Every Day… I’ve always been great at people and not so great at the bottom line. I first discovered this when I was working in restaurant management, my first “real” job out of college. I realized I cared deeply about people and noticed that they found safety and comfort in my presence. Because of this, I eventually decided to pursue a path that would allow me to focus on people and not making other people money. As I excelled in my work in community mental health, I was promoted to various positions and offered trainings to help others become more competent and confident in their work. I was a “natural” and began to realize that I was gifted in the work I was doing. I remember sitting in an auditorium for a training and the combination of several of my life’s experiences had finally been given a name – Trauma. In the name of Trauma, I would then invest countless hours and thousands of dollars, earn a degree, license, and multiple certifications, and commit myself to a lifetime of personal growth. For the sake of healing myself and others I would endeavor to learn, practice, explore, train, and share all that I could about the possibility of redemption and transformation.
Until One Day… Preparing for an evening training for foster parents a couple weeks before Christmas in 2012, I received a phone call from my sister asking if I was okay. Not understanding why she would be calling or asking me that question, she then told me that a group of children had been shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. I wept, mourning a world where children are not safe, not even in their classrooms. I also promised to hug my 3-year-old extra tight that night. Lastly, I committed myself to finding a way to use my gifts and talents to create an alternative future in the face of gun violence and trauma.
And Now… One day, I participated on a panel about mental health for young children (B4Stage4) and I was introduced to Mark Barden and Paula Fynboh of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation (SHP). Upon hearing Mark’s personal story of the tragic loss of his son, as well as 19 other first graders and six educators, I was convinced I had found a way to honor the commitment I made – I would use my gifts and talents to support the mission of SHP. I am now one of SHP’s first National Promise Presenters. I have traveled the country training thousands of students and adults. This experience has had a significant impact on my work and life, as I provide therapy to families, couples, and individuals, and also give presentations in front of thousands of people.
Now, as I shift focus and provide my expertise to Story in Process, I am continuing to honor my commitment and pursue my personal mission, which is to be a beacon of light in a dark world and a conduit of healing for those experiencing trauma.