Shezaray, What does a typical day as an Outreach Specialist look like for you?
In the world of outreach, building relationships is vital. While every day is subject to change at the drop of a dime, a typical day for me is several meetings with community professionals that work with the mental health and addiction population, educating them on our programs and services here at Footprints to Recovery. I have the privilege to not only have our amazing clinical team to share with the world but to be a liaison and advocate for our communities, aiming to touch one life at a time. My primary responsibility is to coordinate and connect those struggling to the appropriate services and levels of care. The ability to minimize stressors and assist with logistics to get into a treatment program often times becomes the encouragement and motivation needed to activate change.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Realizing that God gives each of us a measure of grace for us to have the opportunity to be a change agent and create the life we desire. Having the pleasure of working with and serving others drives my motivation and keeps me humble. I say often, my word, my transparency, and integrity is all I own in this life and I take those things very seriously day in and day out. People choose to trust you and I don’t spend a day taking that for granted.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Accepting the things that are out of my control. I have no control over someone’s perceived mindset about treatment, agencies and even me. I believe that people are willing to see the good in everything but as professionals, our experiences sometimes form how we function and operate. What we have learned about the disease of addiction is that the disease will manipulate ones thinking to work against those that are offering them another way of living. As professionals, we have to develop acceptance and skills to love someone beyond the flaws of their disease. It’s difficult when what you see in someone’s future doesn’t align with their present motivation. No matter how experienced you are, that emotion connected to someone who just ‘isn’t ready’ can be unnerving and even discouraging.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as a mentor?
If I could pick a mentor, I would identify Greg Petrocelli, my high school basketball coach. He was a man who loved people for who they are and was blind to the contrast we create amongst one another. He gave of himself freely with no expectation of return. He loved tough and was sensitive to the individual desires and challenges of others. He used who you were to bring out the best version of yourself. Having him as a mentor influences my ability to remove the barriers that create division and instill love, support, and encouragement.
What’s your personal motto or mantra?
A mentor of mine during training shared with me a quote from the late Maya Angelou that I strive to live by; “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
What makes Footprints to Recovery stand out?
What makes Footprints to Recovery stand out to me is the eclectic nature of every department and every team member. Being able to make the evidence-based practices come to life and having the support of people who are clinically sound is inspiring to me and an honor to represent. The willingness of our staff to remain open-minded and humble enough to incorporate whatever is necessary to keep patient care at the forefront makes me proud to be apart of this great team!
Lastly, Shezaray is there a message that you wish you could provide family, friends or addicts with around the world?
Don’t give up the hope that makes us believe that living a quality life is possible! People are struggling with their mental health and addiction and don’t know where to go and how to get there. Continue to tap into the fight deep within to be the agent of change you want to see!