The Ingredients of Bravery

Creative. Musical. Resilient.  

In her mid-20’s, Emily Ann Peterson, a professional cellist, learned she had an essential tremor in her right hand. A degenerative neurological hand tremor to be exact.

“This isn’t going to go away, is it?” She asked her doctor and the answer was “no.”

The tremor threatened her career and her deepest passion. Emily Ann thought of herself first and foremost as a cellist but she instantly knew the importance of finding ways to say “yes” to living a creative life — even if that meant she needed to design completely new ways to achieve this goal.

Emily Ann’s story proves that when one door closes, you can find a window but you must never give up on your dreams. After her diagnosis, she took the practical approach to learning how to
“be brave” and began to research it! In the episode she shares her wisdom on bravery, not only from her own personal journey through grief and into new creative outlets as a singer-songwriter, but also from the research she put into her book, “Bare Naked Bravery.

Emily Ann also hosts the Bare Naked Bravery podcast and serves as a creative consultant, helping her clients be their best and bravest selves. She has also released two albums of “Cello Yoga” — instrumental cello music composed to accompany a yoga session.

Emily writes for people who struggle to remember what hope feels like and sings to those who yearn for something secret. She speaks to those who are done being bored and crave all things beautiful, strong, sacred, and sensual. Her goal is to inspire a global resonance and magnanimous community through the marriage of art and whole-person development. She is an impassioned speaker and educator and an inspiration beyond measure. Learn more about Emily Ann on her website and connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Emily Ann Peterson is living courageously as an artist and musician. Bare Naked Bravery.

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • There is more than one way to follow your passion
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t
  • Even bravery can be studied, learned and mastered

GIVING IS GOOD

Emily Ann believes that if we can educate girls, especially girls in under-developed countries, everything will change for the better (and I couldn’t agree more!). As such, she supports Speak Up For The Poor, a charitable organization that supports education for girls in rural Bangladesh.

 

 

Breaking Down Barriers

Driven. Empowered. Resilient.  

Ten years ago, Kendra DeLarge was working toward her goals of becoming a lawyer and a full-figured model. Little did she know at that time that a chance opportunity to travel from her home in Dallas, Texas, on a mission trip to Malaysia would change not only the course of her life, but affect the lives of many others.

In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, find out how Kendra’s went from a childhood knowing she was unwanted and abuse at the hands of men she trusted to establishing International Kendra, an awareness-raising campaign that aims to help women and girls in West Africa to improve their lives and create positive cultural change. Learn about how Kendra’s own hardships — facing the challenges of abuse, abandonment, single parenthood, displacement and widowhood — have informed her mission to help women and girls who today face their own challenges halfway around the world.

Kendra is the author of "The Walk: From Hearing To Knowing" and an empowerment speaker who also works locally in her community of Dallas to encourage and inspire people.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how Kendra DeLarge "International Kendra" is living courageously and helping women gain strength and power.

Top Takeaways

  • The things we want to accomplish don’t always happen on our timetable
  • Each new generation is an opportunity to stop repeating the mistakes of the previous one
  • Our own hardships can prepare us to guide others through similar experiences
  • We can’t connect with others until we are able to move beyond stereotypes

Giving is Good!

Kendra supports Hope Cottage, a pregnancy and adoption center in Dallas, Texas. Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center is the oldest nonprofit, non-faith based adoption agency in Dallas and has been serving North Texas since 1918. Over the years, we’ve compiled an impressive history of personal and compassionate services carried out by a professional, experienced staff and a board committed to community betterment.

 Kendra working in Nigerian school.

Kendra working in Nigerian school.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how Kendra DeLarge "International Kendra" is living courageously and helping women gain strength and power.
 International Kendra, speaking!

International Kendra, speaking!

 The children Kendra works with send her birthday wishes.

The children Kendra works with send her birthday wishes.

 Kendra's first book, "The Walk: From Hearing to Knowing"

Kendra's first book, "The Walk: From Hearing to Knowing"

 Kendra shares her story in this new compilation book coming out soon! We will update with the link once it's available.

Kendra shares her story in this new compilation book coming out soon! We will update with the link once it's available.

Kendra's Bio:

Kendra is a strategically transparent and audacious empowerment speaker, author, mentor, and missionary. She is the founder of International Kendra, a mission committed to fearlessly crossing ethnic, religious, cultural, and societal barriers to break chains of oppression and brokenness through conferences, social media, and mentoring. She is the visionary behind The Safe Haven®, an upcoming innovative global initiative to establish transitional shelters for women/girls who are victims of heinous violence due to the imbalances and prejudices in culture and society. In addition, she is the author of “The Walk: From Hearing to Knowing”, a compelling and riveting book about her personal triumphant journey through some of life most difficult, controversial, and taboo challenges.

Three of the top terms that others have used to describe Kendra are: women of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a determined spirit. Those are “stripes” that she humbly wears with dignity, from the battle scars that came with them. She has learned through the years to be direct yet empathetic, and a person who does not limit herself to any ‘box’, border, or tradition. Her travels overseas, along with her personal/professional relationships and exposures, have given Kendra a greater understanding of many world cultures and taught her how to listen and communicate more strategically and effectively with those from diverse backgrounds.

To learn more about Kendra and her passion, visit: Website: https://internationalkendra.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/internationalkendra YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/2qUcyLR LinkedIn: Kendra DeLarge

The Genie Inside

Inspire. Evolve. Transform.  

Silva Mirzoian has lived several lives. She has transformed and reinvented herself over and over again and each time, she triumphs in an extraordinary way, despite the pitfalls that have been in her path. When she walked out on her abusive husband in the early 1980s, she had no idea how to, once again, jump-start her life. She had already been divorced once, and her adventurous spirit had left her alienated from her traditional Armenian family. But as Silva tells Heather in this episode of The Brave Files, “those so-called coincidences are ways to guide you toward fulfilling your purpose in life.”

