live at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center this Saturday, May 6th at 4pm - less than a week away!

As this is a health-minded event, it will also be a Fragrance-Free event. We ask that all in attendance adhere to this policy. Thank you for your understanding. If you have questions regarding our Fragrance-Free policy for this show, please contact: beth@thisismybrave.org.

Meet Juanita Pena

Juanita Pena

Juanita Pena

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and am actively working to start a NAMI chapter in Napa County. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, providing advocacy, education, support and public awareness, so that families and individuals affected by mental illness can build better lives.

How has mental illness affected your life?

My daughter was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at the age of 15.

Why did you want to be part of This is my Brave?

I want to let other family members know that they are not alone. I want to express my feelings openly and bring awareness about mental illness and help stop stigma.

What inspires you to be mentally healthy?

My spirituality helps me in my journey and keeps me at peace within, even in the midst of the storms that life brings.

What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?

I hope the people who come to the show may leave with different lenses and see the person and not the illness.

Meet GT Velasco

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Glynda Velasco, but I like to be called GT. I am a writer, poet, artist, and activist currently living in Napa, CA. I do spoken word, improv, and standup comedy at a local open mic. I am an artist for Poetry for Personal Power. I aspire to be an urban shaman in training. I consider myself a "Wounded Healer."

How have mental health issues affected your life?

What people call mental illness I personally call shamanic illness or spiritual emergencies. I received physical and psychological symptoms of shaking (tremors), chemical sensitivities, lots of ideas, enthusiasm, and excluded realities in which I have different parts of me act as if there are different characters taking over my body. 

GT Velasco

GT Velasco

Why do you want to be part of This Is My Brave?

I want to share my story about my journey towards being medication free. Also, I want to tell a little about being a PEER (Person Experiencing Emotional Recovery) Whisperer.

What inspires you to be mentally healthy?

People who overcome trauma. Their stories inspire me to be mentally healthy. I look up to comedians, artists, and mad justice activists and advocates. People who live their passion inspire me.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the show?

I want to inspire people to know they have the right to be medication free, if they choose to do so.

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Tickets are on sale now! This is one event you won't want to miss as our brave storytellers and artists take the stage to end the stigma surrounding mental illness one story at a time.