Community Matters - Combat Veterans - Mother 2 Mother

Monica Pierre and her guests discuss several topics including: a designed neighborhood that helps returning combat veterans heal, thrive and create communities; a local educator discusses her personal journey dealing with family drug abuse.

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Good someday welcome to this thank you so much for joining us today from your host Monica see it coming on that in as a strong. And we're holding the space is returning careers and their families. Do you. We will learn more about it intentionally designed to neighborhood in gin chilly. It helps recruiting combat warriors he alive and create community. Well. After remembered their early going to see the current houses with him of leg room. Through her violent shaking from two more on how one local educator is used. Her personal story of loss pain and triumph to help communities impacted by gun violence it's. It's. I. Returning combat veterans and their families bully me a lot of supporting nod to transition back to civilian life. Bastion community of resilience is an intentionally designed to neighborhood located in the agents Philly area. Where giant buys villains that he's the executive director and founder of fashion community of resilience. You talk about what they do why there's so intentional about how they do it. Dylan thank you for joining us thank you Monica I love the way intentional that's when my favorite words in the whole Iowa also getting into the community itself where it's located. Life is such first of all what is bastion about. Yeah Baston is a stronghold. And world in the space with returning warriors and their families. To heal and that's really what it's all about we wanted to heal and then we wanted to take our gift. Born from trauma and loss and share that with the rest of new rules with the rest of the world. Why are you so passionate about what it's his story. Yeah well. The quick 411 I'm from Lake Charles. Procedure exploit him credit card has hit her. Received my commission from West Point Princeton security went to a rock in 20032004. Came home and and and relocated to New Orleans three months before Katrina. And that. Changed everything. You know I've. I've been involved with the rebuilding of the city. As the warriors. On terror. You know continued. I have a lot of friends returning home. In bad shape. And just wanted to do something something more than what was already being done. And this is this was the premise for bastions. Working on an opinion wasn't being dealt with the missing piece to help returning that yeah good question so. Traumatic brain injury is the signature wounds from the war on terror. It's today it's an injury. That has nuclear. In the worst cases. Individuals need assistance in the activities of daily living. And if you look around the marketplace. There are only a few places. That. Kind of cater to that its skilled nursing. And assisted living which are predominately geriatric well imagine putting a twenty something year old warrior an environment like that. If they're lucky they have a family they can go home to. Side as it is often the case. The families burn down. Because there's just there's not enough community based support so. I traveled went to Walter Reed went to the senator for the intrepid in San Antonio talk to doctors talk to families. And and and I stumbled on this organization. Called generations of which basically gave me the blueprint. To build. An intentional community. So you are doing this on your own. The scrutiny for the missing piece because sometimes lit led to do things we don't. Mean most of you don't even have a clue as to how it's going to end up the way it's going to leads so yeah it just compel her to go and get this in. Animation. I mean are we ever really. Help not. We're live like absolutely now if felt like they're calling it certainly aided you know when you. When you come from a military background. I mean. The third stanza moderator agreed begins never. Jealous of my comrades. And so. This was just really continuation I mean I took the uniform. Off it. You know us sworn oath and I've promised. To agreement please. Let's talk a little bit they joined by Dylan cat and he's the executive director and founder of fashion community of resilience. Talking about what they're doing to help returning. Combat veterans and their families and building an intentional community. To give them hope. And to give them a strong sense of community so you gathered this information and it's on the makes sense the to what happens next. Yeah well it took me. Five years to convince enough people. This crazy idea could work. And you know we went to the VA. We went to the Louisiana housing corporation. Wounded warrior project jumped and and my best friend David Miller who's the principal at Renaissance property group. Decided. That he would partner with it's and and as our housing developer and get this thing off the ground. Took a lot of philanthropy. From a lot of folks in town. And committed. Landowner. Who signed six extension agreements over four years. Mean this was this was not just a Dylan's I think it took a lot of a lot of people to jump at the right time. It was a visual what it looks like that they do on their boom. Yeah 1901 Mir do avenue where between the London avenue canal and Saint Anthony were actually ground zero. For the London avenue canal breach just across from Wilton is where that retention law failed. And so this area its execs feel water when we found the property it's five