Hear how Silva transformed her life from one of struggle and uncertainty to success and empowerment, thanks in part to what she describes as “the genie inside all of us.” Silva is the author of “Jump-Start Your Life – 7 Steps to Waking Up From The ‘Sleep-Walking Mode’,” a property developer and entrepreneur, and a personal coach and speaker whose Passions & Dreams Foundation aims to empower women and children who are at risk. Silva’s story is inspiring not only because of the hardships she has overcome but because of her eloquent message that personal transformation is possible for all of us, no matter what challenges we face.

The Brave Files Podcast. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Silva Mirzoian is living courageously and helping women find "The Genie inside."

Top Takeaways

  • Don’t wait to live the life you want to be living
  • Be ready to step into opportunities when they come along
  • When life throws you a curveball, it may be an opportunity in disguise

Giving is Good!

Silva supports Aviva, a Los Angeles-based organization offering community mental health services and support for foster children and families. Her Silva the Genie doll also supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitals.

 Silva credits her Mom with her fashion sense.

Silva credits her Mom with her fashion sense.

 Not the best photo, but here is Silva onsite as a general contractor. 

Not the best photo, but here is Silva onsite as a general contractor. 

 Click through to watch!

Click through to watch!

 Silva created the "Genie Doll" to help young girls connect with their inner power and raise money for charity!

Silva created the "Genie Doll" to help young girls connect with their inner power and raise money for charity!

The Brave Files Podcast. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Silva Mirzoian is living courageously and helping women find "The Genie inside."

Holding Up The Light

Compassion. Courage. Creativity.  

Casee Marie Clow spent nearly a decade housebound due to severe anxiety. When you grow up with anxiety like this, fears and worries can become your truth. From nervously biting her tongue as a young child, to being reprimanded in school for a panic attack that her teacher thought was just bad behavior, Casee spent her early years not even aware that she was struggling with something beyond normal shyness. By her early 20s, it was hard for Casee to leave her home, so strong were her fears about what could go wrong.

This week on The Brave Files, Heather talks to Casee about her journey from darkness into light. With the help of therapy and medication, Casee has found new truths about herself and is helping others conquer their own fears through her writing, and public speaking work. Tune in to hear what famous author helped give Casee the courage to seek help, and how Casee learned to show compassion for herself.

Casee is a motivational writer and artist who is now able to move freely throughout the world and inspires others to do the same. She is the author of the online journal Hope & Harbor where she writes to encourage a deeper relationship with compassion and vulnerability. She is also a writer for The Perpetual You where she wrote Own Your Story: A Conversation About Forgiveness, Healing, Growth & Strength. She also shares the "Getting Over Stage Fright workshop" from In The Spotlight, where she shared her anxiety journey. You can also connect with her on Instagram at @hopeandharbor.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Casee Clow is living courageously life altering anxiety and how writing and connection saved her life.

Top Takeaways:

  • Giving voice to your fears can help them lose their power
  • Anxiety can look, sound and feel like a lot of different things
  • Showing yourself compassion can help you start to heal

Giving is Good!

Casee supports Furry Friends Foster and Rescue who support her in providing a home for her foster pup, Blaze

Saving Paws - who first rescued Blaze when she was abandoned by her original owners

and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of her sister, who was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in childhood.

 Casee and her foster dog, Blaze

Casee and her foster dog, Blaze

 Casee outside, experiencing the world!

Casee outside, experiencing the world!

 Casee has started to sell prints of her beautiful poetry! You can purchase them  here . 

Casee has started to sell prints of her beautiful poetry! You can purchase them here

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Casee Clow is living courageously life altering anxiety and how writing and connection saved her life.

Purchase this beautiful print here

Socially Conscious Living

Community. Design. Empowerment.

When friends, Chad Husar and Ernie Berlin’s, started talking about the systematic issue of homelessness they realized that sitting on the sidelines was no longer acceptable to them. Chad, a talented photographer, and designer and Ernie an entrepreneur, marketing and tech wiz knew they had to do something to create change in their community and inspire change throughout the nation. That’s how Lost Format Apparel — a stylish clothing company with a serious social mission - came about! The two friends talk to Heather Vickery in this week’s episode of The Brave Files about forming the company, the importance of a strong support system, the design influences of the 1980s, loving what you do and the need to address the problems that are right in front of our faces.

Both Chad and Ernie have chosen to devote themselves to Lost Format Apparel in addition to their own careers because they are passionate about their mission of helping others to overcome the barriers that homelessness can create. Through the support of their customers and partnership (including the one they have with The Brave Files Podcast - - check out our custom line of shirts!), Chad and Ernie hope to grow Lost Format into a company that can provide more than just financial support and awareness but will also include employing the homeless and providing jobs and services for them. Tune in to this episode to find out more about how you can help, and to hear Heather’s challenge to her listeners to get involved in your own community.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Chad Husar and Ernie Berlin are living courageously through their socially conscious clothing company

Top Takeaways:

  • You can make a big impact by starting with the things you see right in front of you. Pay attention
  • Hard work is easier when you’re working toward a meaningful goal
  • If you want to know how to help someone, ask — and listen
  • Friends and family can be a precious resource

Giving Is Good!

Chad and Ernie work with La Casa Norte in Chicago, an organization that works to support homeless people with housing, social services and more.

 Lost Format goes camping!

Lost Format goes camping!

 With every purchase, Lost Format gives back!

With every purchase, Lost Format gives back!

 The Lost Format Studio pays homage to all forms of "lost format."

The Lost Format Studio pays homage to all forms of "lost format."

Girl Seeking Joy

Stubborn. Identity. Joy.  

For as long as she can remember, Cassandra Bumpus has been “the sick girl.” Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was less than a year old, much of Cassandra’s early life was defined by her illness, which is progressive and has no cure.

But when Cassandra faced the prospect of a double lung transplant in her early 20s, she realized that to go on living, she would need to step out of her comfort zone and take the risk of saying “yes.”

Since then, Cassandra has made a full recovery from her transplant and has also said “yes” to building a life with her long-distance love and new husband, who also has Cystic Fibrosis. Cassandra says her husband helps her set aside her fears and take time to enjoy the here and now. Check out Cassandra’s work at Cunningham Creative Services, where she offers copywriting services for small businesses and fellow entrepreneurs and her Facebook page (soon to be blog) Girl Seeking Joy, which is dedicated to not running from joy but embracing it, no matter what life throws at you.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Cassandra Bumpus is living courageously Cystic Fibrosis and a double lung transplant.

