Dedication: My children, Lauren and Chris
Like so many other women, I am a survivor. From the ashes of incest, abuse and neglect arose a passion to help others create extraordinary lives. At age 12, I was abandoned with my younger brother in a trailer home with no adults, no food and often without utilities. I remember the night that I was lying in bed and declared that there was no God. It was impossible for me to reconcile how any deity could let such inhumane things happen to children. My resources were limited and I had my brother to feed. Our clothes and bodies had an odor that I recognize on others now as an adult and I’m immediately taken to a world without laundry soap or hot water. The night I disconnected spiritually I also had a “knowing” that there was a reason that I was subjected to all of it. I knew that I would be helping thousands of people somehow. Like someone in a prison, I just had to do my time.
In my 20’s I would daydream about speaking to abused children and my 30’s added women to the audience. It took until my mid-40’s to complete the personal healing necessary to step into that vision.
I wear many hats to fulfill my vision. One is as a host of a local radio show in Indiana. The show is called Extraordinary Transformation and I look for guests that are doing things to help others or have a personal story of inspiration. Last summer I found myself becoming worn out and made a decision to talk to the station owner the following day to graciously unplug. Before falling asleep, I was looking at how I had backed into this opportunity as it wasn’t on my radar. I wondered if there was a higher purpose and asked myself “How can I serve?”
The next morning my creative juices were on full throttle. I’d had the privilege earlier in the year to interview a high school senior who spearheaded the walk-out and demonstration for gun control in our schools. She was captivating and I left our meeting with a heightened awareness. I was also present to the understanding that our kids have things that they need to tell us but we aren’t hearing them. Not because we don’t want to listen but rather that they don’t have a forum for their voice.
I designed a youth empowerment program called The Frequency of The Future where I work with kids ages 12-19 to create their own radio broadcast. I launched in at a local Boys and Girls Club and it was simply amazing. Once they realized that they had complete freedom to say whatever they chose and that I was genuinely curious, they blossomed. Over the course of six weeks, they became unrecognizable to me and others as I got fabulous feedback from the club director, staff and parents. I was often in awe and always grateful to be in their presence.
Last fall I had the opportunity to present a keynote talk to teenage girls detained in the local county juvenile center. It was deep and gratifying and moved me to write a blog to share my insights with others. After the presentation, I was contacted by the judge who oversees the youth to ask if I would come in again. I assured him that I would, my calendar permitting. He also asked if I had any programs and I shared about my radio program.
He was excited to hear about it as someone who is always looking for ways to show the kids a different world of possibilities than they’ve experienced. As we chatted, he shared that he was on his way home from a statewide conference of other professionals seeking the same tools for their facilities. The antiquated goals for keeping the behaviors controlled while detained aren’t doing anything to help once the youth is sent back to his or her outside world.
I’ll be bringing my program to the county this spring and the judge suggested that we might be creating something to dovetail into the statewide initiative.
2019 also brings me to a commitment to help women of all ages transform the conversation of what it means to be woman now. I’m focusing in on keynote presentations and bringing custom workshops to employers to achieve this goal. I would love to start a social movement or two. We have ground to regain and much more to cover. I’ve rolled up my shirt sleeves and am ready to get started. Come join me!