Thrive Family Wellness Group:
Empowering Black and Brown Communities through Free Therapy

Thrive Family Wellness Group bridges the gap in mental health access for Black and Brown communities by connecting youth and families with licensed clinicians, including free therapy sessions. This impactful initiative tackles two key challenges:

  • Accessibility: Therapy can be expensive, and culturally competent therapists can be even harder to find. Thrive Family Wellness Group removes the financial barrier by offering free sessions, making mental health support more accessible for Black and Brown families.
  • Representation Matters: Culturally competent therapists understand the unique experiences and challenges faced by Black and Brown communities. Thrive works to connect families with therapists who share their cultural background or have experience working with similar populations. This fosters trust and allows for more open and effective therapy sessions.

Impact on Black and Brown Youth and Families

By offering free therapy, Thrive Family Wellness Group empowers Black and Brown youth and families to:
  • Address Mental Health Concerns: Early intervention and treatment for mental health issues can have a profound impact on a young person’s life. Free therapy allows them to address challenges like anxiety, depression, or trauma in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Build Stronger Families: Therapy can equip families with communication skills and coping mechanisms to navigate difficult situations and build stronger relationships.
  • Promote Overall Well-Being: Addressing mental health concerns leads to improved overall well-being, allowing youth to thrive in school, build healthy relationships, and reach their full potential.

Thrive Family Wellness Group serves as a vital resource for Black and brown communities, promoting mental health awareness and providing a crucial safety net for those struggling with mental health challenges.


Joelle Dugue

Joelle Dugue is a first-generation Haitian American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She was raised by her grandmother after losing her parents at the age of ten. Her experience shaped her passion for addressing the healthcare needs of underserved communities. Now she combines her passion with public health to increase health equity for underserved communities.

Today, she serves as the Executive Director of Village Heartbeat Inc., an organization addressing health disparities in the Black and Brown communities in Charlotte, NC. She runs the operations, fundraising, and partnership departments of this amazing organization that is so close to her heart. In addition to leading an organization, she teaches health education at the Nest Academy in East Charlotte to refugee, Immigrant, under privileged, at-risk, under represented children. As a first generation Haitian American, she is passionate about helping kids become first generation graduates. She continues to advocate for children by dedicating her time to support children and young adults who have lost a parent through the international nonprofit Empower. She is also a member of the Women’s Impact Fund, an organization strengthening communities by maximizing women’s leadership in philanthropy through collective giving, education and engagement and serves on the Member Education Committee.

Joelle earned both her Master’s Degree in Public Health and Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Care from Long Island University. After graduating undergraduate, she worked in the healthcare system as a respiratory therapist for over 10 years in both leadership and direct patient care. She later transitioned into the Public Health sector.

Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, sister, friend, and a daughter to many. She adores her family and friends, a good dining experience, Christmas season and watching the sunrise.