Top Takeaways

  • Joy can be just as scary as suffering, chase it anyway
  • Your physical self does not have to define who you are
  • Life’s big decisions can come at you fast, you have the strength to make good choices

Giving is Good!

Unsurprisingly, Cassandra supports Cystic Fibrosis Canada and encourages American listeners to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Cassandra's Bio

Cassandra Bumpus loves connecting with people through stories and conversation. She can often be found spending hours on research with her favorite cup of tea next to her in an attempt to satisfy her curious mind. Her interests have led to a passion for copywriting, content marketing, and case studies. She provides these services through her business, Cunningham Creative Services, based out of Saskatchewan, Canada. In her spare time, she enjoys working on her blog, Girl Seeking Joy (coming soon). Cassandra loves to chat and can be reached at hello@girlseekingjoy.com.

The video below is Cassandra  talking and breathing on her own for the first time since transplant after being taken off the ventilator.

 Cassandra wearing her oxygoen mask at home prior to surgery. 

Cassandra wearing her oxygoen mask at home prior to surgery. 

 Cassandra put on an ambulance to be taken to the airport and flown to Edmonton, Alberta (the nearest lung transplant centre - about a 5-hour drive from where she lives - late September 2016)

Cassandra put on an ambulance to be taken to the airport and flown to Edmonton, Alberta (the nearest lung transplant centre - about a 5-hour drive from where she lives - late September 2016)

 In the hospital post-transplant (late November 2016)

In the hospital post-transplant (late November 2016)

 In the hospital post-transplant (late November 2016)

In the hospital post-transplant (late November 2016)

 Packed up and heading home after 5 months in the hospital

Packed up and heading home after 5 months in the hospital

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Cassandra Bumpus is living courageously Cystic Fibrosis and a double lung transplant.

Cassandra and Dillon on their wedding day, May 27, 2017. The truest deffinitation of
"seeking joy"

An Ally In Verb Form

Intersectionality. Empathy. Ally.  

For Anthony Clark, helping others is just what you do. Serving in the military, becoming an educator through the Troops to Teachers program, creating the Suburban Unity Alliance to support his community of Oak Park, Illinois, and becoming a co-owner of Neighbors United LLC to employ at-risk youth would be more than enough for most people. But Anthony, who was raised with “the constant desire to want to do more,” doesn’t know the meaning of the word “enough” when it comes to fighting racism, sexism, ableism, gay rights, poverty and other forms of oppression.

In this week’s episode, Anthony reflects on the gifts of his parents’ sacrifice, the experiences of running for a seat in the U.S. Congress (which he plans to do again and you can support him here), and the risks that go along with trying to change the system, one small step at a time. It was truly an honor to interview Anthony. He is a man of integrity and passion. I proudly campaigned for him and support his organizations. I believe that with more people like Anthony standing up in the worlds, there is hope for us yet.

Top Takeaways

  • There is always someone out there who could use your help
  • To be an ally is to listen and support — not to lead
  • Society’s systemic problems can only be solved when we all work together
  • Discomfort and inconvenience are poor excuses for supporting oppression
  • We can have the biggest impact right in our own community

Giving is Good!

In addition to his own organization, Neighbors United LLC, Anthony supports the Black Lives Matter movement.  And a reminder from me, Black Lives still matter. 

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Anthony Clark is living courageously as a social justice warrior.

Anthony's Bio

Raised in Oak Park, Illinois, to a working-class family, Anthony Clark is a military veteran, high school special education teacher and active community organizer. In the summer of 2016, Anthony founded the Suburban Unity Alliance, an organization dedicated to combating discrimination by raising awareness and bringing communities together based on common interests and community goals. He believes it’s time this country lives up to its promise of liberty and justice for all.

Anthony is here to work with you in the fight for Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, public education reform and responsible job creation. As your congressman representing Illinois’ 7th district, he will be your voice in Washington that insists healthcare is a human right and will work to fulfill your hope for a better future.

As Anthony's grandfather Choom often quoted from Muhammad Ali, "Service to others is the rent you pay for room here on earth." and Anthony believes it's time to rent to own.

 Anthony is always the first to march in  any  fight for justice and equality. He says "Your fight is my fight just as my fight must be yours."

Anthony is always the first to march in any fight for justice and equality. He says "Your fight is my fight just as my fight must be yours."

 A local campaign  canvas party for Anthony.

A local campaign  canvas party for Anthony.

Two Different Worlds

*Please note, in this interview, we discuss severe sexual abuse.*

Brave. Joyful. Love.  

How do you turn your life around after years of abuse and trauma? In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, Kirsten Palladino shares the story of how she did just that.

For a long time, Kirsten was living in two different worlds: by day, playing the part of a happy teenager, but by night, being subjected to horrible abuse. As a young girl, Kirsten was molested by a family friend and later victimized by several classmates in her high school. Finding the courage to tell her story allowed her to begin putting herself back together.

Today, Kirsten has risen above the traumatic events of her young life to build a successful life and business. Together with her wife, Maria, Kirsten founded Equally Wed, a magazine and digital resource for same-sex weddings, and authored a book of the same title (Equally Wed).

Kirsten’s #MeToo story is also a story of #WhyIStayed, shedding light on how victims of sexual abuse can wrongly blame themselves for the things they are forced to endure thus staying in a dangerous situation.

Kirsten’s three words say everything about this brave woman. Despite the horrors she has experienced, she chooses to live a life that is brave, joyful and full of love. There are so many gifts in this episode.

Kirsten sent me her personal thoughts on her story and I simply had to share them with you.

My story may be unusual and I love telling how I am working through sexual trauma. But I also believe that we are all brave. When people hear my story or even segments of it, I'm often told "You're so brave" or "You're so strong." And yes, I am. I will own that. I can be humble and still proud of how far I've come. I've been close to death. I've been locked up in a mental institution on suicide watch. I've held my dead baby in my teenage arms. I've wondered if I'd ever make it out of houses alive. I have wondered if I'd ever be able to make love without feeling fear. I've wondered if I would ever be able to forgive myself for being so vulnerable, for being such easy prey, for simply being a child. 

