A love for people and kids has compelled Yolanda Robinson for decades of youth advocacy. Hope, faith, and resilience are driving forces behind how Yolanda journeyed through losing multiple family members to COVID-19 and continues to help young adults and teens in their walks through her story and leadership. We laugh about funny travel stories while working for Rachel’s Challenge, bond over our shared advocacy experiences, and shed a few tears.

We hope you find hope and purpose in Yolanda’s story.
What’s your story?

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Guest Bio:

Yolanda Robinson is head of Public Relations for a public PreK – 12 school district in Georgia. A graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Yolanda was voted Miss TSU while attending the university and it was in this role when she discovered her passion for youth. Being given the opportunity to speak in schools and mentor freshmen at the university set Yolanda on a path for youth work. That path led her to New York City where she became a member of World Changers Church and was soon asked to be a Youth Leader. Yolanda also spoke with a character education organization called Rachel’s Challenge for 4 years, speaking in schools across North America, encouraging and inspiring kindness.

Years later Yolanda moved to Australia to become the Youth Pastor at World Changers Church Gold Coast where she served for two and a half years. She loves seeing the expression on a teen’s face when they come into the understanding of the love of Jesus. It’s priceless!

Yolanda loves spending time with family and friends, traveling and creating.

Raw Podcast Transcription:

Speaker1: Today on the Social Impact podcast, we are talking about youth advocacy and resilience with speaker, educator and public relations expert Yolanda Robinson.

Speaker2: The kids and because it was such a it was a character education program. So it was a little bit more than career readiness. You got to dig a little bit deeper and to see how open those kids were because of the impact the story was having on them. I was like, This is it. This is this is what we should be about, like changing a life.

Speaker1: Welcome to the Social Impact podcast where people like you and I are making sustainable change throughout the world. Learn why they do it and how you can be a change maker in your community and across the globe. Each week we hear from people on their social issue and what compels them to make an impact. Hi everyone. My name is Bree Jensen and I am the host. Today we have Yolanda Robinson, who’s been a friend of mine for years. We did Rachel’s Challenge together, which you’ll hear all about. She is the head of public relations for a public pre-K through 12 school district in Georgia. She’s a graduate of Tennessee State University and Nashville, where Yolanda was voted Miss TSU. And it was in this role when she discovered her passion for youth being given the opportunity to speak in schools and mentor freshmen at the university set Yolanda on a path for youth work. Yolanda spoke for a character education organization called Rachel’s Challenge for four years, which is based on the life of the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting. She spoke across North America encouraging and inspiring kindness.

Speaker1: Years later, Yolanda moved to Australia to become a youth pastor at World Changers Church, Gold Coast. This is going to be such a fun and inspiring and really a moving story as Yolanda shares some tough times, some grief, some loss, and her story of resilience as well as youth advocacy. So let’s get to it. Right, fabulous lady. Well, thank you so much, Yolanda, for joining me on the first season of the Social Impact Podcast. You are in the first round of people that I thought about that were on my all star list to chat with because I just think, yes, I think you’re so fabulous in every way. And I never stop smiling when I chat with you. I just you make me laugh. You make me think, you inspire me. And so we’ll get into all the things I’m sure. But thank you for spending some time and encouraging all of us. Do you want to share a little bit about your journey and how you’ve had an opportunity to make an impact throughout your career and your life?

Speaker2: Wow, that’s a long career and all in one. Let’s see.

Speaker1: Well, all the things. We only have 5 minutes now.

Speaker3: Exactly. So real quick.

Speaker2: You know what? It’s been a crazy journey because I you know, you always plan things out and you expect it to go the way you plan it, which is why you plan it. And then it never goes the way you plan it. So I was supposed to have been the next Oprah, you know, having my talk show, interviewing people, but that’s just not the way it happened. So I ended up in college. So my passion for youth came from when I was in college, I was Miss Tennessee State University. I went to TSU in Nashville and when I became the queen of the campus, which is like, okay, gosh, that’s such a responsibility. I had these freshman girls coming up to me talking about how I had impacted them. I had unknowingly impacted them just by me walking around campus or speaking to them or making them feel like they were a person and that they mattered, and that if they had a question, I stopped to answer the question to direct them somewhere on campus. And you’ll never know the small things like you think that that’s so trivial or you know, you minimize the things you do. So there was a one particular freshman student who, you know, she was from Detroit and so she’s from the inner city, had had a very shaky family history.

