My journey into wellness started during my undergraduate experience as a criminal justice major at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. The completion of my field experience at a local juvenile detention center expanded my understanding of empathy and launched my path into the world of mental health.
I obtained a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina-Columbia and gained clinical experience working with children, adolescents, and families who endured mental health challenges, physical/emotional abuse, and neglect. I continued my professional path into federal service, where I spent approximately 10 years serving Veterans and their families within the healthcare setting. I engaged in several leadership opportunities, developed community partnerships, and executed projects which included the facilitation of employee training to enhance staff engagement, patient satisfaction, and team based care. As a teaching organization, I was able to educate university students and medical students on departmental policy, procedure, and the most important tool they will need throughout their career...empathy.
Over the years, I continued to reflect on the needs of my patients, their families, and the community as a whole. At that moment, I wanted to create a platform dedicated to bringing mental health awareness to everyday spaces. Since the launch of Hand Made Dreams, I was able to serve as a mental health expert for WRAL-TV (an NBC affiliated television station), and contributed to various local and national publication platforms, including the American Alliance of Museums and Youth Today. The Hand Made Dreams® platform continues to expand with the launch of the Art Wellness Exchange® and we look forward to continued growth and collaboration.