My name is Allison.
I am a mom, teacher, sister, advocate, friend, fighter, survivor of depression, recovered alcoholic, reader, camper, hikers, photographer, blogger, PTSD overcomer, homeschool parent, employee at Target, hairdresser, motivator, leader, not a very good writer, traveler, victim of bullying, military brat, petite in height, lover of folk music, adventurer, volunteer, game changer, quiet, educator in wellness, listener, empath, horrible cook, inventor, dog lover, and someone who is ready to drive miles to connect with the youth, leaders, and programs that engage, empower, and educate this generation to dream big and live healthy and happy lives to in the end develop an innovative youth studio in Allentown, PA.
In January, I was selected to participate in an amazing program called, Leadership without Limits hosted by Promise Neighborhood, an organization out of Allentown, PA. This was an honor and a commitment. For 8 weeks, I participated in an intense leadership program to learn how to be an amazing leader in our community and the power within each of us.
I attended each week and engaged in the deep conversations and shared my story. A story that I own and feel deeply connected to. A story that spun my life in many ways that I didn’t even know could be imaginable but, I know now that my past has brought me to this place and will carry me forward to a better tomorrow and help my community heal and grow.
My story starts 37 years ago when I was as a kid and slowly moves into adulthood. I could tell you may side stories, but when I had to write one story down for a story healing session. I shared my story of my son, E who struggled with reading and fell sick from his educational experience. This life moment shook me to the core and I had to be more than present for him as he struggled with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
In a quick second, I had to provide him with a space for healing, recovery and growth. Most said it wasn’t possible. Professionals especially said, don’t do it, but I had to follow my gut, believe in my teaching abilities, and hold true to my personal philosophies and most importantly help my kid. I dropped everything and did what every mom would do get to the bottom of his struggles.
In a month, I was able to understand his needs, establish appropriate supports, and find him a supportive environment. Again, most told me, I was crazy, but E and I knew I was onto something.
In his new envirnoment, he tripled his scores and by the end of the year, he improved his self-esteem, increased his reading scores and discovered his happiness again!
Today, he continues to grow and is happier than ever. Many asked what did I do to come so far, I sweetly respond, I listened, focused on his abilities, and loved him for who he is not what I wanted him to be.
At that time, I truly valued him for who is his and told him so. Just that those words alone can be powerful.
So as I approach this youth studio project, many say similar things. It can’t be done. It’s impossible. Nothing has changed in years. Why even try. This generation is impossible.
And I say, I can do it because I have done it before. And I know my process works.
But these naysayers surround me and my community pushes positivity to the side and I am left with sadness, the feeling of whatever and blahhhhh so I am going to drive miles to other locations around the US and gather positive energy and new ideas to support me on this journey of building a kickin’ youth studio in Allentown, PA.
Because I truly value my city and what is represents and what it can give to our community and beyond.
Follow me this summer on one epic journey across the US to discover the beauty of this generation, leaders who are game changers, and how as a nation we build a stronger youth.