But I also love Emily Dickinson's words of wisdom that essentially say that we are all brave:

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise; 
And then, if we are true to plan, 
Our statures touch the skies— 

The Heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing, 
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp
For fear to be a King—

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen to how Kirsten Palladino is living courageously after sexual abuse.

Top Takeaways

  • Trauma doesn’t have to hold us back from living a full life

  • One helping hand may be all someone needs to get out of a bad situation

  • Connecting with others who have shared your experience can be a pathway to healing

Giving is Good!

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) operates the National Sexual Violence Hotline (800-656-HOPE) and works to prevent sexual violence and help survivors.

Kirsten is also active with Georgia Equality, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout the state of Georgia.

 Teenage Kirsten. This photo was taken shortly after the rapes.

Teenage Kirsten. This photo was taken shortly after the rapes.

 Kirsten, beautifully standing in her power.

Kirsten, beautifully standing in her power.

Kirsten's Bio

Kirsten Palladino is the editorial director of equallywed.com, the world’s leading equality-minded wedding website for LGBTQ+ couples, which she cofounded with her wife in 2010. She is the author of the newly published book, Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding (May 2017, Hachette Book Group and Seal Press). 

An award-winning editor and writer, Palladino has enjoyed having her work appear in esteemed magazines, newspapers and websites. For more than 17 years, she’s covered equal rights, weddings, art, travel, restaurants, fashion, beauty, celebrities, profiles and music. She’s been a recurrent guest on CNN discussing marriage equality and same-sex weddings, as well as an invited speaker at wedding industry conferences and equal rights conventions around the globe. She blogs infrequently about recovering from sexual trauma on foragedwellness.com, and she’s at work on a memoir centering on the same topic.

Kirsten’s expertise has been sought out by luminary media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, CNN International, Politico.com, NPR, Martha Stewart Weddings, Washington Post, A Practical Wedding, Bridal Musings, The Knot, Brides Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, ABC News, The Advocate, AOL, Yahoo News, The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times.

Kirsten Palladino was the 2010 recipient of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Up & Comers award, and Fenuxe Magazine’s 2011 Top 50 award “in recognition of her dedication to the Atlanta LGBT community.” Equally Wed recently was honored by the Webby Awards as an honoree in the lifestyle category.

Kirsten lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her wife and their twin 7-year-old sons, where they try to enjoy each day as it comes, walk barefoot in the grass, make nightly dinners together as a family, and laugh often.

Life Wide Open

Perseverance. Trust. Gratitude.  

Packing your five children, yourself and your husband into a 24-foot RV to travel the country is courageous enough. To do all that, managing a dangerous and chronic illness, requires an extra dose of bravery. But that’s just what Dana Gerrits decided to do — which is why she’s our guest for this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

While pregnant with her youngest child, Dana started to get extremely ill. She casually assumed her troubles her related to pregnancy and she shrugged it off as “nothing more than hormones.” However, after multiple trips to the emergency room, she started to think she was going crazy. What in the world was making her sick and why couldn’t they fix it. Finally, with a lot of trust in her own instincts, and a doctor who listened, Dana was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Disorder.

This devious and strange “disorder” means Dana needs to always be on guard. Her body fights to keep her alive and by doing so, it nearly kills her. Although living with her condition has its challenges, Dana took her diagnosis as motivation to live a full life. She honors her body and its fight by dancing, and she and her husband made the decision to live nomadically, taking their homeschooled children on a cross-country RV adventure while both continuing to work remotely from the road. Dana blogs about her family’s journey here. After months of cross-country travel, Dana and her family have finally re-settled in a new part of the country.

Tune in to hear how Dana and her family stay connected to their community, how they balance seven people in a tiny space and her illness. Learn what gave Dana the courage to take on this adventure and prepare to be awed!

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how toDana Gerrits is living courageously chronic illness and loves life.

Top Takeaways

  • Beauty can be found even in times of pain.
  • Your own experience is valid, even if others struggle to understand it.
  • There are many ways to find and connect with a community that supports you

GIving is Good!

A warrior at heart, Dana Gerrits supports the ongoing battle for social justice and supports  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fights for the constitutional rights of all Americans.  

 The beautiful Gerrits family!

The beautiful Gerrits family!

 Dana she her youngest, Claire in the hospital.

Dana she her youngest, Claire in the hospital.

 Dana preparing for a dance recital.

Dana preparing for a dance recital.

 Dana wearing a mask to help her breathe.

Dana wearing a mask to help her breathe.

 The Gerrits family home while traveling the country.

The Gerrits family home while traveling the country.

 The Gerrits family seeks adventure!

The Gerrits family seeks adventure!

Brave Out of Necessity

Tenacity. Perseverance. Confidence.  

When Kimberly Carson-Richards became a mother at age 14, she had no idea that raising her son would motivate her to pursue not only her own success but help others achieve success as well. Through believing in herself, even when others doubted her, and staying focused on her goals, Kimberly has achieved her dreams of building a better life.

It wasn’t always easy for Kimberly to finish high school, get her college degree and support herself as a young, single mom. Herself the child of a teen mother, Kimberly was determined to learn from not only her own mistakes but her mother’s experiences as well.

Now as the mother of two children, Kimberly has embarked on a new adventure as an entrepreneur after two decades in the traditional workforce. After a “soul session” with Stephane Hassein, Kimberly discovered a new path for herself and created Forward Momentum Coaching. Through her work as a coach, Kimberly has found new ways to help women create change in their lives so they can feel happier and experience success.

And that little boy born to a 14-year-old girl? He is now one of the youngest members of the Alberta Provincial Legislature. How’s that for building a successful life?!

Learn more about Kimberly’s inspiring story in this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

The Brave Files Podcast. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Kimberly Carson-Richards has lived courageously teenage pregnancy.

Top Takeaways

  • Staying focused on your goals can help you during tough times
  • You get to choose whose judgment matters to you
  • Let your core values guide you through life’s big decisions
  • Your story is your own, and it may inspire someone else

Giving is Good!

Kimberly is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity and organization that helps construct affordable housing for low-income families. Please give them some love this week!