and half acres it was it had already been raised it was vacant. And and wow I mean it's. Ringed by these gorgeous live oak trees one mile from the buy you in city park. You know Dillard is in our backyard. And it's jest. It's a wonderful place so we're up to 58. Apartment homes now. Our next when he. Are coming online in just the next couple of weeks. But we have 12 and three bedrooms we built as many three bedrooms as one bedrooms because we want it small families. We want to families with small children. And as of right now in phase one we have 29 children who live within us. Would cut the services do you all for the veterans I'll give back to the community I that is so I'm dancing well so. That the first thing we offer is community I mean the whole model is community. Is the intervention. And there's something. About. Living in a place. With other people. From similar backgrounds. Experiences. Who've been through it. I mean it's it's the social component. It's the other half of the equation that the VA can't write a prescription for. And you can. You can give a warrior of the best medical care but with Al that ongoing social support. You know what what what we're learning is that the effects. Cognitive behavioral therapy or. Or other. You know evidence based treatments. That they tended diminish. Overtime. And so you need that. Ongoing. Daily especially for warriors who have significant injuries you you need that social scaffolding to hold them. Viable. What are the warriors telling you felt the difference mast to me yeah great question this is my favorite part. I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that lives are being changed here and we've only just. Then an operation for a little over a year. Was it. Our residents are telling us is there experiencing. Belonging a sense of belonging. They're discovering a new identity. And their finding new purpose. Well Monica with the belonging identity and purpose just those three ingredients. You can really change the world for her with with just that. Now we're we're measuring other outcomes. Logic to lead. We'll have some hard data to crunch in about a year. And and then really demonstrate our impact and we will face to be on the open the residents yeah. We're being told July 2 than the first eight units will will be turned over. And and the rest of them in the next couple weeks after. And how long can they they stay of these apartments that type of wrath. Yeah I get that question alive so. We built bastion with severe traumatic brain injury and mind and so we built it as permanent housing. We're. What without having an inpatient hospital for the last decade there are a lot of severe. The TV guys in the in the local area now that's changing. Them in fact the VA was just designated our local VA year was just designated a level to poly trauma network side so that's incredible. But what we discovered. Was that there are a lot of warriors. With with with with challenges related to mental and behavioral health. That needed. More or less a transitional. Supportive housing. And so. We are encountering all the challenges related to posttraumatic stress. Mild or moderate TV guy. Depression anxiety disorders suicidal radiation and military sexual trauma. So. We we have warriors who have lived with us for one year now. And a couple of them. Have gotten to the point where they said okay I'm I'm good enough I'm ready to branch out and make room for the next guy or gal. Now and that is amazing it is amazing. We giant by Dylan page at that he's the executive director and founder of bashing community of resilience. Talking about what they're doing a bastion to help the returning combat veterans. How can the community because anyone who sits on an endeavor that envisioned this alliance. And can be number one can do by themselves number two will be called to do something that gets them out of their comfort zone to go and raise the money get the full activists on board. So how can others help. Yeah well. We have lots of volunteer opportunities. And and that's only increasing as time goes by every spurring. We run with a Crescent City classics and anyone can join our team then. We're very excited. To. This is our third year joining forces with saint Charles avenue magazine. Renaissance publishing. And the out of into your room to do our third annual wine dine in design and this is a really neat luncheon. With. With fantastic tables escapes and designers to who would design those. But it's it's a great way to get to John Finn and James Michael obelisk is donating a a piece of art detaining this year for auction and we're very excited about that he is an incredible man. And we're just very lucky. To have them on our team this year. And that's going to be in the fall. October 3 after the third minute mark you calendars everyone's. So what is the future. It would do you want to see happen. Well the future I think looks like this. We are developed being a little over an acre on the property. Two. I think what will be calm to develop what will become possibly a brain. Health senator. It may contain some outpatient. You know physical therapy Pete DOT speech kind of stuff. We may expand our wellness base we have a wellness center where we do yoga three times a week in mind body skills groups. But we wanna open this to the greater community. Because we know there are a lot of families in New Orleans who experienced trauma. Whether it's related to the storm or gun violence. And we wanna be part of the solution. So I think that's what the future holds for New Orleans. It's