Hi Journey Group!

If you know me at all, you absolutely know that I crave new experiences and love to share them. This year, I have begun new adventures… from beginning a new job, to becoming the first African-American female Publisher in Charlotte, to fulfilling a life-long dream of writing and publishing a book. We all have connected at different points in my life, and by far, this is the most exciting time for me that I’ve had in a very long time.

As you should know by now, I began this latest adventure in my life with a group of wonderful teenagers who are apart of PFO. Playing for Others (PFO) provides a space for teens to explore and answer the questions, “Who Am I?” and “How will I give of that?” through programming in Personal Development, Service and the Arts. I know, it sounds like this organization was created for me, doesn’t it? You are so correct! There is a list on the website of PFO core beliefs that I would love for you to take a look at when you have the time. As I begin this new journey, the belief that sticks out the most to me and the one that affects my life daily is:

Anything is possible regardless of condition or circumstance.

On July 21, 2009, I had an incident occur that completely changed my life. Due to a domestic violence situation with my spouse, I ended up in the hospital with a loss of my motor skills and bruises. While the doctor’s tended to me, I remember wondering if I would ever be able to write my name again or form a complete sentence without stuttering. Over the last several years I have developed seizures and have been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). To say that depression and insecurities have plagued me is an understatement. I thought that my life would never be the same and that surviving this was next to impossible.

But then something magical happened! Due to a praying mother, friends that would not allow me to close myself off to the world, and something inside that whispered “keep pushing”, I have arrived here… in this space that I am in today. It took a lot of hard work. Cognitive therapy sessions, returning to my foundation of faith, and acceptance of my “new normal” were all a part of my wellness plan. In the end, I couldn’t return to my job of 17 years because it required travel that my physician has not yet cleared me for. Instead of allowing this to consume me, I relied on my skill set, and through networking at a social event, was presented with an opportunity to own a company that has a direct impact on the community that I love and serve in. Immediately following the announcement of my Publisher position, the mayor issued a proclamation naming the month of June after my company, Visit Gay Charlotte. In that moment, I was so proud to know that not so long ago, I couldn’t even write a complete sentence, but now I have a staff of adults who work with me and look to me for editing and artistic direction. Almost simultaneously, I began a position for a job working for a non-profit that I have previously volunteered for. It’s a job that I am passionate about, and it is a stretch of my skill set on many different levels having to deal so closely with spreadsheets and financials. I see the impact of my work immediately, and that is very fulfilling.

And now, I am here at PFO. I work with the most creative and impressive staff. My advisor team, no… my advisor family, are a group of beautiful souls who I look forward to seeing each and every week. And my teenagers…I really can’t begin to describe how inspired I am to work with them. Often I find myself in awe of how “together” and insightful they are already at such a young age. And here I am, trusted within the group of adults who will help them accomplish great things. My goal is to paint a picture for them through my passion and energy, that anything IS possible. Not to let any condition or any circumstance stop you from tapping into your authentic self.

I am so happy that all of you are a part of my Journey Group. May these next months be impactful for you, too. Here we GROW!