 Kimberly and her son, Jon in 1992

Kimberly and her son, Jon in 1992

 Always close and always having fun together. Kimberly and Jon in 1996

Always close and always having fun together. Kimberly and Jon in 1996

 Kimberly with her two children, Jon and Mikaelyn.

Kimberly with her two children, Jon and Mikaelyn.

 Kim and her husband, Regan.

Kim and her husband, Regan.

Kimberly's Bio

Kimberly Carson-Richards is the founder of Forward Momentum Coaching Solutions. As a certified life & business coach, she shows women entrepreneurs how to overcome fear and self-doubt, so they can take their business and life to the next level.

Ms. Carson-Richards story of resiliency and courage started when she became a mother at the age of 14. In 2017, after spending 20 years following a vertical career path in retail, she felt a need to help inspire other women to find their own courageous path and so she left her corporate career behind.

Her upcoming projects include publishing a short story in a compilation book about living a courageous life.

 

Embrace the Fear

Fearless. Hopeful. Resilient.

When Dale Spencer was just 20 years old, he made a split-second decision that completely changed the course of his life. After an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Dale leaned on his support system of family and friends to help him face his fears and achieve his goal of returning to college and getting his degree.

Today, Dale uses his experience as a touchstone, working with people of all ages and backgrounds to help them face and overcome their fears. He also serves on the board of directors the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, which educates young people about the importance of their own judgment and making good decisions throughout their lives. Every decision counts!

Dale, who has become an accomplished skier and marathon kayaker as well as a successful businessman, is living proof that fear can be overcome.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Dale Spencer is living courageously paralysis

Top Takeaways

  • No matter what your fear is, you can problem-solve your way out of it
  • We choose what to do with our lives
  • Giving and receiving help is a strength, not a weakness
  • Small decisions can change your life forever
  • A strong support system is the best antidote for fear

Giving is Good!

Dale is an active supporter and board member for ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation. The organization helps students prevent spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and death, by making smart decisions in life.

Dales Bio

Dale has triumphed over adversity and risen to the top of his profession, he continues to give back to his community, grow and take on new challenges. By using simple techniques to keep his fear in check and his mind focused, Dale has been able to achieve his life goals. Now he is sharing his experiences and helping others to attain their goals and ambitions.

Dale takes his audiences on a journey of real-life experiences and revelations. Together they identify obstacles, both professional and personal, which are common road blocks to achieving success. By re-introducing us to the skills we already have, Dale is able to illuminate the road to success.

Career Highlights-

Co-Producer of Several Award Winning Independent Films
2004 Business Person of the Year, Bartlett Chamber of Commerce
Elected to the Board of Education of Elgin School District U-46, 2005-current
Appointed to The National Board of Directors of ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, 2006- current
Chairman of the Resource Development for Corporate Sponsorship for the ThinkFirst National Prevention Foundation, 2009 –current Chairman - “Voices for Injury Prevention” (VIP) Council, 2008-current
Recipient of the 2008 National VIP of the Year For Outstanding Commitment and Contribution to Injury Prevention
2012 Appointed to Deans Advisory Council of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at NIU

From Grieving to Giving

Authenticity. Vulnerability. Empathy.

Alexa Bigwarfe has been overcoming fear and tragedy for the majority of her life. When she was just 11 years old, she nearly became the victim of gun violence (long before school shootings were a regular occurrence in The United States). She also lost her newborn daughter after just 51 hours of birth. Alexa’s close call with gun violence and loss of a child has impacted every aspect of her life. She became one of the first members of her local chapter of Moms Demand Action in Columbia, South Carolina.

This mother of three knows firsthand the pain of losing a child, after the death of her daughter, Kathryn,  just a short time after giving birth to twins girls who had Twin to Twin Transfusion. Alexa channeled her grief into action, writing “Sunshine After the Storm” to guide other parents through the loss of a child and establishing a nonprofit of the same name to support grieving parents. For Alexa, the life-changing experience of losing a child awakened in her a passion for helping others. Whether through her publishing company Kat Biggie Press, where she partners with authors to help make their writing dreams come true, or through her support of organizations like Be Smart For Kids, which aims to reduce unintentional gun deaths, Alexa looks for ways to elevate people who are trying to make the world a better place — just like she is. Hear Alexa’s story and find out how you can help in this week’s episode of The Brave Files.

The Brave Files Podcast. Alexa Bigwarfe. Grief, survival, motherhood, entrepreneurship.

Top Takeaways:

  • If you let them, life-changing experiences often change you for the better.
  • Speaking up for what’s right may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.
  • No matter what you’re going through, there are people out there who have been where you are, and who can help you get through it.
  • Don’t wait to celebrate — enjoy life’s moments as they come.
  • Be open to challenges to your own beliefs — don’t be afraid to learn and grow.

Giving is Good!

Alexa is a passionate supporter of the March of Dimes. She knows first hand how important their work is because it helped save her daughter’s life. The March of Dimes supports research and care for the health of mothers and babies around the world. Each year, Alexa gathers a group of people to march for the cause and help raise money and awareness. You can support them by donating here.

Alexa created the Sunshine After the Storm foundation after the loss of her daughter, Kathryn. The nonprofit organization provides encouragement, hope, advocacy and support for parents who have lost a child. As we mentioned in the interview, Alexa is always looking for self-care items and gift cards she can include in the care packages she sends to grieving parents. Donations can be made online or sent to PO Box 290041, Columbia, South Carolina 29229.

Alexa's book "Sunshine After The Storm."

 Alexa and her beautiful family coming together as a family to help others!

Alexa and her beautiful family coming together as a family to help others!

The Brave Files Podcast. Alexa Bigwarfe survivor of gun violence and loss of a child. Author. Publisher.
 Alexa turned her experience into a business and now helps empower other women to become writers!

Alexa turned her experience into a business and now helps empower other women to become writers!