my intention. And I have the full support of our board of directors. To put together an expansion and and they go and build other bastions and strategic parts of the country and possibly the world. That's yeah boy yeah absolutely I think he'll be live to do that absolutely and it will happen as well. There I'm sure some people listening in the audience who. Have a vision they feel led by god our spirit or whatever to to do something and it's not always easy. Any words of encouragement are advice for them to to keep going into knots to give up when he gets a little hard because it will take a wild. Start to see the fruits of nearly a yeah. You know be honest with yourself. Always. Be honest with your loved ones. Because it's it's hard grueling work. And it's not hard to lose sight. But what really matters. As year. You know pouring here your whole body mind and spears into a project. Absolutely my advice I love that advice the fact we can all use that cult of people continue to follow along our website is joined bastion daughter orgy but you can find us on FaceBook and Twitter. Her again thanks for being with us hey you Monica. I have been so fortunate to meet so many wonderful people doing what they can to up lift and go beyond their immediate lives to bring hope and change. Recently at a youth empowerment event in homer. I met a speaker I was in the audience and the speaker was so amazing. And she joins us now is my guess we're all stuck my app pops up how powerful story. And equally powerful mission to put love in the world we're joined by a shot that Wyatt assistant principal at renews schools. Good morning. Good morning and thanks for being with I had no idea who you are. But from the moment you step forward before the audience and spoke from the heart. And from your story from your journey ice it I have to get her on the show up and appreciate that I'm going to be here until a little bit about your your journey a life and particularly when you're young and you mothers each. Born in relief. And the Fisher house and development my entire life that's where our group called the Fisher project I am extremely proud of where come from. My mother struggled. From the time I was about to. Share his sister. Not on injury and she went missing. My mother in and my heart went out. So go enjoy themselves but my mother is the only person came home. My wife tilted his day is considered missing and my mother took their extremely. Hard. And as a result she. Turned to drugs through cold. With. Not being there for her sister. So from about two until I was about twelve years old my mother was addicted to crack cocaine so my grandmother. Mister with the BYU. Lockers the pieces. She she took on the responsibility of filling in the gaps from Amman. So actor remember very early on like my grandmother doing the things that my mother should've done but because of her. Aliens in her. The disease would what would drugs she just couldn't do it. I'm actor remember very early going through the crack houses with my grandmother so going to in my mind. Alligator. Or at home I will be either accurate remember her violently shaking from from drugs. But there was the entire process I never. Stopped loving her because I knew it it was the drugs and not necessarily her. In the minute apparently. Stopped her from parents and me so. I think back home for my grandmother and for my clients because if not for them are Clinton acts sit before you met the woman and today. I belittled it means that trauma early on you or. Grateful and thankful for that Shakespeare I am on both for the effect that my mother went through those things it could have been me. So I tell her all that Tom you know parents. The footsteps done in this world for their children kids can either choose to follow them or thinking defensively. Which true. And because little footsteps that my mom. We leave before me and that's what I wanted to do. I'm she always encouraged me to suspect there's a mile I believe that my strength comes from that struggle in particular. I believe that my strength comes from being raised by no nonsense grandmother like she just didn't play that was. Zero room for excuses zero room for. Trying to. Top Q we out of something and my grandmother was a results sort of one OK so this is a problem all right we'll assume that affects. And sole solution driven is not a because our expectations of you and others were so high high that began to shape how you saw the world that what you wanted to do in the world. Just. Just always expecting. The absolute best from her children and grandchildren thank you destroyed my grandmother. So I have my mother. Struggle in the way that she. But she never gave up owner she she. Always encouraged always looked at the ruling in. I'm my mother never once every hand she. Make she's she's clean all sheer will power in the prayer come out there. And sold my mother will be 26 years clean it's over in August. Arms of drugs she doesn't smoke cigarettes she used to do that she and drink. So I think that this rain will power in my grandmother hits a Wilma my groundstrokes she won it's a will I was how. Saddle our circumstances and be on the projects to be the very best that we can be. If Phil because of it down you know god willing to come. This coming December I will have my doctorate in education from Xavier University so I'm they're very excited because I promised my grandmother. I promised her that. That we'll finish on she passionately. In September. I was initially supposed to graduated in May. My grandmother died in the current