I am an Afro Latina women and I have committed my entire life to working with youth. I am a Youth Development Specialist, Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Therapy Guide, Rock Climbing Instructor, World Traveler and Old Dominion University first generation college graduate. Above all, I am divinely guided and passionate about connecting the BIPOC community to nature.
Tell us, what excites you about your work right now?
We are growing partnerships with local elementary schools and providing outdoor programming to kids 8-12 years old after school. This means even more girls/non-binary kids will have the opportunity to experience Atabey Outdoors. We are the first of our kind of program in the area and its value is unmatched.
What feels rich and abundant in your work?
Members are leaving our program with higher self-esteem, confidence, and overall compassion for the environment and each other. Our members make friends with each other at Atabey and learn so much about themselves through outdoor adventures. Atabey members are inspired to do things like go camping with their own families as well s dream of doing their own thru-hiking when they get older. We are currently working with a graduate student to survey members so that we can understand the long-term effects of Atabey Outdoors on the members. We are excited because this too is a first-of-its-kind survey.
Who do you dedicate your work to?
I dedicate my work to all the young BIPOC girls who are looking for community with other girls and adults who look like them. To the young BIPOC girls wanting to step out of their comfort zone or learn about themselves but not really knowing how or feeling comfortable in groups that are white dominant. I also dedicate my work to my parents. My late father who introduced me to adventure and my mom who always took the time to make sure I made it to each adventure.
Where are you drawing inspiration from these days?
My inspirations are other BIPOC individuals my age engaged in similar work, in activism and other environmental justice work. We are doing our best for our generation and future generations. I believe we are the trailblazers for the youth and we have a tough and important purpose on this earth. I’m inspired by ppl like maya angelou, Angela davis, Oprah, James Baldwin, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali, Viola Davis, Paulo Coehlo, and many more. I’m reading several books - uncomfortable conversations with a black man, the places that scare you, becoming me, your story is your power - free your feminine voice, white fragility and more.
What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?
It’s a practice. Everyday we make small choices that allow us to show up in wellness. Some days practice goes better than other days just like any other sport.
What is your own wellness practice?
I go out in nature. I have a solid rising (a.m.) routine that I do every day that helps me stay present throughout the day. I meditate, using guided meditation or yoga. Listen to different frequencies and affirmations (music). I spend time with my friends and family/community. I read and listen to podcasts, exercise, and go to the chiropractor and acupuncturist.
How can people reading this support the work you are doing?
Connect us to people in this work, specifically nonprofit or business WOC who can be mentors to our members, volunteers, staff and myself. Connect us to resources so we can continue to provide these programs free to our community. Send us information, books that can help us run a nonprofit or learn more about outdoor programming. Share our stories via social media. Call/zoom and get to know the CEO more personally. Share our donation link and subscribe to our newsletter on our website.
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