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Together they are sharing their stories making a difference prioritizing mental health

Eric Christiansen


Filmmaker- Messenger of Hope

Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who has built his life’s work around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires and most importantly heals. Christiansen, a seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, explores the impact of trauma; how we adapt to grief; the resilience of the human spirit; and how a powerful platform for hope can help trauma survivors begin the vigilant journey of healing. A trauma survivor himself, Christiansen worked through the loss of his home and possessions in the Painted Cave Fire by creating his first film Faces in the Fire over 25 years ago.
All of his films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually and physically by trauma. Leveraged as educational tools by top mental health institutions, Christiansen’s films migrate from the entertainment arena into environments that help additional audiences navigate the profound collateral damage trauma creates not only on the individual, but the family and community as well.  
Christiansen’s current feature documentary “unMASKing HOPE” premiered on public television October 2022.
Throughout his career, Christiansen has worked on both commercial and cause-driven projects, and produced for major networks including Discovery, TLC, PBS, MTV and an Imax film. He’s appeared on 50 podcasts in 10 countries discussing his work.
unMASKing Your HOPEFilm Resources


Passionate Advocate for Military and Veteran Family Caregivers

Shawn Moore serves as the Program Manager, Financial Wellness for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation where she supports financial and employment related initiatives, to include the Employer Task Force and emergency financial relief offerings. Shawn is an Alumna 2017 Dole Caregiver Fellow for Missouri, and has also assisted with the Foundation’s Respite Relief program.

Prior to becoming a caregiver to her husband who served for 23 years in the U.S. Army, Shawn served as a police officer for nearly 15 years with Kansas City, Missouri. She then obtained a Master of Social Work degree from Park University and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in both Missouri and Kansas. Prior to joining the Foundation, Shawn founded Caregivers on the Homefront where she stood up for mental health programming for veteran and military caregivers and their children.

Shawn is passionate about advocating for military and veteran caregivers and utilizes both her lived experience and education by presenting to national audiences on how communities can best support the family members of our veterans.

A Caregiver's JourneyThe Masks We Wear: I'm Fine


Former Two-time World Champion Boxer

Shawn Christian Porter is a former American professional boxer. As a stand out amateur boxer, he represented the US on multiple world teams. He was a 2007 Pan-American Team Member, as well a 2008 Olympic Team Member. He is a former two-time welterweight world champion, having held the IBF title and the WBC title. He was particularly known for his aggressive pressure fighting style, physical strength and high work rate.

Outside of the boxing ring, Shawn has a flourishing career as a boxing analyst and ringside commentator, working on multiple networks (FOX and NBC) and other platforms. He created The PorterWay Podcast in 2020 with two of his best friends and it is rapidly growing to become one of the best boxing podcast around. Shawn Porter is heavily involved with the Las Vegas community and has stated “God gave me a heart to help and after boxing that’s what I intend to do… HELP”.

Beating the Odds


Author and Motivational Speaker

Allen Levi Simmons is a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a survivor of a rocket propelled grenade blast. Allen is using his battle with PTS and suicidal thoughts to inspire and encourage survivors of trauma to live a purposeful life.

Upon completion of his B.S in Electrical Engineering Technology from UNC Charlotte, Allen began his career at IBM in 2021. His first role as a Software Support Engineer ended in 2023 and he has since taken on a new role as an AIOps Technical Sales Specialist for the Federal and Public Sector. In 2022 Allen was awarded by the Black Alumni Chapter of UNC Charlotte, the Excellence in Leadership award for his impact in the community and for inspiring purpose through The Purpose Pod podcast.

Allen’s published collection of poems titled Can I Speak? tells of stories from the lives of characters who face different adversities. He has evoked empathy and has inspired his readers to reflect on their own unique story. His motto has moved the hearts of those who desire motivation as they journey through life; it is a lifestyle and a mindset. “Never Stop, Never Quit, Repeat!”

Allen is the Founder of Live N Love Incorporate, Persist Motivational Clothing Co., Brunch and Ties, Brunch and Heels and AllenLeviSpeaks and creator of The Purpose Pod podcast.

A Veteran's ExperienceBeating the Odds

Stephanie Szostak, is an actress and author and speaks on overcoming failure, being an outsider and living with authenticity.

Szostak left her native France to study business and play varsity golf at the College of William & Mary. At 29 years old, after a few years at Chanel in NYC she took a leap and gave the acting world a try. Soon after she landed a role opposite Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Her most notable projects include the ABC hit series A Million Little Things, Iron Man 3, and Dinner for Schmucks.

As her career gained momentum, she battled with Impostor Syndrome which pushed her to address her mindset and develop her own ‘Playbook’ as a daily practice of Mental Fitness. In her book, Self!sh: Step Into a Journey of Self-Discovery to Revive Confidence, Joy, and Meaning, she guides readers in creating their own Personal Playbook for life—a tool to cultivate a resilient mindset and empower them on their unique journey of self-discovery, learning, and growth.

As part of her commitment to mental health, she donates half of her proceeds from the book to the mental health organization, Give an Hour.

Self!shA Morning Boost for Your Mind

Once an Ambassador, Always a Supporter

Take a look at previous Ambassadors and how they made a difference during their time with Give an Hour.



Bryan Abrams is an internationally-recognized, two-time Grammy-nominated, American Music Award and two-time Soul Train Award-winning, R&B/pop singer-songwriter with over 12 million albums sold worldwide, three Billboard #1 Hot 100 and R&B hits and is an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductee. Bryan is best known around the world as the original lead singer, frontman and founding member of the 90’s crossover hit group Color Me Badd.

