Performance to shed light on personal issues

bmilazzo@centredaily.comApril 12, 2014 

The Jana Marie Foundation started the Straight Talk Series in September 2012 as a community outreach program for families and community members to learn about and help others cope with personal issues.

The foundation is holding a body language performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Nittany Middle School as part of the monthly series. The performances are held in partnership with the Communities That Care Partnership, the Youth Service Bureau and the State College Area School District.

The Jana Marie Foundation is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower young people, especially women, to make positive choices, practice self-respect and maintain healthy relationships by providing opportunities for personal growth and creative expression, said foundation President Marisa Vicere Brown.

The foundation was launched in memory of Vicere Brown’s sister, Jana Marie Vicere, who committed suicide three years ago.

Students and members of the community run the performances, said Vicere Brown.

On Tuesday, area students will perform in an educational activity called “Body Language: Talking it Through” that will “highlight the fragility and the power of the human spirit, and important and meaningful stories of truth, hope and healing will be told,” Vicere Brown said.

The performance will focus on “survivorship“ in the face of struggles and re-creation of self-worth, Vicere Brown said.

The students worked with Susan Russell, assistant professor of theater, and Kikora Franklin, associate professor of theater and dance at Penn State.

“Centre County is not immune to these issues,” Vicere Brown said.

The event will be followed by a community conversation on depression and mental health. School district staff and counselors will be available to answer questions and provide support and information.

The Straight Talk Series is held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month during the school year at Mount Nittany Middle School. The next performance will be 7 p.m. May 20.

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