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Coming up on Connections: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A woman and a man talk in front of a building; the woman has her dark hair in a bun and is wearing a black dress and yellow scarf; the man is wearing a black and white striped polo shirt and khakis.
Hélène Biandudi Hofer and Sebastian Maroundit in Sudan

First hour: Sebastian Maroundit on the value of education and the latest with Building Minds in South Sudan

Second hour: Reel Mind Film Series: how to improve mental health care for people with disabilities; when police kill a person with a mental illness

Sebastian Maroundit was only nine years old when war came to his village in South Sudan. He witnessed horrific violence against his family before fleeing to Ethiopia with his cousin, Mathon Noi. Four years later, war reached them again, and they two boys spent a year walking across the desert to a refugee camp in Kenya. After nearly a decade, they were selected to resettle in the United States, where they earned college degrees and built successful lives. But Maroundit and Noi knew there was work to be done in their homeland. When their returned to their village to find no roads, no clean water, and no school for children, they sprang into action. The two men formed Building Minds in South Sudan. Since it’s founding, the non-profit has helped hundreds of young people access vital resources and education. Maroundit was last a guest of WXXI News in 2019, and since then, he has expanded his organization’s work and reach. This hour, he joins us to discuss the latest from Building Minds in South Sudan, the impact it has had, and what he wants Americans to know about the role of education in the lives of those who cannot access it easily. Our guests:

  • Sebastian Maroundit, co-founder and president of Building Minds in South Sudan
  • Judy Schwartz, board chair for Building Minds in South Sudan

Then in our second hour, the Reel Mind Film Festival is back. The annual event raises awareness of the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of people navigating the complexities of mental illness. This hour, we explore some of those experiences with our guests, and we discuss what can be done to improve how communities and systems respond to the mental health needs of people of all backgrounds. Our guests:

  • Larry Guttmacher, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the Reel Mind Film Series
  • Noel King, art therapist and mental health advocate for people with disabilities
  • Deb Guthmann, Ed.D., researcher, educator, author, advocate, and advisor on the film, “Being Michelle”
  • Marilyn Farquhar, Canadian citizen whose brother was killed by police during a mental health crisis; her story is featured in the film, "A Bullet Pulling Thread"

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.

Connections with Evan Dawson

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