Last year’s event:

Jessica Henderson
15th Annual Jessica Henderson Memorial Event

October 25, 2016
School of the Arts, 45 Prince Street, Rochester (View Map)
Program begins at 6:30pm, Doors Open at 5:30pm.

Jessica Henderson lost her battle with bipolar disorder at the age of twenty-one.  In her honor, Jessica’s parents established a lecture series with help from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Rochester. Each year the program strives to offer hope to all people affected by mental illness, increase community awareness, and erase stigma.

Chamique Holdsclaw
Featured Speaker: Chamique Holdsclaw

NAMI Rochester is thrilled to welcome Chamique Holdsclaw as this year’s headlining speaker. Hailed as the female Michael Jordan, Chamique was the winner of three NCAA women’s basketball championships under legendary coach Pat Summitt, was chosen as the number one WBNA draft pick in 1999 and a six time WNBA All-Star, and earned an Olympic gold medal on the 2000 US women’s basketball team. She is also a person living with mental illness and has become a mental health advocate sharing her inspiring story of recovery with audiences around the country. Chamique’s journey was recently featured in the documentary film Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw. She was quoted as saying “If it wasn’t for sports, people may not have been able to see my struggle. I’ve lived this life publicly. Just to know now that I’m saving lives and advocating for such a great cause, it makes me feel like I’m hitting game winning shots all day, every day.”

The Jessica Henderson Spirit Award

The Jessica Henderson Spirit Award honors a person whose contributions have enhanced the lives of individuals with mental illness, their families, and their communities. Jessica is remembered for her enthusiasm and joy, her kindness and the high regard that she held for others. Jessica’s life was enriched by the arts.The Henderson committee considers these qualities during the Jessica Henderson Spirit Award recipient selection process.

Evan Dawson
2016 Jessica Henderson Spirit Award Recipient

NAMI Rochester is pleased to announce Evan Dawson, host of WXXI Connections, as the recipient of the 2016 Jessica Henderson Spirit Award. Evan joined WXXI in January 2014 as the host of Connections which airs every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Prior to joining WXXI, he served as the morning news anchor at 13WHAM-TV. Evan is a friend and supporter of NAMI Rochester. Representatives of NAMI Rochester have been invited guests on Connections where they have addressed community concerns regarding mental health topics such as Suicide Prevention and combating the stigma of Depression. He was the master of ceremonies for the 2016 NAMI Walk.Evan’s reporting on mental illness is informed and accurate. He uses his public platform to educate the public and reduce stigma. Evan’s authenticity, kindness,and willingness to shine a positive light on the lives of people living with mental illness are traits that are consistent with the Jessica Henderson Spirit Award.The NAMI Rochester community would like to thank Evan Dawson for his contributions to mental health, education and advocacy.

Danielle Ponder
Special Guest: Danielle Ponder

This Rochester, NY Native has spent the past years rendering goose bumps by perfecting her style and charismatic performance. She sings, you listen, you melt. The result of her focus and dedication is a tone that is both enchanting and seductive along with a riveting, honest stage presence. It is this voice that has helped her secure gigs opening up for powerhouses such as George Clinton, Ledisi and The Roots. The band has also completed two successful European tours. Boyd Kletter of Bourbon Street Blues Club in Amsterdam said “Danielle shines bright both on and off the stage. She’s truly is a star!”

Silent Auction

We are excited to showcase the 2nd Annual Silent Auction at the 2016 Henderson Event. Auction items and descriptions will be available for bidding in the School of the Arts lobby at 5:30 pm on the night of the event.The auction bidding will close at 6:25 pm, just prior to the auditorium opening for the event. Auction winners will be identified on the Winner’s Board posted outside of the auditorium immediately following Chamique Holdsclaw’s presentation.