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135. Navigating Teenhood: Breaking Through The Masks

Join host Tess Connolly, LCSW, in a thought-provoking conversation with Ashanti Branch, a master in building healthy relationships in schools, a pioneer in education reform, and in youth mental health, with over 18 years of experience. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Ever Forward Club (EFC), a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the dropout rates of marginalized students through youth mentorship and teacher professional development.

⭐Learn how Ashanti empowers young men to discuss their emotions and cultivate healthy relationships.

⭐Tess and Ashanti explore the unique struggles boys encounter on their journey to emotional openness and the pervasive tendency to conceal their feelings.

⭐Ashanti talks about the inception of the EFC and its profound influence, including the global reach of the million mask movement.

⭐Tess and Ashanti talk about how his business is growing and they are looking at ways to reach out to girls as well to help them balance their feelings and the masks that they wear.

⭐Tess and Ashanti explore the complexities of social media's impact on adolescent development. They discuss strategies for helping young people navigate the pressures of social media and develop a healthy relationship with technology, promoting authenticity and emotional well-being in an increasingly digital world.

⭐Gain deeper insights into Ashanti's personal journey and his role in the documentary "The Mask You Live In," shedding light on the masks young men wear in society.

⭐Tess and Ashanti explore the concept of emotional masks and how individuals often conceal their true feelings. They discuss practical tips for parents to help their children recognize and understand the masks they may be wearing, fostering a deeper understanding of emotions and promoting authentic self-expression for healthier relationships.

⭐Tess and Ashanti talk about the documentary The Mask You Live In that Ashanti featured in. Ashanti talks about what is in the documentary and how it can help young men understand the masks that they carry around and be more open about expressing themselves.

⭐Ashanti shares valuable insights into effective communication strategies with children, emphasizing the importance of creating an environment where children feel seen and heard. Exploring ways parents can cultivate meaningful connections with their children, providing opportunities for genuine dialogue and mutual understanding.

⭐Ashanti elaborates on the work that he does in schools and how he helps the students in these engaging workshops to create more meaningful connections, healthier communication, and deeper engagement.

⭐Ashanti is most grateful to his Mom for raising him as a single parent at 22 yrs old and how he does his work that he does to make her proud.

Find our more about Ashanti Branch here 👉Ashanti Branch Bio — Ever Forward (

Create your mask here 👉 Million Mask

View The Mask You Live in Documentary here 👉 The Mask You Live In Documentary — Ever Forward (


⭐Get Tess’ Tech Reset Agreement here 👉Mindful Kids and Families

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📧Connect with Therese (Tess) Connolly, LCSW, CCC here👇: [email protected]


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