I’ve had many times in my life where I have had to “change direction”. 

I grew up in a childhood on the south side of Chicago with domestic violence and sexual abuse for 8 years. The offender was put in prison.

Throughout my teenage years, I attended therapy but still couldn’t shake the trauma and the feeling I was different and the sadness I felt. This led to a hospitalization for a failed suicide attempt. I sought out substances, music and the comfort of other “stray” friends as the only support system that had accepted me.  I became victimized again, later in my teen years. It was at that time, I empowered myself to finally change the direction of my life.

I changed everything from my friends, job, living situation, etc and eventually enlisted in the US Air Force.

I found more freedom and confidence in joining the military than I ever had in my life. It was the most functional, organized non-chaotic environment and I felt I was no longer the product of someone else’s environment. I threw myself in full force and was involved in every extra curricular, leadership and traveling opportunity possible. I remain a patriot of gratitude for the experience in allowing me to fully change the direction of my life in a healthy manner and give credit for shaping me into the capable person I am today, allowing me to shed all of the negativity from my upbringing.

After completing my term, I was honorably discharged and played around in the entertainment business. I was living a dream, appearing on tv and radio alongside my best friend with the only purpose of getting my name out there enough so that I could use my platform to show others who have been through abuse and trauma that it was possible to see the other side of the rainbow.

Shortly thereafter, I married the love of my life who is currently deployed in the US Navy. We have two beautiful children.

I understand and have been challenged and empowered by all of the facets of being a military spouse. From the isolation of moving where no local support systems, friends or family are available. To battling Postpartum Depression as a result. To physically manifesting my stresses to the point of depletion and exhaustion that landed me a ride in the ambulance and 1.5 years of comprehensive physical therapy.

Years later, I learned that I need to take care of myself through adequate sleep, stress avoidance, exercise – but not over doing it and eating a healthy diet. I needed to find creative outlets and build a new supportive tribe of chosen family.

Positive redirections and helping others are crucial to healing as well. I started 2 community service groups.

One is in my own community. Alpine Kind allows the children of my current community to be involved in ways they can help those who need support, while learning positive life lessons. We set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the people who have lost their homes due to the West Fire. Next up is making care packages for the deployed, we even adopted a troop!

My other community service group is Andrea’s Vibe Revive which is an umbrella in the dream I have always had to start a non-profit that helps those who have suffered through abuse, trauma and other unfortunate situations to realize that it is possible to make their way out of the heavy cloud and that there still is a rainbow that exists for them that they wholeheartedly deserve.

Currently, I also work for a famous world renown Medium. I speak with many people all over the world that have lost their loved ones through murder, suicide, natural causes, illnesses and disease. I spend as much time needed on the phone with them so that they can work through their grief to be in the most receptive place to be given the gift of a positive redirection in their lives.

I choose to come from a place of gratitude for all of my experiences that have shaped who I am and have given me the drive and motivation to find the meaning in life to help others.

Self acceptance and love is vital to healing. Understanding what is under our control and what is not. A universal thought that everything we do impacts another and we are all in this life together – we are not alone, even at our most difficult moments. The more I continue to heal, better myself and help others to do the same by “giving them an hour” or as much time as they need through genuine, authentic human connection and the ability to be present, making the most of every moment, allows my experience not be in vain. But instead it gives it all purpose and is a constant reminder why I am thankful to still be here. To love, to help. To serve. To protect. To guide. To heal. 

I’m so thankful my experience has led me here to be further inspired by others’ great projects for the good.

I know the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and the Healthy Habits, which have helped me to identify when someone is in trouble.

There is strength in numbers and 320 Change Direction and Give An Hour deserves much support and admiration for shedding light onto the importance of mental health by allowing my one story and many others stories to have a platform to be heard, welcomed, supported and empowered.

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