This year, Benicia Hernandez added a nonprofit arm of her business, Project: Life’s Journey, to help even more people with financial and mental health challenges. Currently, the organization has a project to buy masks from local businesses and distribute them to the homeless in Norfolk and Portsmouth to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Benicia is also passionate about reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness in the black community. Too often, African Americans expect people to handle depression or anxiety with faith and a “tough it out” attitude, Gill says. Avoiding proper care can lead to damaged relationships, broken families and self-medication with drugs or alcohol.