Alexa's Bio:

Alexa Bigwarfe is a wife, mother to 3 wildlings, devoted advocate, blogger, author, and publisher. Her writing career began after her infant daughter passed away at 2 days old. She has written and/or edited and published eight books, including Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother and Ditch the Fear and Just Write It! She uses that hard-earned publishing knowledge to support other writers and entrepreneurs at writepublishsell.co. She also owns the small hybrid-publishing company Kat Biggie Press (katbiggiepress.com, dedicated to sharing women’s works of inspiration and self-help. Alexa is passionate about women's, infant, and children's health topics and has had more than 50 articles published in regional parenting magazines around the U.S. and Canada. In her journey to feature amazing women, she hosted the Women in Publishing Online Conference. She enjoys drinking wine, spending time with her husband and friends, traveling, and just because life isn’t full enough, hosting the “Lose the Cape!” podcast featuring inspirational mothers and women making a difference in the world. Start your writing journey with her free 30-days of simple strategies to start writing. Learn more here. You can find her on Facebook @WritepublishsellLLC and on twitter @katbiggie.

Queer Recovering Homophobe

Overcoming. Persistent. Authentic.

How does one go from being a severely depressed, homophobic, suicidal teen to being an empowered and passionate leader in the LGBTQ community? Tune in to this week’s episode of The brave Files to meet Mason Aid, who has done just this!

Mason Aid is an entrepreneur, community leader for Prism (an organization that supports LGBTQ youth), church elder, spouse, parent, and an overall amazing and inspiring person.

Mason is gender fluid and non-binary and, as such, uses they/their/them pronouns. While this may still be new to many people, it is an important question for many people today, "what are your pronouns." This is just one of the many things Mason teaches those they work with. 

In this episode, Mason shares their story of being a troubled teen with suicidal tendencies, living in a deeply conservative and religious small town and hiding who they truly are from everyone, even themself. Despite going through the darkest of times - - with determination, a lot of hard work and the loving support of their parents, Mason has overcome many obstacles and is now a mentor to kids venturing down a similar path.

The Brave Files, Mason Aid, LGBTQ Advocate, Mental Illness, courage.

One of the most interesting elements of the interview converges around Mason’s deep desire to reclaim their religion and do it in a safe and authentic way. Religion and spirituality is an integral part of Mason’s identity and being excommunicated from their former church, after coming out, was pure hell but faith has a way of finding, and clinging to, Mason. They are now an elder of an inclusive, sanctuary congregation where they are living out what it really means to be like Christ.

This is a truly inspirational story of the possibilities of turning your life around by first starting to be real with yourself. Mason may still have some bumps as they navigate bipolar disorder, starting a new business, having a family and, well, life in general. But it is real, it is 100% authentic and it is completely inspiring. 

Mason is launching their own podcast "All The Letters" on June 28th. It's going to be super interesting so be sure to check it out!

Mason has written some beautiful and powerful blog posts about many of the topics discussed in the episode. I highly encourage you to check them out!

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • Loving yourself and being true to who you really are is the first step to freedom

  • There is a large community of Christians that are working to reclaim the word “Christian” just as the LGBT community reclaimed the word queer.

  • Assumptions go both ways! It is as important to let go of our assumptions as much as we want others to let go of theirs.

GIVING IS GOOD: 

Mason's favorite charitable organization to support The Trevor Project - A national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. Mason also urges us to find and support your local LGBTQ center, volunteer, donate and be part of the community.

 Mason with their wife, Hilary and adorable daughter, Ashby. 

Mason with their wife, Hilary and adorable daughter, Ashby. 

Mason's Professional Bio:

Mason Aid is an LGBTQ educator and advocate focused on helping business owners be LGBTQ inclusive in their language and processes. They grew up on a small farm in rural Northeast Missouri and have since moved to the teeming metropolis of Columbia, Missouri. 

They got their start working with LGBTQ teens and found passion through this work. Seeing the experiences and lives of these amazing youth had a profound impact on Mason, and through their volunteer work, they found opportunities training educators and social service providers. They have since grown those opportunities into a business working with online entrepreneurs to help others avoid the “accidental asshole” moment. 

Mason loves spending time with their wife and baby, going on walks, cooking good food, and pretending to be a pretentious coffee snob.

You can connect with Mason on their Website, Instagram, and Facebook!

 

The Road to Everywhere

Becoming. Alignment. Drive.

Two years ago, Morgaine Trine had plans to become a curator of ancient Mediterranean history. Those plans, however,  kept hitting a brick wall no matter how hard she tried! Feeling utterly defeated, Morgaine realized that what she really wanted was to travel and simply be near this history that she loved so much. Not one for half-steps, Morgaine decided she would begin to travel, set a deadline for when she would leave and then set about figuring out how to support herself. Today, she is living her "why" as a boss-bookkeeper with her business Honestly Bookkeeping and traveling around the world.

In this episode, Morgaine calls in from sunny Las Palmas in Spain's Canary Islands to talk to Heather about her brave journey from unfulfilling part-time work to a radically different life-path as a traveling, virtual bookkeeper. Morgaine shares that, originally, she was dead-set against starting her own business but after a friend sent her a link to a course by the Bucketlist Bombshells, Work Online + Travel the World, she realized this was not only something she could do, it might just be the answer she was looking for.  

The Brave Files. Stories from people living courageously. Click through to listen how to Morgaine Trine is living courageously as she travels the world and runs her business.

While Morgaine says things are working out beautifully, it has not always been an easy path! Tune in to this episode of The Brave Files to learn how Morgaine overcame the barriers to her dream, persisted through the hurdles of establishing a new career and business, and pushed past the emotional and physical challenges of becoming the woman she feels she was always meant to be. If you want to learn more about Morgaine or work with her, check her out here.

Top Takeaways:

  • Take the time to find your "why," the thing that really drives and fulfills you, even if it's not the path you originally envisioned for yourself.

  • Set deadlines for yourself and make a plan. You can't get where you are going if you don't know where you’re headed.

  • Think of your overall vision as a “feeling” you want to have.

  • Don't wait until everything is perfect before you start. Allow yourself the space to take the first step before every detail is worked out.

  • Ask yourself, “what is holding me back right now?” Then focus on that instead of worrying about everything you need to do down the road.

  • Celebrate your successes and your wins. There's always more you could do, but focus on what you have already accomplished.

