There are two different registration forms, one for the young adults and one for the parents, at the bottom of this page.
The sessions are RESERVED for young adults ONLY.

IRL: A Night for High Schoolers and Young Adults

Growing up, there’s family, there’s school, there’s the world online, and then there’s “adulting” — In Real Life, that is. High school and after can be exciting and stressful, full of its ups-and-downs. Frankly, it can seem like a lot. But there’s also a lot you can do to get through it and thrive, to build resilience and bounce! This Montclair Bounce signature event offers mental health tools and advice to help feel connected to a caring community, and features peer-to-peer and expert guidance. What’s more, we’re getting started with live music by local favorite Tennis Boy Will, food, swag, and more! There will also be a workshop for parents. Read through our fantastic list of speakers and sign up using the form below.

Credit recovery and other credit options for students are available!

Event Launch

IRL kicks-off with an exciting 6:00 launch session, complete with raffle give-aways, free food, and music by Tennis Boy Will. And there’ll be free merch for the first 150 to show up! Organizations including Genomind, The JED Foundation, and the Montclair Public Schools will be handing out their own materials, and two of our presenters, Composure and Daily Haloha, will be offering VR and app demos. The launch will also be attended by Tricia Baker and a group of therapy dogs from Attitudes in Reverse (AIR), an organization devoted to saving lives by educating students about mental health, related disorders, and suicide prevention. AIR brings certified dogs into schools to help students de-stress and engage in the conversation about mental health.

So head on over, grab a snack, and see what our visiting experts have to offer! And then help us inaugurate this exciting night of first steps towards better resilience, stronger empathy, and new forms of empowerment in our lives.

Our Speakers

After our launch session, participants will split up into groups based on which sessions they sign up for. Each session will run for about 45 minutes and will be held twice, once at 7:00 and again at 8:00. At the end of the first session, participants will switch rooms according to their next selection.


Session A - Matt Sefcik - Remembering T.J.

Session Info: Matt Sefcik will offer a powerful presentation on confronting mental health crises and the importance of rewriting the script on teenage depression and anxiety. Matt, a Division I lacrosse player and recent graduate from Wagner College, formed his message of resilience and positive coping skills from his personal experience with these common conditions, and after losing his brother T.J. to suicide in 2010. The goal of the Remembering T.J. program, founded by Matt and his family and presented to 30,000 people and counting, is to leave participants feeling informed, empowered, and hopeful.


Session C - Lucas - Minding Your Mind

Session Info: On the surface, Lucas had the perfect life in high school and college, a fact that encouraged him to hide his growing depression as the years went by. He reached a breaking point when he was no longer able to eat during his final semester of college. When he finally reached out to family, found a doctor, and began the recovery process, he soon came to wish that he’d known more about his depression years ago when it all began. Inspired by his experience to help other teens, Lucas is now a Minding Your Mind speaker and will discuss his battle with depression and the hope he found in a wonderful life on the other side.


Session E - Fred Randall, Andrea Smith-Morgan, Art Settembrino

Session Info: What is mindfulness and how can it support and foster resilience in our lives? Our three speakers will demonstrate simple mindfulness practices that can help improve attention and decision-making skills, and handle difficult emotions. Come learn about the practice and how it can become a part of our toolkits for combatting anxiety and depression.

Andrea Smith-Morgan is an English and Special Education teacher at MHS. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Mindful Awareness Academy for Children (MAAC), newly located at 60 South Fullerton Avenue, Suite 106. Fred Randall is the co-founder of the Mindful Breath Foundation, an organization devoted to bringing mindfulness and meditation techniques to people of all ages in Montclair. Arthur Settembrino is a Student Assistance Counselor at MHS, and has been practicing mindfulness for 22 years.


Session G - Devenne Washington - “The Obstacle is the Path”

Session Info: Devenne Washington, a MHS Class of 2014 graduate, will share her journey of discovery and empowerment in the face of social pressures and expectations, and social media. In finding her own path to wellness — which included figuring out what “wellness” even means for a young Black woman — she has learned to manager her chronic anxiety. A graduate of the New School, she is the current manager of HealHaus, an inclusive Brooklyn-based space focused on diverse ways of holistic health and healing.