attack me off square couldn't apple is now. And I was lawyer what words are our sayings came to you when you finally got back to your focus. I tell people all the time with blistering split comes the movie black pants with the three unions. In the movie there's a fight scene in the mother is telling her son to show them who you more. And I mean it it almost felt like something. Inside me pound that. Shook me because backing him my grandmother that it doesn't matter where you forums of which you can do. You know I don't care how people perceive you showed that we war. You know in fact it is almost as if she says it sent me I can hear. And so even in her abstinence. She sold president. We're joined by a shot until quiet. Shots as assistant principal of Renault schools has a powerful story at its howl and the whole praying that. It's more than just listening and that each and every one of us will be inspired in some way. To take our story our journey to the next level and touch someone you attend vigils and funerals. Yes. Why. From and not only am I the assistant principal. Or in schools I am also the founder and executive director of nonprofit organization. Mother to mother. I X that was my that the mother back in February of 2015. So congress and against. The gun violence in the murders that were happening in my community in particular. I'm and I found myself just kind of be in the vessel for. For change you know I I speak out against any injustice no matter who is behind the trigger you look like me. And if you're in my community we get ahead V. You know I'm gonna speak out against it just as if you know. But police injustices with occasional unarmed black man has to be got to give that as well but I have a certain. I have a certain hitter I have a certain. I'm tenacity when I'm when I'm talking about community violence because it is is disheartening. Who have. Young black men killing young black mean. And then there's no justification for it there's no rationale for it. I'm half the time there's not even a reason for what reason. Is large enough. Or are sufficient to take somebody's life you know the last murdered that I covered. It was a young guy from my community from the Fisher houses about him. His mother's name is Tiffany style issue Niagara to get her son's 21 years old. And he was given a ride. When his friend and somebody pulled up and opened fire here and now she's enough which is questions. Because she raced into the best for viability he went to school you graduate from and the car. He was studying engineering in college and blinking an eye he's no longer with us. And I I am just on this mission to use my voice to say that we abetted in this you know we are better than his skin and if we're going off that change came we have so be a collective. We have to love each other like you know you don't I don't have so let me in my low for you to the blow that connects. We're connected because we cut from the same struggle with car from the same community how mothers and fathers know each other. We we grew up in this thing in somehow someway we've lost the village that I that I always speak so we've lost sight of the damage in this as well we're kill me. Are you making an impact. I would outlet outlet that they and so. I've been doing this for years even before I establish myself as a non profit. Outlook how about we speak in individuals and speaking if you. Actor remember being a young girl in my stepfather at the town. Was murdered an actor remember going now. And seen him lane in the in the driveway they shot him ten times from our front with thirty years old when we bared his father. You know and I've been doing this very long term problem like that thing and my employees. Is a vessel for change. This is the only way to back up keep pushing and keep. You know tragedy if if if is if I believe I make any difference. I hope my community is proud how my grandmother proud. I hope that. You know. And in some shape form or fashion legacy of they day. Everything that I've ever done with the make the world that it did file. Think as a collective body all the listen to this station's gonna be with you. In the fall. And you receive out I'm conflicts. If the music. Well how you learn more about mother to mother you nonprofit arm yes now and so on FaceBook and much counsel why it on FaceBook I am also mothers and number two mother mother mother on FaceBook. I'll have a web site in you can reach me at WWW. That mother to mother died or. I'm almost all in the ground as a mother on the court to underscore mother. I'm I'm. I'm reachable you can put your hand touched me as fondly my phone numbers off on my site that's my personal cell phones so if from the eating. I'm there I'm also on actually speak at an event that's coming up on July 15. Miss and this war I don't know if you know Kayla award that she was Q. Couple years ago and some other news. Their door and you can call it motivation and the most on July 15 in the have been. Have so graciously graciously accept the honor of speaking at that means though. It's different it's a great thing when active speaker so my commute because often rumors. Though you know you can't beat them. Well we thank you for speaking to us and sharing your story we've been joined by Sean deal Wyatt. Assistant principal of the new schools and the executive director and founder of mother to mother. Thanks again for sharing your story is so much ahead in me. Embassy of. That is until 42 days thinking so much for joining us until next time enjoy this Sunday and the rest of your week.