Bonus Biz Tip:

Morgaine uses Trello to stay as productive as possible (and our show host, Heather Vickery used Asana).

Giving is Good:

Morgaine’s favorite charity is Ekone and its an organization she has been involved with since age 12. Ekone believes that the earth is sacred, in and of itself - not a possession of humanity. As such, our proper role in the evolution of the earth is as stewards and caretakers - not owners and masters. This land stewardship trust has a kids' summer camp that teaches sustainability, land stewardship, and how to ride horses (among other fun summer activities!). Morgaine's experiences with Ekone had a huge influence on the person she has become, and she donates a portion of all her revenue to support their work.

 Kouklia, Cyprus

Kouklia, Cyprus

 Morgaine takes a selfie at selfie at Kourion, Cyprus

Morgaine takes a selfie at selfie at Kourion, Cyprus

 Duomo in Milan

Duomo in Milan

 Skyline of Paphos, Cyprus

Skyline of Paphos, Cyprus

 Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

The Theory of Accountability Part 1 and 2

Loyalty. Trustworthy. Fatherhood.

Imagine being arrested, charged and sentenced to prison for a murder you didn’t commit. This week’s guest, Omar Yamini, experienced just that and he breaks all of the stereotypes of someone who has a murder conviction and served 15 years in prison. Omar reinvented himself after his release, graduated from college, become an education consultant, built a non-profit, started a family, and is an extraordinary member of society and one of the kindest hearted individuals I have ever known.

In this two-part interview, we explore Omar’s story and how our country’s criminal justice system failed him and thousands more who are and have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. He shares his personal experience of living inside prison and how much extreme mental effort it took to not become inhuman or broken. Omar constantly improved himself in preparation for his re-entry into the real world and even still, seven years after his release he continues to improve himself and help others do the same.

Omar is now using his freedom for something powerful and incredibly eye opening. Apart from writing the book What's Wrong With You!, Omar helps Chicago youth stay out of the prison system by working on their social and emotional learning and teaching them to identify the helpful and harmful influences that they will encounter and to make better choices with his company The Proper Perception.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Omar Yamini's story of living through a 15-year imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • We need to be mindful of the company we keep, and the company our children keep

  • Knowing who your children are spending time with can, quite literally, save their lives.

  • Our criminal justice system is terrifyingly broken.

  • Thousands of African American men are imprisoned for life for crimes they did not commit.

  • Children need attention, connection, and people they can trust

  • People coming out from prison needs a strong support group that has social capital to lift them up, keep them focused, and that mentors them

  • Our mistakes, however large, do not define us. The story is yours to write and rewrite if you choose to.

  • The proper mindset can get you through even the most unimaginable thing

RESOURCES:

GIVING IS GOOD:


Determined To Be UpRight is the organization where Omar is Founder & Executive Director. The organization saves many as young people by helping them identify the helpful and harmful influences that they will encounter, prepare young people mentally by open their minds through travel and community service and giving them a deeply rooted support system.

 Omar teaches and shows what life is like in a prison cell.

Omar teaches and shows what life is like in a prison cell.

 Some of the kids Omar has worked with and helped re-shape their lives.

Some of the kids Omar has worked with and helped re-shape their lives.

 Omar, Carrie and their beautiful daughters. 

Omar, Carrie and their beautiful daughters. 

 Omar in action, changing lives!

Omar in action, changing lives!

 Omar's book "What's Wrong With You" is a MUST READ!

Omar's book "What's Wrong With You" is a MUST READ!

Can’t Keep Me Down

Lucky. Motivated. Tenacious

Alex Foley is a force and an inspiration. Life presented challenges to her from a very young age when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 9 years old, At the time, treatment for Diabetes was difficult and dangerous with tremendous side effects. Alex went through countless treatments and surgeries that lead to her loss of vision at 27. Despite all this, Alex has had more adventure than most able-bodied people have. She has literally climbed mountains, ridden motorcycles, traveled the world with her seeing eye dog, and built businesses (including her own wine label, Alex Elman Wines). Today she helps women become their healthiest, happiest selves as a mobile wellness coach at Wholy Foley Coaching.

In this interview, Alex shares with us the road she traveled from her early diagnosis to blindness and into acceptance and hope. Alex says she will never back down from a challenge and her story proves it. Tune in to hear the bits and pieces that make up her amazing life, and her outlook for the future.

Alex was one of the world’s first pancreas transplant recipients and since then she no longer battles Diabetes and has been insulin free for 21 years! She hopes to one day get her vision back with eye transplant surgery as well. Alex is a testament that if we are brave enough, we are capable of nearly anything.

The Brave Files. Learn how to live bravely. Click through to listen how to Alex Foley is living courageously blindness and Type 1 Diabetes

Top Takeaways:

  • If Alex can literally do it all blind, you can do it too!

  • Rather than letting a big challenge or change shut you down, learn how to work around it and live your best life.

  • Celebrate each moment, because you never know how many more you’ll get.

Giving is good!

Alex met Hogan, her seeing-eye dog, in 1997. And she feels that it gave her life back. As such, she supports The Seeing Eye in New Jersey in the hopes that many more can have their lives back.

 Alex and Hogan, her first seeing-eye dog.

Alex and Hogan, her first seeing-eye dog.

 The beautiful label on Alex Elman Wine!

The beautiful label on Alex Elman Wine!

 Alex and her second seeing-eye dog, Hanley.

Alex and her second seeing-eye dog, Hanley.

Their Buns, My Oven

Crazy. Willing. At Peace.

The Brave Files returns this week with an inspiring story of friendship, pregnancy, and jumping into a familiar unknown. Heather sits down with longtime friend, Karen Kitto, this week to talk about her brave and selfless decision to be a surrogate for friends who were unable to carry their own children.

One day about 10 years ago Karen had a random thought that simply wouldn’t go away. She thought about being a surrogate for her friends, who were struggling to have their own children. Karen describes the decision as her “buying them admission to the amusement park.” She could carry the baby so that they could have the lifetime adventure of parenthood. After one failed attempt to inseminate, Karen was surprised to learn she was carrying two babies! It was a wonderful shock to her and to the mother of the babies. And so began the rollercoaster ride!

