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 my Masters 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 national and digital media publication 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.