Speaker2: You know, her family dynamics were all over the place. And she confided in me about the things she was going through, and I was able to help her walk through that. And I think that’s where the spark came alive. So this would be my senior year in college and I was like, Wow, I really enjoyed I really enjoyed that. Like, it gives you such purpose. So that is where the passion came from for helping youth and wanting to, to be an advocate for youth and everything, youth related. And fast forward, I started, I’ve spoken for several companies, but my first one was Monster. I spoke for Monster. We would go into high schools and colleges talking about basically career readiness, you know, like, are you ready for college or have you prepared for high school, you know, talking to ninth graders. And it just gave me such passion to see those kids lighting up because they really enjoyed that someone cared about them and wanted to make sure that they were going to be okay. And then that company I stopped speaking for that company and then started speaking for a company called Rachel’s Challenge.

Speaker3: Which is where I met Bree.

Speaker2: And so that just kind of forged not only the relational. Sit with the other presenters because they’re phenomenal people. Oh, my gosh. Talk about an organization that has some caliber people. But yes, the kids and because it was such a it was a character education program. So it was a little bit more than career readiness. You got to dig a little bit deeper and to see how open those kids were because of the impact the story was having on them. I was like, This is it. This is this is what we should be about. Like changing a.

Speaker3: Life.

Speaker2: Changing a life. So there you.

Speaker3: Go.

Speaker1: You know, Yolanda, first of all, I just think it’s so fun to talk with you in so many ways, like I mentioned. But I really think that for whatever reason, our journeys have kind of aligned. Like we have so many similarities. And I remember meeting you when we both started Rachel’s Challenge at the same time the first day, and I just felt that heart connection to you right away.

Speaker3: I don’t know if you felt the same, but I was completely.

Speaker1: Feeling like you were a lifelong friend. Even if we don’t get to chat that often, I still feel so connected with you. And so I think something that we can relate on is just a journey of resilience. For one thing, I know our personal lives have some similarities and maybe we can chat about that a little bit. But just being a youth advocate in general, you said you wanted to be Oprah, which, by the way, I can totally see it. You are Oprah for a lot of people.

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah, of course. But also, I think having that in mind and then your journey took so many twists and turns and being a youth advocate and being a young people’s lives and doing the work of even Rachel’s challenge specifically, you know, you have to have grit, you have to have resilience. You hear a lot of stories that tug on your heart. And it’s not the easiest career path in life, but yet you continue to move forward. You continue to seize the moment or take the opportunities instead of going maybe in a more comfortable direction. You stayed on the road and you continue to speak into young people’s lives. What made you continue to be resilient as a youth advocate? What pushed you forward?

Speaker2: Just seeing the change. I mean, when you see the click in teenagers, like when they get it, there’s nothing else. There’s it’s like you’re hooked, right? Like delays, potato chip.

Speaker3: You can’t eat just one like once. Get that it’s you.

Speaker2: You not that you chase that, but you get what it’s about. And you don’t want to stop doing that when you know you have the power to possibly shift someone’s trajectory, like the trajectory of their life and that they don’t see it, but you can see the potential in them. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. 1,000%. Yes. It seemed that the switch the lightbulb.

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. And maybe we can share a little bit about what Rachel’s challenge is. I think as a youth advocate, it was such an incredible opportunity to work for the leading anti-bullying pro kindness, as they call it, organization in the country, in the United States. And really, it’s a global organization based on the life of the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting. And we would share stories of how Rachel, before she was killed, really made such an impression and impact. Do you want to share about maybe what the organization means to you? And I know we have the opportunity to be close with the family, which still is just such an honor to me.

Speaker2: You know what I think? You know, almost speechless because the impact that Rachel’s challenge had on my life, not just. As a speaker. But the family that we became is there are no words like you just said. The fact that the Scott family just opened us, you know, open their arms up and invited us all in to share such an intimate and such a close to the heart story. And they trusted us with that story to share it with thousands of people, you know, across the country, across the globe. It’s it’s impressionable. I have never forgotten that. And I came into Rachel’s challenge in a time where things were a little bit uncertain in my life, just because there were some a couple of huge dynamics that had just occurred in my life. And it was almost like a reawakening is all I can explain it as, not only because I found these amazing people like yourself, these other speakers that I was presenting with alongside who were just passionate about what they were doing in life. And, you know, we bought, like you just said about you and I, you vibe off of each other. And it was just it was amazing. And so not only the amazing people that were around, but what it taught me as a presenter, because you have to have some mad confidence, man, to be up there talking in front of teenagers and presenting such emotional content. And it build me in ways that I that are paying off for me even today.

