‘The Confession Stand’ Aims to Raise Awareness About Emotional Disorders Through Art

By Christine Valdez
Web Production Assistant

The Confession Stand logo. Courtesy of Matthew Aversa

Art can be seen as a form of expression, and one New Jersey native is starting a new charity infusing various art forms to raise awareness about mental and emotional disorders.

The Confession Stand is a charity that is just getting started but according to one of the charity’s founders, Fair Lawn native Matthew Aversa, the charity’s mission is to help raise awareness for people afflicted with mental and emotional disorders. Aversa, along with charity co-founders Amy Iturres, Joe Gawalis and Adam Berley, plans to use various forms of art and media for those with emotional disorders to have a way to express themselves.

“We want to use arts, fashion, music — all forms of art — as vehicles of expression for people with emotional disorders,” Aversa said. “We want to use different media outlets to raise awareness and clear some stigma about emotional disorders.”

Although The Confession Stand may still be young at two months, the inspiration for it has been in the works for a while.

Aversa explained that Iturres had wanted to put together a television series where people could make anonymous confessions that would be portrayed in an hour-long show. The idea of the television show led to starting The Confession Stand.

“We decided to start the project, kind of do it using all different kinds of media,” said Aversa.

The Confession Stand plans to eventually pitch the idea of the television show to several networks. Along with the show, the group also plans to release a book about emotional disorders to help raise awareness.

The group will be partnering with the New York City Department of Education and Special Needs Department to form classes and lessons for children with special needs. Along with other groups, The Confession Stand plans to also work with Care Plus NJ on stigma-free zones in Paramus and Hoboken, facilities where people can go to get help for mental and emotional disorders without the fear of judgement.

Although the charity may just be two months old, it will be having its official launch to the public at a launch party March 5.

“It’s the official launch. We have a whole bunch of sponsors and donors coming in,” said Aversa. “Kind of showing everybody what we are and how we’re going to start and what are we going to be doing.”

Although Aversa may be the only founder with Jersey roots, he says that the charity will be bringing awareness to New Jersey with several upcoming events. The Confession Stand plans to use art as a way of expression and awareness and the group will be hosting a comedy show in May.

In a partnership with the Social Butterflies, The Confession Stand will be hosting a fashion show to raise awareness about their cause.