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Meet Lisa Evans (Crichlow Helly) of H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds in Fort Lauderdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Evans (Crichlow Helly).

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The purpose of “H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds” is summed up in three E’s: to Encourage, Empower and Educate individuals struggling with mental illness and the word “H.O.P.E. is an acronym for “Hold On, Pain Ends.” Mental health is something that I m EXTREMELY passionate about. In my short time here on this Earth, I have been faced with many obstacles- from being sexually abused as a child, to struggling with addiction, to domestic violence and chronic illness, just to name a few.

I started “H.O.P.E.” back in October 2015, less than a year after being medically retired from the Army. I suffered some injuries, but mainly a concussion that left me with a seizure disorder and a ton of other neurological problems. As I was transitioning out of the military, I discovered a hidden talent in therapy-writing. It was in the “Wounded Warrior Program” that I realized the importance of mental health. There we were, broken soldiers, from all walks of life. Although we sustained our physical injuries during the military, I learned that the emotional pain we were carrying was far greater and some stemmed from unresolved issues from childhood! I began to write poetry as a healthier alternative to channeling and expressing my emotions. I performed one piece at a poetry club in Washington, D.C. and the feedback I received was overwhelming. People thanked me for sharing and confided in me their horrible experiences with trauma and abuse as well. It was at that moment that I decided to be the voice for those that do not have one or have lost theirs! The voice that I needed when I was in those dark situations.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not at all. I actually “gave up” on my “H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds” for about a year. One of the biggest struggles is the lack of support. Sometimes, we as humans, with our limited understanding have an idea of how things should happen or unfold and when it does not happen that way, we become frustrated or disappointed. I have learned that it is best to learn how to encourage yourself. Do things from a place of genuineness and passion and the rest will flow. Commit to yourself and find ways to hold yourself accountable. Set short, mid and long term goals and then share those with a trusted accountability partner to hold you to it. Even when it seems like you are not going anywhere or you are in a stagnant season, so to speak, just keep going! Your future self will thank you for it. Trust me.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds story. Tell us more about it.
“H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds” started off as just a website filled with words of encouragement and a blog. I would share my thoughts, experiences, and poetry simply to spread hope. But it is blossoming into something so much bigger than that! There are many other sites that advocate for Mental Health Awareness, but what sets us apart is that we are meeting needs in our community in tangible ways. I am most proud of the outreaches we have been able to coordinate in order to give back. Every month, we have a “Charity of the Month” and whatever money is earned (through sales of our branded merchandise) or raised (through donations) is donated to that charity. We have also worked with places like “Golden Harvest” to organize food drives for homeless individuals and have done clothing drives for women and children in shelters.

My favorite is called a “Blessing Bag.” I actually do these with my children, too. We fill up bags with items specific to the needs of the individuals we are going to hand them to, along with a hand-written note or poem and we randomly bless people with it. Sometimes, it may be a homeless individual begging for money on a street corner somewhere. Instead of turning my nose up at them, I bless them with a beautifully decorated “Blessing Bag” filled with toiletries, gift cards to food places, etc. The way their eyes light up is everything. Everyone deserves to feel special and they are no exception. It does not matter if you are sitting in high or low places if your heart is beating, you still have a purpose. Our worth is defined by us just being-that is it. We are all equals and I love to remind people of that.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I am looking forward to expanding BIG TIME. My goal this year is to officially register “H.O.P.E. for the Beautiful Minds” as a 501c3 registered nonprofit. By doing so, I am hoping to expand our budget in order to increase the size of our outreaches and give back to the community in an even greater way! We are working with some really great people and having our first major event in Fort Lauderdale in October of this year! It will be an event honoring “Domestic Violence Awareness” Month, as well as “Cancer Awareness” Month, two big topics that are near and dear to my heart.

We have also started a new video-blog series this year. I am constantly striving to find new and better ways of engaging with people in a meaningful way. Words are powerful, of course, but we are hoping to be more personable through videos and help people place a face to the name type of thing.

Pricing:

  • “Pieces of Me” Poetry Book – 19.99
  • “H.O.P.E.” Hoodie (BLK) – 40.00
  • “H.O.P.E.” T-Shirt (BLK)- 20.00
  • “H.O.P.E.” Tank (BLK)- 15.00
  • “H.O.P.E.” Wristband (BLK) – 5.00

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Morchano Shot Rite Photos

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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