Having faced many public challenges including substance use disorders, a life-long battle with obesity and tensions within the group he founded, Abrams is painfully aware of the toll that being self-sacrificing can take on a person’s mental health. Abrams found himself at rock bottom due to his addictions, and was inspired to take his power back only by the desperation and disappointment he witnessed in the eyes of his wife and daughters. Having lived with addiction for over 25 years, Abrams has now put his focus on his mental and physical health, and is proudly in his third year of recovery. Abrams’ zest for music has returned and prompted him to dive into the vault of songs written and set aside over the decades.



Kimberly Abrams is an alumna of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and a Honors graduate with a degree in Diversified Studies from Oklahoma City Community College. Kimberly spent her early career working as a national educator for a Fortune 500 company and, eventually, as business manager to her husband, R&B/pop singer-songwriter Bryan Abrams.
As a young girl, Kimberly was already familiar with what mental illness can look like. She witnessed the many struggles certain family members suffered as a result of being unfortunate recipients of antiquated mental health treatments, while others simply fell through the cracks of a broken, mental healthcare system. Later, as a married woman, Kimberly saw yet another ugly manifestation of untreated mental illness as she watched her husband battle substance use and eating disorders. She realized she would have to do something different than she ever had, that is, if she expected her husband to survive. She would need to become an active participant in his recovery, rather than wait for a sick person to get well alone . . . . and, it worked.
Mentally stronger than ever, Kimberly and her now-recovered husband Bryan reside in Oklahoma with their two daughters. Kimberly is a proud tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a documented descendent of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.


Veteran, Champion and Servant Leader

Dr. Celestine LaVan is a member of the International Board of Directors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated, where she serves as the Regional Director of the Southeastern Region. Dr. LaVan oversees the operations and membership activities of over 170 chapters in the United States, the Bahamas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Celestine holds a Psychology degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.

As part of her executive leadership training, Celestine had the privilege of attending the BB&T Leading Change Executive Institute and Closing the Achievement Gap Institute at Harvard University. As a public educator, Dr. LaVan considers herself a servant leader passionate about advocating for marginalized and underserved populations.

Uniquely situated as a Navy veteran and daughter, wife, and sister of combat service members, Celestine understands the importance of attending to the socio-emotional well-being of military families. Through leadership role within Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Dr. LaVan engages with over 400 active duty, retired, and prior servicewomen.

Multiple Hats, Influencing ManyHow Culture Impacts our Emotional Wellbeing
Mary-Ella Majetich, rare-disease caregiver and Give an Hour ambassador


Mom, Wife and Advocate

Mary-Ella is a mom of three boys, two with medical issues growing up, but one who had much more serious medical needs when he was younger. Caring for her son and working with in-home nurses, she often found she didn’t know what questions to ask and had so much to learn. With the encouragement of a doctor and some nurses, Mary-Ella decided to earn her nursing degree and quickly fell in love with pediatric nursing.

After meeting her husband, who was severely injured in combat, Mary-Ella decided to leave pediatric nursing and applied to work at Veterans Affairs (VA). She couldn’t understand how the VA system worked and did not want to criticize what she didn’t know. Mary-Ella now serve as the Quality Manager for North Florida/South Georgia Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service.

She is finishing up Nurse Practitioner school, and proudly serves as an Elizabeth Dole Alumni. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Mary-Ella had the opportunity to participate in many projects, the Campaign for Inclusive Care (CIC) was one of them.


Dog Mom and Difference Maker

Gabrielle “Elle” Mark is an honors graduate from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with her bachelor’s degree in Public Health & Community Health Education. During her undergraduate career, Elle spent a significant amount of time researching and performing health education programming surrounding the topics of mental health and wellness as well as the prevention of mental health crises.

Elle’s passion for promoting mental wellness stems from her personal experience with mental health disorders. In efforts to help others through the struggles she encountered with mental illness, Elle utilized her role as a local titleholder within the Miss America Organization to share her mental health journey and help to guide others through theirs.

Taking Care of Emotional HealthChildren Have Mental Health Too



Anna Shinoda was raised in a mountain town so small it lacked a stoplight. She used to escape into the high branches of trees to read and dream of stories, out of reach from her own family skeleton. Eventually she climbed down with her debut novel, Learning Not to Drown, a story about a young girl who struggles to preserve her own identity amidst a chaotic, dysfunctional family unit.

Anna married musician Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park in 2003 and has led efforts with the band’s non-profit, Music For Relief, in the U.S. and abroad.

As a mental health advocate, before becoming an Ambassador she served as a senior advisor to Give an Hour for the Books Change Direction initiative, a campaign that strives to inspire responsible representation of mental health and illness in stories.


Husband, Father and Friend

Bob Stead earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Prior to earning his Master’s Bob served proudly in the United States Army as a Combat Medic.  A combination of life experience and academic endeavors have allowed Bob the ability to interact with people from all walks of life.

Bob has a unique perspective in today’s divided world in that he sees all people equally and works hard to maintain openness and honesty in all his relationships.   His passion is working with children that come from difficult places, and those struggling with trauma.  However, Bob has experience working with children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults.

Bob enjoys helping individuals overcome the myriad of conflicts they deal with in today’s ever evolving society.  Bob also has extensive training and experience in Crisis and Trauma with training in Disaster Response, Psychological First Aid, and Individual and Group Crisis Intervention.

Watch a Trauma DiscussionVolunteer Pulls Double Duty as Provider and Ambassador