Name: Chandra | City/Town: Philadelphia | State/Province: PA
Sincerely Syreeta: When did you have your #ATOEpiphany and what were the circumstances that preceded it?
Chandra: New Year’s Eve 2014, I was thinking of resolutions to change habits. I did it differently: instead of thinking how to change myself (cursing, dieting, savings, etc.), I decided to think of ways to help others and the organization Warm Hearts and Homes was birthed. Many times New Year’s resolutions are superficial and materialistic, to do something to help other has connected me spiritually and emotionally on levels I’ve never experienced.
SS: What did you find to be most challenging or painful about the situation or circumstance?
Chandra: Not feeling like I had a family or supportive home. I was very lonely and questioning my identity, character and morals. Support is the hardest in pushing my mission.
SS: What did it teach you about yourself?
Chandra: God is using me to help families. In a sense, the relationships I build with families help fill the void of the feelings of no family or support…it works out well for everyone.
SS: What did it teach you about life and people?
Chandra: People are human, and everyone deserves a second chance. My greatest blessings, especially when it comes to maintaining financially as a single parent, comes after I have helped a homeless family.
SS: How did you get to the space where you could honestly say, “this happened…and that’s okay” without feeling any negative emotions (or at least significantly less)?
Chandra: After I see how families respond to a new home, when they are in tears, I know that I made the right decision. If I stay focused, all the things [that] I lack will become available because it is a divine plan that I have been assigned to.
I've realized that with purpose comes influence.
SS: What words of wisdom would you pass along to someone else that is experiencing something similar?
Chandra: Trust in your vision and abilities to execute. If your heart beats crazy when you think about it…it’s your purpose and mission to manifest it.
SS: Since having your #ATOEpiphany, how do you live your life differently now?
Chandra: I am more giving, more compassionate and less judgmental. I am ecstatic to help others, especially families who are experiencing homelessness. It’s in their dark moments [that] I am able to bring light, resources and relationships that jump-start them for a better future.
SS: In keeping with the idea that things don’t happen to us, rather for us: Why do you think that this may have happened for you?
Chandra: I was so absorbed in material things—nice cars, nice home, keeping up with a glam look, and just trying to be a part of a lifestyle that wasn’t for me. I now see that I can still be fly, young and giving while being a relatable human.
SS: If you could sum up your ATO Epiphany in one sentence that ends with “and that’s okay”, what would it be?
“Not everyone will understand your vision, or even support you in the ways you need, and that’s okay.”
Photo Credit: Krissy Sheehan