I describe my years in this world as a sequence of mini-lives that have taught me to be steadfast but flexible; to be forthright but empathetic; to be contented but always searching.
After finishing a degree in criminal justice, I declined an offer to the police academy and took a detour west. I zestfully joined AmeriCorps*NCCC to dedicate a year of my life to community service. My experience that year led me to serve the US Forest Service in the Colorado Rockies performing fire prevention work; as a YMCA camp counselor for underserved youth in Michigan; at a youth residential care facility in Texas (that was converted from an exotic hunting ranch stocked with axes, antelopes, wild boar); and for Boulder Open Spaces (a local-tax-funded conservation organization in Colorado).
The following year I attended Rutgers University-Camden as a student in the social work program while also working full-time as a hairstylist. I took a position with a care management organization within the city of Camden finding support and resources for behaviorally-challenged children and their families. After finishing my final field placement at Covenant House in Philadelphia, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BSW and a minor in criminal justice.
I continue my “lifetime of service” today at Miriam’s House and support various political and social causes.
My friend once said:
"Happiness is opportunity. If you create enough opportunities for yourself you'll find happiness".
I believe in this wholeheartedly.