The Pathways to Wellness Conference

Our annual celebration of the power of mental health recovery for the Northern Virginia community was held May 17, 2024. Thank you to all who attended, to our generous sponsors, and to the speakers, presenters and activity leaders who made the day wonderful.

Theme logo says Sparking Hope, Igniting Resilience

The conference featured an insightful, powerful keynote address from Michele Capots, six interactive and worthwhile workshops, plus exhibitors, service dogs to pet, free chair massages, free caricatures, and free breakfast and lunch. Welcoming us all and guiding us through the day was our emcee, Marja Lee Freeman.

Thank You to Our Conference Sponsors

Logos of Sponsors

Photo of Michelle CapotsOur Keynote Speaker

Michele Capots is a coach, speaker, and storyteller on mental wellness and resilience. She is a member of the BeWell team and her essays on mental health have appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post Magazine, and Marie Claire, among others.
During the keynote, Michele shares her journey from the depths of depression and despair to the heights of mental wellness and resilience, and how utilizing one old war phrase gave her dominion over her mental illness, and set her free. In her talk, she delivers research and strategies to empower the audience to help them discover the same freedom and resilience in their own life.

Our Emcee

Marja Lee Freeman is Employment Strategist at Laurie Mitchell Empowerment and Career Center. International speaker, trainer, author, and Peer Recovery Specialist empowering others to find their destiny. As a respected employment consultant, veteran trainer Marja Lee Freeman takes great pride in helping others find greater fulfillment and success in their careers.

 Morning Workshops


Wanda ThorpeWanda Thorpe
Ignite Positivity with Dance

Dance is a great way to aid in mental health recovery. By igniting endorphins, dance sparks hope and positivity to aid in recovery of mental health. ¬†Everyone’s welcome, even if you think you don’t know how to dance.


Danny Rouhier
Build Your Resilience with Improv

Being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable sounds hard, but this fun, interactive workshop uses key principles of improv to show how facing that feeling with creativity can boost resilience.

Anisa Mustafa
Roads to Resilience

Embark on a transformative journey in the ‘Roads to Resilience’ workshop, where we explore the pathways to building resilience. Join in a dynamic session filled with interactive activities, insightful discussions and practical tools designed to empower you in navigating life’s challenges.

Afternoon Workshops

Wendy Bundy
Yoga and Meditation for Mental Health

The goal of this workshop is to share short meditations, beginner level breathing techniques and basic yoga moves that people can utilize daily or as needed to help manage their mental health. Participants will leave feeling refreshed and with tools to add to their wellness toolboxes.

Beth Cline
Self-Care: Practices to Explore Every Day

This workshop will enhance comprehension of self-care and its integration into daily life. The intention is to empower individuals by emphasizing that self-care is achievable and can be incorporated into their everyday routines.

Samantha Simons
Tales of the Hunt: Courage as a Catalyst for Hope and Resilience

Embark on a journey of empowerment. Inspired by the proverb “Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter” (J. Nozipo Maraire), this interactive session challenges and inspires participants to use courage as a foundation for sparking hope and igniting resilience.

Note: Northern Virginia Community College does not sponsor or endorse this event.

Conference logo with a sun rising over a landscape

The Conference is Planned and Presented by The Wellness and Recovery Committee

About The Wellness and Recovery Committee

The committee is made up of representatives from the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and area nonprofit organizations focused on the needs of people in mental health recovery. The Conference is designed for persons with mental health issues, persons with co-occurring disorders, families, professionals, and others with an interest in the topics of wellness and recovery.

Logos of Wellness and Recovery Committee organizations

More To See, Read and Watch

Our 2023 Conference Roundup

Our conference in May 2023 featured a broad variety of speakers and workshops.

Our 2022 Conference Roundup

Our conference in May 2022 featured a broad variety of speakers and workshops.

Our 2021 Conference Roundup

Our conference in October 2021 was an online, with great speakers and powerful stories.

Videos from Past Conferences

Videos from online conferences. Some are short and some are full-length keynotes.