As with all stories, there were some struggles. Learning to juggle caring for taking care of her own two children and carrying two babies was a difficult job! She also developed Intrahepatic Cholestasis during the pregnancy which resulted in an early c-section.

All in all, Karen says she would make this sacrifice again if presented the opportunity. Tune in to hear this incridible story in Karen's own words.

The Brave Files Podcast. Living courageously through surrogacy and motherhood.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • There is something magical about being able to truly help someone make a dream come true.
  • Making big sacrifices for someone else can give you a great sense of peace.

  • Sometimes you have to measure the end result against the immediate uncomfortableness to push yourself past your limits and do amazing things.

GIVING IS GOOD:

Karen supports Planned Parenthood (yes, we see the irony!) as she believes deeply in all women’s right to choose for themselves!. She also supports International Rescue Committee which is a wonderful worldwide organization that supports people in need.

  Karen with her youngest daughter, Sadie in August 2009 (just barely allowed to still fly!)

 Karen with her youngest daughter, Sadie in August 2009 (just barely allowed to still fly!)

 Karen holds one of the babies a few days after delivery. 

Karen holds one of the babies a few days after delivery. 

Proof of Life

Hopeful. Tenacious. Dynamic.

This week, Heather talks with  Khim Baggett who shares her incredible story of facing both death and life at the same time. At the age of 35, and completely out of the blue, Khim was diagnosed with breast cancer. Shortly thereafter, she also found out she was pregnant with her 3rd child. Prior to finding out she was pregnant, Khim felt sure cancer would be the end of her. Something about seeing her baby’s heartbeat in the doctor’s office gave her “proof of life.” Khim knew that she and her unborn child had to beat the odds and not become a statistic - - And they did!

Khim recalls the moment when she told the doctors “You’re worried about death, I’m worried about life” and decided to fight for her unborn child.  Khim is a true testament to both physical and mental strength. Rather than live a life in dread (an understandable emotion for such a hard time), Khim chose to use the heartbeat and life of her forthcoming child as motivation. Getting through cancer treatments wasn’t just about beating cancer it was about preserving life.

Khim finished radiation treatment in October of 2017 and is slated to begin reconstruction this May. Go get ‘em, Khim and baby Yuri is celebrating her 1st birthday today (April 19, 2018). Happy Birthday, Yuri!

The Brave Files. Living Courageously through breast cancer and pregnancy.

Top Takeaways:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff but don’t take things lying down either!

  • Live in the moment - push your kid in the grocery cart once in a while!

  • Surviving difficult experiences gives you a brand new perspective.

Giving is good!

Believe it or not, there is a charity that supports women who are in the same situation Khim was in! Hope for Two helps pregnant mothers who also are dealing with cancer.

In Khim’s own words:

I am kind of a walking paradox, I am shy and outgoing, social, but also fond of alone time. I am fascinated with fitness and nutrition, but can’t turn down a chocolate chip cookie or good french fries. Seriously though, I am just a girl- woman who loves Jesus, a daughter who loves her family, a wife and mama loving my squad to the best of my abilities.  Amid all this I’m navigating life with a new perspective after a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer at 35 years young while pregnant, doing my best to be more than just a cancer survivor but a thriver. Sharing my story in hopes that it will encourage someone out there who’s battling this beast called cancer.

 Khim posed for maternity photos after undergoing a double mastectomy. What a beautiful photo!

Khim posed for maternity photos after undergoing a double mastectomy. What a beautiful photo!

 Newborn Yuri (exactly a year ago today!)

Newborn Yuri (exactly a year ago today!)

 Khim and her husband, David, during a chemo treatment.

Khim and her husband, David, during a chemo treatment.

 All three of Khim's adorable kids, Owen, Micah and Yuri.

All three of Khim's adorable kids, Owen, Micah and Yuri.

 Khim rings the bell after getting the news she was in remission!

Khim rings the bell after getting the news she was in remission!

Face Everything and Rise

Broken. Abused. Whole.

Dr. Toscha Dickerson joins us for very impactful and sadly too relevant episode of the Brave Files. Toscha is an inspiring woman of many facets, but most notably known today for her work with non-profit ’S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T.’, (Striving to Reveal, Encourage, Succeed, and Strengthen Others by Uniting Together) and as the author of ‘Sisterhood: Traveling the Scarlet Road to an Authentic Life’.

All too often, and especially now, we hear stories of women (and men) who have dealt with abuse in their lives. Be it physical or emotional, this abuse leaves a profound mark and impacts our lives in many different ways. In every instance, it leaves the victims changed. Far too often we go through our lives thinking what would have happened if we did one thing differently, made one different decision. Would everything be changed, for better or for worse? Heather Vickery always says “Fear either owns you or empowers you” and Toscha agrees, that you shouldn’t want to be fearless. Without fear, we never get the chance to be brave. Inspiring, moving, and touching, this week’s show will hit home with many, and become a beacon of light as well.

The brave Files. Living courageously through abuse.

Top Takeaways: 

  •    FEAR is an acronym. You can either Forget Everything and Run. Or, you can Face everything and Rise!

  •    We find ways to convince ourselves that something is acceptable when it’s not. Act now!

  •    There is ALWAYS another day. Let your fears inspire you and keep moving forward.

  • Everyone deserves a second chance at life.

Giving is good!

Outside of her own organization,S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T.,  Toscha loves 2nd Chance, another group that helps previously abused women (and men).

 Toscha with a young lady that was honored at an event because she graduated from college despite all her obstacles

Toscha with a young lady that was honored at an event because she graduated from college despite all her obstacles

 Toscha telling her story and raising awareness for her organization on the Great Day Houston Morning Show

Toscha telling her story and raising awareness for her organization on the Great Day Houston Morning Show

Dr. Toscha Dickerson's Bio

Dr. Toscha Dickerson is an author, certified life coach, and founder/owner of Stress Out, a non-profit aimed at helping abused women get back on their path. Toscha, like many others, saw her fair share of abuse at a young age. Luckily, those moments of fear changed her and started her on the journey of where she landed today. Currently based in Houston, Toscha works with abused women in helping get their lives back to normal, often times many of which are recently out of jail.  

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