We had the good fortune of connecting with Bre Donnelly, LCSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bre, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for Joy as Resistance came from my work as a school social worker in Denver. The amount of suicide risk review and self injury reports I had to complete on a weekly basis was absolutely mind blowing and being the only full time mental health professional at the school meant I did not have time to do real therapy work, real healing work, with each of the students who were struggling. Once I sponsored the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at my school it became even more clear that there was significant overlap between the students I mentioned before and the ones seeking support in GSA. Then, I began conducting pilots with the students I was looking to serve, young LGBTQ+ students seeking mental health support and they came up with many of the ideas that Joy as Resistance is now based around. From addressing the barrier of transportation with a mobile health clinic that travels to clients instead of the other way around to a flexible mentorship program to increase important intergenerational connections, these ideas were co-designed with the community.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Joy as Resistance is a mental health and wellness clinic for LGBTQIA2+ youth (ages 5-24) in Colorado. We specialize in meeting clients where they are emotionally and physically. We are in the process of renovating an old ambulance to be our mobile office launching the Summer of 2021! We offer individual and group mental health services, school/nonprofit partnerships, and holistic wellness services.
Getting to this point has not been easy, however, I have never been alone in this work. I think that is what sets Joy as Resistance apart. We honor all members and stakeholders of our work to co-design and provide feedback on the work we do. We truly take a community approach to all aspect of our work.
I want to world to know that we strongly believe that joy is the ultimate act of resistance to oppression in its many forms. Joy and rest are not spoken about in the mental health community especially when speaking about young people and Joy as Resistance wants to change this.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to local spots that have brought me Joy over the years. The Mercury Cafe, Sweet Action Ice Cream, Double Take Thrift Shop, and a quick drive to the mountains. I would also have to highlight any local art that is being shown right now by local artists. I would take them to see a movie at the Mayan Movie theatre and to one of the great local music venues we have.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe all of the success to every LGBTQIA2S+ person who has come before me and the one who will come after me. From the Marsha P. Johnson’s and Sylvia Rivera’s to the everyday queer heroes who change the world by being unapologetically themselves. A huge shoutout to the students who I work with each and everyday, their families and supporters, my co-workers and co-dreamers, and all of our funders and board members. All of these people are absolutely integral to our success and out story. I want to shoutout everyone who has ever believed in the mission and vision of Joy as Resistance and for all acts and big and small in supporting the work we do.