University Park, IL,
13:47 PM

Governors State to Host Aug. 12 Girls Conference led by Tragil Wade-Johnson

Basketball Superstar’s Sister Shares Passion for Mental Health



(CHICAGO) – Tears well up in the eyes of Tragil Wade-Johnson when she talks about taking care of younger brother Dwyane Wade. “I was the big sister but also definitely a mother figure to him,’’ says  Wade-Johnson who now uses those tough experiences of growing up with absentee parents to inspire girls through America’s Big Sisters Foundation (ABS). On Aug. 12, Wade-Johnson will kick off a four-city tour with an inspiring event at Governors State University.

Who: Governors State University, a minority serving institution outside Chicago, seeks to offer an exceptional and accessible education and America’s Big Sisters (ABS) Foundation led by Tragil Wade-Johnson (sister of Dwyane Wade), is a nonprofit that seeks to empower, encourage, and educate young ladies in underserved communities to become positive, independent, goal-oriented, and self-sufficient in society.

What: GSU, a lead sponsor, is hosting the annual All Girls Matter ABS conference with a focus on mental health.  “Mindset Matters” is a free, daylong event that feature workshops with expert panels, exercise and dance routines for girls ages 9 to 17. Other highlights: include:

• Vendor fair
• Community resources
• Live entertainment
• Fun activities
• Raffles, giveaways
• Food, snacks, and drinks​

When August 12, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where Governors State University, One University Parkway, University Park, IL

Why: Founded 2017, ABS strives to empower young girls to overcome negative self-image, stereotypes and messages. Wade-Johnson assumed a parental role early in life as she and younger brother Dwyane grew up on the South Side of Chicago with absentee parents. Their mother, now a pastor, struggled with drug addiction that resulted in incarceration.

Wade-Johnson, big sister to Dwayne, also served as his mother figure. Her story and the foundation have been featured on the CBS Evening News for its impact on girls across the nation. During the workshops, Wade-Johnson speaks about her own mental health crisis growing up and seeks to be there for today’s young girls who face even more pressure.

“We used to start at age 11, but girls —post COVID —are going through so much now,’’ said Wade-Jonson. “I like to focus on girls in the teenage years because it was the toughest time of my life,’’ she said.

Wade-Johnson aid this year’s conference host aligns with her vision to expose participants to higher education environments.

“We like universities and college campuses. Some of the girls have never been on a college campus. So we like to have them moving around in a college setting and having that experience, which can change their lives. Also, our mission to empower girls aligns with Dr. (Cheryl) Green’s mission to impact society through education,” Wade-Johnson said.

GSU President Cheryl Green, also a South Side native, holds both a master’s and doctorate in counseling psychology and has led in the educational space for more than 30 years.

As a passionate advocate for education, mental health—and equity—I am so thrilled to be hosting this important and impactful event at Governors State University where we strive to transform lives through education.”

Dr. Green and Tragil Wade-Johnson are available for interviews on Aug. 10, 2022.

Visit America’s Big Sisters Foundation to learn more about the program and upcoming conference.

Contact: Zion Banks