To thyself be true.
By Karen Harris Brooks
She greets you with a sincerity that is enhanced by her unique warm smile. You immediately recognize her honesty to herself, as well as a kind heart, a giving spirit, and a strong commitment to POWER. POWER Connection has an amazing group of dedicated Mentors, and Lachelle E. is an example of how these women and men go the extra mile.
As an employee of POWER, Lachelle fulfills the passion that embroiders her heart. “My desire to help others comes from God. It is something you have to be born with.” Lachelle has always cared about people and does not hesitate to offer assistance. “I can’t fix everything, but I do not want to see people in pain. I give it all to God; I am a vessel. Some people do not need to be in this field if the heart is not there for this type of work. If you are in it for a paycheck, the work you do is ineffective.”
Admitting the job is not easy and that there are times when the usual calm nature of the young woman is “not upbeat,” she is aware of her need for self-care. “During this pandemic period, I am dealing with all the things that my clients can be feeling from isolation, but I have a program and support system that helps me. I have people that I can talk to in order to stay healthy. I have a very good friend of 25 years, who is also in recovery, and with her I can share my feelings and thoughts. As you know, iron sharpens iron.”
Lachelle has never been a risk-taker, but found herself moving in that direction. Because of her addiction, she faced the loss of a very good job, as well as her pension. With 6 months of sobriety under her belt, the Cleveland native decided to ensure her own recovery success by taking a risk and starting anew. Lachelle left family and headed for the City of Three Rivers. She had no place to stay and only knew a few people she had met through attending recovery conventions. Staying in homeless shelters and sleeping on friends’ couches, she eventually found a place at Bridges in McKeesport, where she stayed for 1 ½ years. While she admits it was not easy, her determination to reach back to help others on the recovery road provided the encouragement for her own continued success.
The conscientious Mentor is proud of the fact that she made the decision to make Pittsburgh her home. “Pittsburgh has been a place where I have been able to grow up. There is a great recovery culture” within the confines of this city. The Certified Peer Specialist is also proud of her move to POWER as she continues to work relentlessly within the recovery community.
Today, Lachelle finds herself taking more risks as she becomes more in tuned to the culture of POWER. Her passion to “see people find their healing” causes her to go above and beyond. Recently, one of her clients had all her food stolen. With no money and no food, the distraught client turned to Lachelle. Based on the advice of a co-worker, POWER headed to the Food Bank. Armed with her POWER identification badge, she was able to bypass the lines, go directly to the distributors and, with her client’s consent, was able to obtain food for the appreciative woman. Lachelle has learned that some risks do lead to success, and today she no longer hesitates to step outside of her comfort zone.
“I live a lifestyle of recovery. I have my history, but I know that through faith, we can overcome and find positive value in life. I have had ups and downs, but seeking self-harm activities is not something I choose to do these days. I feel like I got to the other side through prayer, sharing, and applying spiritual principles. I want to see people in life find their healing. Looking at my previous life, I’ve been blessed, and I carry a message of healing. We can treat people like we want to be treated with respect, love and kindness. By doing so, we can see people reach their healing and find the courage to reach back. I want to see some generational curses broken. We have so much information, experience, and years of knowledge. That is where the wisdom comes. I just want to continue to be a part of other people’s healing process. Seeing humanity overcome different things, emotionally and mentally, through spirituality and the kindness of people, moves me. I want people to get to know the difference…the good part of life. That is my passion. I want to show others, through my own experience, that this does work if you are honest with yourself. To Thyself Be True.”