Speaker3: Yes.

Speaker1: I mean, but it’s really the whole theme of it is the power of story. So when you first arrive at training.

Speaker3: It feels a.

Speaker1: Little bit like camp. You know, we’re all definitely over 30, some over 60, you know, kind of between that range. And we’re back at camp and right away they put us through the trainings that we’re going to be doing for other students. And you really have to just like, Hi, I’m Bree and this is my whole life story.

Speaker3: You know, like I remember thinking back like, wow.

Speaker1: I mean, you, you really bond.

Speaker3: Because you.

Speaker1: Basically just puts you in that mindset the way that the curriculum is. It puts you in that mindset where you’re just like, Yep, I’m just going to go there and I’m going to have this group therapy.

Speaker3: Session with.

Speaker1: All these people and do the work and come out on the other side, you know? And that’s what we got to do for thousands. And Yolanda, there are so many great Rachel Scott quotes. What would you say was your favorite? Which one really did you love sharing with the students?

Speaker2: You know what? She had so many. And this one particular quote doesn’t exactly come from Rachel, but it is a quote that she loved and that we referenced in our storytelling because she loved it so much. And the quote came from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And because I can’t say it word for word, I’ll paraphrase it. But it basically was without darkness, like darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Right? And I thought that was so powerful because it just reminds us a reminder to our kids and the students we’re speaking to, if you would just be the light. Darkness can’t even exist around you.

Speaker1: Right.

Speaker2: So powerful.

Speaker1: Very, very, very powerful. Especially in times like these where people are divided. There seems to be a lot of darkness. There’s people out there that are shining a whole lot of light and people that have a legacy of light as well, that maybe aren’t here experiencing the human experience any longer. But they have a light that’s lasted. Do you have one story? It doesn’t necessarily have to be from Rachel’s Challenge Times, but from your youth advocacy career, do you maybe have a story of a student that either impacted you or you got to see a transformation in their lives?

Speaker2: You know what? So a part of my journey was moving to Australia on the other side of the globe to be a youth pastor. So when I was leaving Australia, coming back to the States, she said to me, I wanted to know what all the teens thought. You know.

Speaker3: With me being their youth pastor, you’re kind of like, that’s a risky question. I know. Very brave.

Speaker2: An evaluation of sorts. Oh, Lord.

Speaker1: And they.

Speaker3: Loved, you.

Speaker2: Know, her. Her specific response was, you helped me get closer to my parents.

Speaker1: Oh, my.

Speaker2: Goodness. And yet again, that is why.

Speaker3: Keep doing it. Your first question that you ask me.

Speaker2: Because when you see the change and when you get.

Speaker3: Responses like that, how can you not keep going? Yes.

Speaker2: I’ve helped you get closer to your parents. Well, not me, but obviously. Yes, God through me.

Speaker3: But that is. Oh, God.

Speaker2: I was so excited. So that is one of one of my most memorable stories, because that’s why we do what we do.

Speaker1: Yes. You know, it’s so important. I’m just now learning after, you know, 15, 17 years in youth work to celebrate the wins because it’s what sustains you through the hard times because it’s and you know, I think like when you’re doing I had a conversation earlier with someone and they said, when you’re doing what you’re gifted at and passionate about, you can’t not do it right. So it keeps you going. And then when you celebrate those wins, it gets you to the next win because there will be wins. Keep going, friends. Right.

Speaker3: Keep going.

Speaker1: So I’m curious, too, I think during our Rachel’s Challenge days and, you know, just doing the work.

Speaker3: We do, we have a.

Speaker1: Lot of funny stories as well. And I’m sure everyone listening might want to hear at least one funny story from the road to come to mind for me. I’ll share it really quickly. Okay. I have one from when I was presenting at a high school in California and there I was in a gym, so it was a large school. There was at least 1000 students.

Speaker3: Of high class.

Speaker1: And at the beginning of our presentation, we played a video and it was very moving. You know, it was a it was setting the stage and they didn’t have a projector screen. So I was projecting onto a sheet in a gym. And right in my most intense part, you know, the.

Speaker3: Pregnant.

Speaker1: Pause.

Speaker3: Part, the sheet comes slide down and you can’t see the video at all.

Speaker1: On the on the wall that was still there. So I waited thinking somebody would.

Speaker3: Put up the sheet.

Speaker1: Again or figure something out quickly and nothing.

Speaker3: So I decided, okay, I’m going to keep going.

Speaker1: So I’m talking very slowly and all of a sudden, not in the time that I thought that they would do it, but in another part down the road of my presentation, probably like 3 to 4 minutes later, they brought a ladder.

Speaker3: It plopped the ladder down. You know.

Speaker1: Ladders are not quiet. Climb that ladder.

Speaker3: And then they’re like taping it up.

Speaker2: Oh, my gosh.

Speaker1: Yes, I.

Speaker2: You know what? I had to with another male trainer, he and I had to fly to Guadalajara to train some presenters in Mexico. And I think the funniest thing that happened, because, you know, me, I try to, you know, I know.

Speaker3: A little bit of Spanish and so I try to do more than I know what to do. And I think I can do okay.

Speaker2: You know, the presenters are coming up trying to of course, they could speak English, but I was challenging myself. I was like, I only speak Spanish to me.

Speaker3: Wow. Okay, they’re going. Going. I was trying to push my.

Speaker2: I would not give the same instruction today. Okay? I was trying to push myself. And I thought I had something like I was, you know, I’m I’m thinking I’m communicating what I want to say. And then they just look at me and they’re like. Do you know what you just said? Did you just say that you want to be the fish?

Speaker3: No. No. If a fish. That’s not what I meant.

Speaker2: They were just, oh, my gosh, they died laughing. And what made it so funny is because I was so confident.

Speaker3: I’m telling you. Yes, it.

Speaker2: Sells anything I’ve.

Speaker3: Except for bathing a fish. That’s where the line is.

Speaker2: That’s where the line is. Because they could not they could not conceptualize. Why is this girl trying to bathe the fish? She don’t know what she’s talking about.

Speaker1: I can only I can only imagine. This is my key advice today. Friends bathe a fish.

Speaker3: Yes.

Speaker1: So the takeaway for today is, you know, as you’re wrapping up a presentation, that’s fantastic. So funny. So, I mean, so many experiences like that, it’s so fun to remember. And yet we just kept five years. I did that and I would have done it longer, you know, if I felt like I was meant to because it was such an incredible experience. But that being said, you know, we’re talking about resilience through being an advocate or a change maker of any time. So one of the things that we also share is that we both lost people that are closest to us. I lost my mom unexpectedly back in 2007 and my dad, he passed going on actually will be two years this month. So it’s a journey when you go through loss or tragedy or trauma. I mean, maybe that’s something that that we can talk about because we worked with so many kids that experienced trauma. And in my opinion, trauma can be something that derails you. Or if it’s handled correctly and you go through the very challenging healing process, it becomes a part of your story that empowers who you are and who you become and helps you kind of help others, in my opinion. But I feel like I’m still working through some of my stuff. Do you want to share a little bit about your journey and maybe how you’ve found hope or empathy for others or kind of just share your experience with us?

Speaker2: Yeah, it’s gosh, I tell you, loss is definitely a sobering thing. And especially in the midst of a pandemic, my mother, my hometown, was one of the biggest hit towns. Who would have thought one of the biggest hit mountains hit towns at the beginning of the pandemic, a little southern town in Georgia. And we were a hotspot. And unfortunately, that season claimed the lives of probably six of my relatives in the span of maybe a month time.

Speaker1: Wow.

Speaker2: Yeah. And my mother was the first of the six. Wow. No, I lie. We had a family member passed a week before her and she was second. So it was a huge loss because I was still over in Australia at this point doing my mission work and helping the youth and and because the world literally shut down, I couldn’t get back home. So I had to, you know, over a computer screen, watch my mother be laid to rest, which was in and of itself just surreal. And I must say, I was a little angry and, you know, all these thoughts that could have come up. And, you know, I had some choice words for God and how could you let this happen and all of that. But the resilience in it is that I wanted to be there, you know, I want it to be there. I want it to be able to help with the arrangements and, you know, give her my last whatever, you know, and just just see her laid to rest. And God had to remind me, you you are with her. She’s with you. Everything that you are is her. And I was like, Yeah, that’s so true. Everything that I am is because of the seeds that she’s sown in my life, the things she’s taught me. And I’m more and more I’ve came to see what I my mannerisms and the things that I, I hold as my strong characteristics and skill sets came from my mom.

Speaker2: And I think that was a part of my healing process. It, it, it helped to be away from it, actually. I learned that that was God kind of protecting me because I probably would have had a different mindset had I been here stateside. And being away just helped me see it in a different light and. And I’m okay. I’m okay. It took time to heal. It took time to walk through it. But I did it at my pace. Nobody was forcing me. Nobody was saying, whoa, you know, giving their opinions and suggestions. Of course, some people were. But I did it at my own pace, which is what healing is all about, right? Doing it at your own pace and not letting anyone rush you into because that looks different for everybody. Yes, healing looks different for every single person. And so I am on the other side of it and it’s okay for me to cry every now and then. And I’m a better person because I’m a better person because having gone through that loss and that trauma, as you said, and losing her suddenly, literally, I had just spoken to my mother and then my father was like, hell, we’ve taken her to the hospital. She’s got a little cough.

Speaker3: And that was it. I was like, okay, she’s good.

Speaker2: And a week later, she was out of here. So it’s yeah, it’s one of those things. But you know what? If you have if you have things to lean on and depend on, for me it’s God, you know, because I know he’s got my back. He’s never left me or forsaken me. He’s always led and directed me even when I didn’t like it, even when.

Speaker3: I had to go kicking and screaming.

Speaker2: He still led me in the direction I needed to go. And when I finally landed there, I was so grateful and I could see the snapshot of what he was trying to show me all along, which is what this was about. I got back to the States and I was like, okay, and immediately landed a job. Like a month later, a job opened up and and landed a job. Like, the job didn’t exist before I got here, but I got here. And a month later, they opened the job. Wow. And and God gave me the position. So he was like, rest, just rest, my child. I’ve got you. I’ve got you. And that’s that’s my story that I share to anybody. Just know that he’s got you. You know that everything’s going to be okay. Lost is hard. It’s hard for everybody. But you can make it. You can make it. And you just got to think about the good moments and the good times you have with that person.

Speaker1: Yes, yes, yes. And again, I’m so sorry that you went through all of that.

Speaker3: Thank you.

Speaker1: And thank you for sharing with all of us. I think that there is so much power, just like we did in Rachel’s Challenge, with so much power in your story. And people can identify with pieces of it. And I completely agree. You can’t tell someone how to feel, how to grieve, how to heal, how to get through it. It’s such an individual thing. I think the one thing that I can say that is universal is that it takes a lot of time and to give whatever that timeline is, to give yourself time, give the people in your life that are going through grief or change time, help them in ways that they need to be helped and and try not to put expectations on people that are grieving that they can’t maintain because they’re in a space of healing and and grieving and and really need that from all of us to support them and give them that space and time and check in on them a year later, two years later, five years later, you know, just saying, hey, I know that you’re probably still feeling this and that’s natural and that’s okay, but I’m here for you, and I think that’s just such a huge thing to do for people that are going through a challenge in their lives is give them space. And if you are going through something I agree with you, Yolanda, that it is possible to heal. It feels like magic, like how can I get to a happy place again? And I know I shared with you offline that I’m happier now, that I’ve been probably in ten years and it.

Speaker3: Took.

Speaker1: A lot.

Speaker3: Of work.

Speaker1: And intention and trying different things. I think I probably tried at least five different therapists, like some just didn’t. I didn’t connect with some gave me weird advice.

Speaker3: It’s like seriously weird advice, you know?

Speaker1: And but I decided I’m not going to give up. I’m just going to find the right fit. I had issues with getting my insurance to cover therapy, like all the things that really become barriers to mental health and and to healing. And I just was so determined, really, for my children that I was going to be healthy again and I was going to be happy again because they deserved a mom that was present and good. And so, yes, I mean, so I just say that to anyone that’s listening, maybe you’re feeling like, wow. That sounds amazing that I can get to that place, but I don’t even know what steps to take. Just, I would say, just keep trying. Maybe you don’t feel like you have a support system. Maybe. Maybe you don’t have a therapist or you don’t have insurance to find a therapist or all these things. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep going to places where you can build community, whether that’s a church or community center, a sport. Right. Like maybe play softball in the evenings. Who knows? Who knows what it is? But I just want to encourage you that it’s completely possible. And we want that for you. We want health for you. And I would also.

Speaker2: Say, be kind to.

Speaker1: Yourself. Oh, good. Be kind to yourself.

Speaker2: Be kind to yourself.

Speaker1: Yes, absolutely. Give yourself grace. Celebrate those moments. Yes. So going back to the advocacy side, a lot of people, when they go through challenges in life, it’s a tough decision to continue to work in the giving space. So whether you’re a pastor, a youth advocate, an activist, you know, that takes a lot out of you. How do you decide or continue to do the work while you’re going through a personal challenge? Is that I mean, I think everyone is so different. And I know like when my mom passed, I did have to I tried really hard to continue to do youth work and I ended up taking about six months off and doing a career. You know, I babysat and that was it.

Speaker3: I’m not saying that’s easy.

Speaker1: Yeah, but but it was. It was for me, it was a little bit of a diversion. And then I was able to come back to doing youth work when I did when I lost my dad recently. It was a really interesting time in my career because I had just started at Pepperdine University the same week and I felt really compelled for my family to keep that job and keep working. And it was really challenging, but that was what I needed to do at that time. So two different situations, same person. What would you say about that?

Speaker2: You know, I felt like I needed to. Come away like it’s and I use the phrase because it’s a phrase that I literally was standing on in Scripture just a few weeks ago. It’s just important to just come away. And like yourself, I did therapy as well because it’s important to I mean, yeah, you want to get your spiritual side together, but your emotional self is also important and you need to make sure that you are taking inventory of it as well. But I had to when I say come away, I mean isolate myself. Not an unhealthy isolation, but an isolation to be able to process what has happened. And if you’re still trying to and and to your point, you need to stop working if you need to like I know that I took a break as well and responsibilities kind of were taken from me so that I could take that break because and some people are the opposite. Some people have to have loads of work to keep their mind off of it. Yes, but that wasn’t my route. I needed to have things taken off my plate.

Speaker2: I needed to have some self reflection for me. I needed to be able to not be so angry with the whole situation and I needed to have time to breathe and to find my peace in my center again. Because if you for me, if I moved too quickly, then I would be off balance, you know. And so I had to pace it out. I had to pace that process out. Okay, let me let me breathe. Let me consider this. Let me self evaluate this. Let me make sure I’m okay with this. Okay, self check. Yo, self check. Yo. Are you feeling okay today? Yeah, it definitely took time. Like you said, I had to isolate myself and I needed to get to a place where I was back to 100% that I could be through therapy, through prayer, through reading my word, where I could be. Okay. I was at peace with everything that happened, and I could see the full circle of it like, okay, okay, I got it. Yes, I got it all as well.

Speaker1: So I agree. Like having that quiet time to refuel. I think the important thing is like you and I have is we have community that makes sure that we don’t stay isolated or stay alone too long. So it takes intentionality to have those people in your life. I get it. And some people don’t. And and I just encourage anyone to to get those people around you. And as a social worker, youth advocate, mental health worker, teacher, and the list goes on and on and on. How do you prevent or at least heal from second hand trauma when you’re working in these kind of capacities?

Speaker2: I really feel like. I think. I think everyone has to have, like, a reigniting of purpose. Hmm. Do you know what I’m saying? I think trauma oftentimes. Snatches our purpose, and it almost. It gives us this loss effect. Like you feel lost. You feel hopeless. You feel like. Like you are the blame for something. Or you want to blame someone else for something. And I feel like recentering that and knowing that your life has a purpose and even that trauma has a purpose, like if we repurpose that into or reset our mindset into being about what that trauma taught us, it would help it would help us move further along, and it will help us heal because we are now walking in that purpose. We are now teaching what we learned from that trauma. Trauma is huge and it can be debilitating for some people if we sit in it too long. How you move forward is really how you get past it. Like, what did this trauma teach me? How do I, how do I want to be better as a result? How how do I want to learn from it so that I can teach someone else who may be going through the same trauma? But if I’m so stuck in my trauma, I’ve missed the person that I’m supposed to be able to help pull out of theirs because I still want to wallow in mine, you know.

Speaker2: And so that’s I think that would be the biggest thing for me. I think purpose and hope are huge for helping anyone pass the torch of trauma. Right? Like, I feel this thing hurt me really badly. Gosh, I. I was stuck here for a little while because it’s okay to be stuck there for a little while, but you can’t make you can’t you can’t build a house there. You know, you can’t that’s not solid foundation because trauma shaky. So you want to get off of that land as soon as you can, but take with you what you’re supposed to learn from that land. Yeah, learn how to build on that land so that you can take that back to your solid foundation and then teach someone else, Hey, gosh, this is what I learned in that shaky time of my life. But let me show you how I got strong. Let me show you on the solid foundation I’m standing on right now.

Speaker1: Absolutely.

Speaker2: And then there’s purpose.

Speaker1: I love that so much. That’s like I mentioned, that’s been my commitment to myself and my family is to live in the present and asking for grace to live that way and gratitude for where I’ve come from, who I am today, the strength to move forward. And it really just changes your life. It changes your perspective. It gives you so much joy. For those that are listening, that want to go into advocacy of any kind or want to work with.

Speaker3: You.

Speaker1: That’s such a it’s not really something that makes the elementary list of what do you want to be when you grow.

Speaker3: Up, you know, like a.

Speaker1: Firefighter, doctor, police officer, which, by the way, are all great careers you just rarely see like advocate on there. So there’s not really a path that’s like, okay, go do this or do that. I know you and I have both kind of like knocked on doors and some haven’t opened and some have. And so the ones that have that we feel compelled to walk through, we’ve gone that direction. And it’s been a wild, magnificent journey. And a lot of people that have gone through stuff in their lives do become advocates to they do turn their stories into power and and a resource to help others.

Speaker3: So how do people.

Speaker1: Maybe there’s people right now that are in high school, college, post-college, that are looking to pivot their careers. How do they find these opportunities to make a little bit of money.

Speaker3: Doing youth work?

Speaker2: Well, it depends on what type. It depends on what sector of youth work you want to go into because there’s so much right. There is obviously the faith based work and then there is the non-profit work and then there’s, you know, being in a school system work. I mean, there’s just there is so much opportunity. But I would say this, it needs to be a calling like, you know, like you need to feel that passion to do it because it is not an easy work, I would say. First, make sure that it is absolutely what you want to do and that you have a passion for it because you need that passion to be able to jump over the hurdles that will come your way and then see what doors bridges set it best, see what doors open up for you to walk through when you find yourselves in like in your community, for instance. I mean, I don’t know, wherever you land, if it’s your passion, it’ll find you. It’ll chase like you can just be in college and some some organization can come onto your campus and be like, We’re looking for volunteers, and that’s your opportunity to get your foot in the door or you’re at church.

Speaker2: And it’s like, Hey, the youth ministry needs people to go and travel with us for the camp. Hey, there you go. Or you can be in in just doing your everyday life. And people are always looking for people to help mentor youth and help volunteer and organizations around your community that help impact you. There are so many opportunities, right? There are so many opportunities to do this. And some of them are paid and some of them are not. But I would say before you go and try to get paid for something, make sure that it’s something you want to do. Volunteer first, like spend. Just give up some of your time first so that you can see if it’s something you want to do. Because if you so easily stop doing it, when you’re not getting paid for it, getting paid for it is not going to change the fact that you were tired of it.

Speaker1: Mm hmm. Absolutely. I completely agree to start volunteering and see what you even love to do. I mean, you should feel. I know we talked a lot about.

Speaker3: Like, oh, this is hard and.

Speaker1: You need resilience. I mean, that’s just kind of the fact of it. But there’s also so many joyful moments, like giving is not just about the person you’re giving to, it’s also about yourself and feeling joy and giving, whether that’s of your time, resources, all of those things. So yeah, volunteer. I would also say, like you mentioned, get in the communities of people that are doing what you want to do, find mentors. Linkedin is a great resource. There are a lot of people and a lot of organizations doing some incredible things a lot. So find the people that you want to emulate and reach out to them and ask if you can have a zoom coffee with them and see what value you can add their way. Maybe, you know, social media or something that you can help out with the organization.

Speaker2: So it isn’t.

Speaker1: So great.

Speaker2: A zoom.

Speaker3: Call, gosh, zoom coffee. Coffee. I mean.

Speaker1: I pretty much have zoom coffee every day of my life. Like every minute of my life. I always have a coffee handy. So Yolanda, we’re going to end. But before we do, I have some rapid just three rapid fire questions that I’m asking everyone that is on the first season. So the first one, if you’re ready for this, is what is your purpose or motivation for change? If you could narrow it down to one thing.

Speaker2: My motivation for change, my purpose for seeing people change is again that light bulb experience. I don’t know if that’s exactly what you’re looking for, but that is the motivation. Like to see someone and it doesn’t have to be a youth. Of course I love the kids, but just another adult to to be talking to you and I see something switch in you because something I’ve said has planted a seed in your life. That is definitely the purpose and the motivation of it.

Speaker1: The second one is what is your well being tips so you can stay filled up and ready to serve.

Speaker2: Well being tip of the year.

Speaker1: Okay. What is.

Speaker3: It? Boundaries. Set boundaries.

Speaker2: So important. So important with every with everything you’re doing, whether it’s work, whether it’s your personal life, set boundaries because you need the time, always set time aside for you to recharge so that you can be that 100% person that can make that change.

Speaker1: Very good. And how can those of us that are listening make an impact?

Speaker3: Be you, be you.

Speaker2: Just be you. I promise that kids, especially if you’re going into the area of youth advocate advocacy. Oh, they can. Nip out fake.

Speaker1: It’s like, Oh.

Speaker2: You trying too hard? Oh, they’re trying to.

Speaker3: Like, just make it out, okay? If you just be naturally you. It is your heart.

Speaker2: In your passion and. And them seeing how much you care about them that’s going to bring them to you. That’s how you’re going to make a change. Because they see you genuinely care. Not that you’re trying to check off some checkbox or you’re trying to get a door open or to get a foot in to some company.

Speaker3: No, they’re going to sniff you out. Okay.

Speaker2: So that’s it. That would be that would be a just be you. If if it is truly your calling and your passion and your purpose for it.

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker2: It’ll just.

Speaker1: Happen. You just have.

Speaker2: That every, every door that you need to open will open for you because people will see this is what they’re passionate about doing.

Speaker3: Mm hmm.

Speaker1: So good. Yolanda, so fun to talk with you, as always, to laugh. I mean, you’re probably one of the few people that we can go in and out of, laughing hysterically, sharing stories, talking about the deepest moments of our lives, and go right back into sharing stories again and laughing. So I’m just really thankful for you.

Speaker2: And your time with the Good Grief. Right? You should be able a good girlfriend should be able to have all those levels.

Speaker1: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’ve always got your back and thank you for your time, Yolanda. I love chatting with you.

Speaker3: And I was just saying, on behalf of all of us, like what I even say, what am I saying right now? I don’t know how to close this out. Just thank behalf of me and my Zoom posse on behalf of me.

Speaker1: And those in my office.

Speaker3: And the empty office that we listeners are going to want. Oh, man. I just love you, girl. Thank you so.

Speaker1: Much. And that’s a wrap. How about that? That’s a wrap.

Speaker3: Holla. You guys.

Speaker2: Nice to meet everybody.

Speaker1: Oh. I hope you’ve been enjoying the Social Impact podcast. This was episode number six. Please drop us a review and it would mean a lot if you could share it out to people that you know are making impact in this world. You can find me to share your impact story, or if you need some help in your business or your project, please find us at the Social Impact Echo. You can also follow along at BRI Underscore. Jensen Underscore. We are going to have Sheila on Doreen, who is the CEO and co-founder of Indie Flicks and Indie Flicks Foundation. You guys, she’s an award winning producer, director and author as well as a costume designer. She has so much to say about.

Speaker3: Using.

Speaker1: Media for good and creating storytelling to make an impact on this world. She has a brand new film coming out. It’s called Race to Be Human, and her films go out into schools and start such important conversation. Thanks again for joining and I’ll see you next week.


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