Building long-term relationships is one of Barbie’s top priorities. She loves connecting with people, caring for her family, and fostering relationships. In Barbie’s words, “When you meet people, it’s good to make sure those branches stay strong and connected.” Barbie has found that you never know when you might need to call on someone; building strong relationships is her way of ensuring support for herself as she navigates life.
Barbie has worked with At The Crossroads for over 18 years. Her long-term relationship with ATC has deepened and changed over the years, as she describes it, “ATC has meant to me a lot of things. I can say this program has been very supportive in my life. It showed me healthy and positive relationships and just being very long-term. Normally, when you’re a part of something, it comes to an end, but it seems like it hasn’t ended with ATC. They’ve been with me on the journey from being incarcerated to also having a triumph story today, so I’m totally appreciative.”
“It’s a healing process for me because I feel like when I’m up there talking to people, I’m peeling back these layers from the onion. I’m getting to the core, and I’m healing myself.” -Barbie, ATC client for 18 years
This last year has held a lot of changes for Barbie. When asked what she’s most proud of in her life, Barbie has a long list, because as she says, “I claim my victories. I speak them to existence.” First, she’s proud of her release from jail after seven years and then last year, getting off of parole early (which is very rare). Second, she’s proud to be starting a new job with the city this spring. Most of all, she’s proud that she’s about to be a mother for the first time.
As she looks forward to having a son, she’s most excited about being a role model and “showering him with love and affection.” Barbie says, “My energy, it just radiates positiveness and love, and he feels it. He knows already, so I just can’t wait to be there for him like my mom has been there for me and just to show him that yeah, the world might be a crazy place, but inside our home, you’re going to feel the love, and you’re going to know it.“
For someone who has experienced a lot of challenges, Barbie finds that sharing her story with others is a way to heal. “When I’m up there talking to people, I’m peeling back these layers from the onion. I’m getting to the core, and I’m healing myself.”
Listen as Barbie describes why she shares her experiences with youth as a public speaker.