Session I - Jeff McSpadden, Amy Giddon - Composure and Daily Haloha

Session Description: What’s your ideal relationship...with tech? Local tech entrepreneurs Amy Giddon and Jeff McSpadden will open up a conversation about what makes a healthy, supportive relationship with the tech in our lives. Amy’s Daily Haloha mobile app offers a simple daily routine to help you feel a little more connected to yourself and the rest of humanity. Jeff’s company Composure provides web-based, interactive music experiences to help you find calm and focus in the whirlwind of the day.


Session B - Sophia and Artemis - Into the Light

Session Info: Imagine a society where people struggling with mental illness, regardless of their circumstances, felt comfortable reaching out for help. Into the Light co-founders Sophia and Artemis, sisters who lost their father to suicide in 2016, will present on the ways their foundation is bringing that dream to life, encouraging attendees to walk away feeling comfortable seeking help and sharing their own mental health story. Through a series of exercises with session participants, they will explore ways of finding light in our darkest times.

Eli Bio Picture.jpeg

Session D - Eli Brown - Shine the Light On

Session Info: Eli founded Shine the Light On, a fashion brand that helps provide addiction and mental health resources, after years of using drugs and alcohol to cope with his anxiety and depression. A once happy and passionate childhood tennis star, Eli was the victim of a sexual assault at age 14 that threw his life off course. Skyping into IRL from Canada, Eli will discuss his inspiring recovery and how he channeled his experience into a successful company that brings a voice to mental health issues impacting teens and young adults.


Session F - Bianca Mayes - Garden State Equality

“Resiliency + Self-Care: How to Create a Safe Space for Yourself” (LGBTQ Community)

Session Info: In today’s world, being LGBTQ can be both freeing and exhausting. When was the last time you took care of your needs? In her session, Bianca Chanel Mayes will guide participants along the road to resilience and empower them through a better understanding of the unique New Jersey laws designed to protect LGBTQ identities. Bianca is the Health and Wellness Coordinator for Garden State Equality, as well as a health educator and research associate with Atlantic Health System. She is responsible for developing and training LGBTQ cultural competency for healthcare professionals, senior housing developments, and more.


Session H - Shanee Eweka, Melissa Valero - In Our Own Voice

Session Info: The National Alliance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) “In Our Own Voice” program provides an opportunity to hear honest perspectives on mental illness, improve our empathy, and learn the signs and symptoms in ourselves and others. As part of their presentation, Shanee Eweka and Melissa Valero will share their own mental health journeys in an effort to change attitudes, assumptions, and ideas about people with mental health conditions. Shanee is a behavioral health managed care worker, journalist, and active volunteer with NAMI, the AACT-NOW! Multicultural Outreach Group for African-Americans, and the Public Policy Committee. Melissa is a student at Seton Hall University and a NAMI volunteer.


The sessions are RESERVED for young adults ONLY. Parents, you are invited to attend a special two-hour workshop that will run during the evening. A separate registration form follows at the bottom of the page.

Name *
Credit recovery? *
7:00 Selections (Pick 2)
8:00 Selections (Pick 2)

If you wish to receive credit recovery hours or other credit options for your participation, please email the superintendent’s office and let Dr. Johnson know you will be attending. Her email is

JUST TALK ABOUT IT: A Workshop for Parents

This interactive presentation is an introduction to mental health, which is designed to train both adults and youth on how to recognize the warning signs of stress, anxiety, depression, and crisis. Just Talk About It will educate adolescents and the adults who support them to look beyond stigma and notice warning signs in themselves and their peers. This is a two-hour presentation facilitated by Minding Your Mind, taking place from 6:00-8:00. Guy Ianoco, LCSW, NJ Regional Director for Minding Your Mind and a young adult (Katya) will be speaking.

Just Talk About It covers the role of negative coping as it relates to crisis and leaves participants with an understanding and suggestions of positive coping. Participants will discuss ways to assist others to cultivate positive coping skills and the ability to ask for help. Crisis intervention is emphasized by learning the signs of suicidal ideation and risk, and how to encourage those at risk to seek immediate help.


Name *