Community News Event Calendar Featured Health Miami Gardens News

Optimal Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Banquet Honored Students and Local Advocates of Mental Health

More than 100 people gathered to celebrate the inaugural Minds Matter: A Mental Health Awareness Banquet in Miami Gardens. Optimal Health Foundation, a leading healthcare organization dedicated to holistic wellness and community support, proudly presented the event on May 20, 2023. The event took place at Senior Family Center with attendance by esteemed speakers, community leaders, and supporters to raise awareness about mental health and celebrate the impactful journey of Optimal Health. 

The evening commenced with an enlightening address by founders Drs. Abraham and Kristen Hollist, who shared the inspiring story of Optimal Health and its transformative evolution. They emphasized the organization’s commitment to offering a wide range of services to cater to the diverse needs of the community.

The Hollists shared their inspiring story on how their son’s health journey  instilled in them a profound sense of purpose and a desire to make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our community. This experience is what formed the beginning of Optimal Health.

Dr. Kristen and Abraham Hollist pictured with honoree at Minds Matter: A Mental Health Awareness Banquet on May 20,2023. Photo Credit: Optimal Health Foundation.

Optimal Health Medical Center, their state-of-the-art facility, provides comprehensive primary care, mental health services, pharmacy, and social support programs, ensuring individuals receive comprehensive care under one roof. 

Distinguished speakers Dr. Gabriel Carey-Johnson, Ph.D. (c) Licensed Mental Health Counselor, founder of Gaby Cares of South Florida, and Dr. Angela C. Brinson, Ph.D., School Psychologist and Holistic Wellness Consultant, Founder of PsychEd Solutions, delivered powerful insights on mental health. They highlighted the importance of early intervention, comprehensive care, and community support. Dr. Angela Brinson challenged the audience to observe May as Mental Health action month and to reach out to 3 individuals (child, adult, senior) to check on their mental health. She provided tips, such as calling vs texting and ways on how to engage with children. 

Anthony Durden, member of the Circle of Brotherhood and President of SHEAR INC., emphasized the pressing need for more black male therapists to establish relatable connections with black men and boys, addressing the existing disparity in mental health services. 

The event also provided a platform for patients and patient advocates to share their experiences and stress the significance of mental health supportive services. Their heartfelt testimonials underscored the positive impact of accessible and inclusive care on individual well-being and the broader community. 

Optimal Health Foundation, an integral part of the organization’s mission, was highlighted during the banquet. Through its initiatives, partnerships, and educational programs, the foundation aims to empower individuals, promote mental health awareness, and address community needs. Vandilla McClendon, CEO of Reality House, and Soyica Mincy-Eady, President of iKare Enrichment Center, were honored with the prestigious 2023 Community Wellness Visionary Award for their outstanding contributions to community well-being. 

Optimal Health Medical Center, recognized as a pillar of comprehensive care, offers a diverse range of services, including primary care, mental health, pharmacy, and social support programs. With a patient-centric approach and a dedication to treating every individual like family, Optimal Health Medical Center strives to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for patients of all backgrounds.

The banquet was also a celebration of academic achievement as two deserving scholarship recipients were recognized. Kayla Ackerman, a graduate of West Broward High, will pursue a finance major at Howard University, while Paris Wright, from Miami Carol City Sr High, will attend Florida International University as a nursing major. Each recipient was awarded a $1,000 scholarship, and to their great surprise, an additional $4,000 scholarship for four years was generously pledged by Optimal Health Supporters from United Realty Group, South Florida Title Associates, and Certified Home Loans. This commitment to investing in education will continue through the Optimal Health Foundation Scholarship Program, with three scholarships to be awarded next year to graduating seniors. 

The Minds Matter: A Mental Health Awareness Banquet left a profound impact on attendees, who expressed gratitude for the valuable insights shared and the reassurance that Optimal Health provides a reliable resource for seeking help and support. The event underscored the importance of collaborative efforts to address mental health challenges and foster a healthier, more resilient community. 

Check out some pictures from the Minds Matter: A Mental Health Awareness Banquet to see what you missed. (Photo credit: Optimal Health Foundation)

For more information about Optimal Health Foundation, please visit To explore the comprehensive services offered by Optimal Health Medical Center, please visit

This is a Hy-Lo News Staff Report.

Do you have news to share? If so, send
Hy-Lo News your story ideas by clicking here.

0 comments on “Optimal Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Banquet Honored Students and Local Advocates of Mental Health

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: