Facing Tough Challenges

My Personal Story

During my lifetime, I have faced a series of challenging situations. At two years of age, I drowned in a small lake in Northern California and was revived. I was twice told by doctors that I was dying: when I was a teenager and as an adult twenty years later. I was severely poisoned in 1991 when a railroad car spilled toxic chemicals into the Sacramento River in Dunsmuir, California. For years, I did not know when, or even if, I would recover.

These tough challenges became a part of my life’s work, as I developed powerful tools for a person (1)  facing tough challenges; (2) dealing with difficult life events and/or (3) the experiences that, in some way, “do violence to their spirit.”

I’ve worked the past three years  with maximum-offenders at the Sonoma County Jail – providing inmates with powerful tools for re-fashioning their lives.  As of December 2015, these tools have helped more than 157 inmates explore the deepest levels of their personal mythology,ie, their understanding of who they are and how they fit into the world.

One morning, I awoke from a dream with a vision of a nonprofit, MOTHER Fiscal Sponsor for Community Projects: to encourage a person who is  facing a “tough challenges” to re-recover their passion and experience a deep sense of fulfillment by utilizing what they have experienced as a resource for designing and creating a project to help others in the community. MOTHER Fiscal Sponsor was founded in 2014 and became a nonprofit organization in 2015 to enable new projects to qualify to receive tax-deductible contributions from the local community.

When I was a high school , I remember watching 8-year old Lisa, whose whole head and body was wired together by braces (she could only wiggle one finger on her right hand.) I saw “the gleam in Lisa’s eyes” as she caught a fish all by herself at a pond in San Francisco.

Since that “Lisa” moment, I have devoted my life energy into developing  tools for people who are facing tough challenges in their lives.

I’ve worked with people who were dying from major causes, canvassed low-income residents with the War on Poverty, worked in low-income housing development,  with the justice department in testing and improving legal rights for persons facing personal challenges, with nonprofits and city governments to improve programs with urban renewal and housing authorizes, and the past three years have been working with maximum offense inmates at the Sonoma County jail in Santa Rosa, California. I have raised six children with Native American, Chinese, Afro American, Brazilian and European backgrounds. I am a graduate of Occidental College. I have earned  two master’s degrees: one in community development, and another  in spiritual development from the University of Northern Colorado and Yale University.

For the past several years, I have enjoyed working with maximum offence inmates at the Sonoma County jail.  By the end of 2015, I had worked in-depth with more than one hundred and fifty inmates.  I continue to be inspired by their desire to use their personal codes to help other people. And so very recently, we developed the MOTHER nonprofit to encourage people who are facing tough challenges to utilize their own experience to develop their own project to help others in their local community.