I'm Going To Be...November 7, 2019 11:00a
This morning I woke up to a text message from my dear friend Jahaira. The text message was a link to a YouTube video and I hesitantly clicked the link, knowing that I would be watching some embarrassing video that she later would say, “Thats so you, Josh!” I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my very own Jahaira, standing behind a podium in the preview of that YouTube video.
If you know Jahaira, she is a wonderful woman that is full of love and generosity. She is the first to call you out on your crap, for your best interest of course. Behind the scenes, and known to those who are close, she struggled with substance misuse and Recovery for a very long time. She is now in Recovery and thriving.
The podium she stands behind was at The Center’s Women’s Event, a celebration of Women by New York City’s LGBT Community Center. As I pressed play, the applause was roaring and I knew we were going to be served with a message of inspiration and hope. See, Jaharia is a proud woman of color and of trans-experience in Recovery and was sharing how the money donated to The Center makes life changing differences in people around New York City and beyond.
What I mean by beyond, is that Jahaira’s Mother and (other best friend) Eddie was in the audience, supporting and celebrating our Jahaira. Jahaira shared her story and her struggles as a “drug addicted sex worker” and how her experience is inspiring her to make a change in the world. In her words, “I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world.” I’M GOING TO BE… such powerful words. The words of hope and love.
Jahaira is just one of thousands of people in New York City that are using their past to help others out of the darkness of substance misuse, mental health concerns, incarceration, violence, and many other tough situations that can have a happy and prosperous ending with the help of peers that have experienced the struggle.
I join Jahaira, and say “I’m going to be…” and that is the heart of helpNYC. There's an old adage “Been there. Done that.” Well, we have and it can provide relief for the person in pain. A person struggling knowing that their talking to someone that understands the unspoken truths of the dark, lonely places is often times the first light they see at the end of the lonely dark tunnel their in.
Today, will you join Jahaira and I in thinking of how we can help our fellow New Yorkers. Take some time to explore the helpNYC website and look for things that might help your family, friends, and our neighbors on the street. Together we can be that change that Jahaira speaks of. Please join us. You can make a huge difference.
Joshua Parkin, MHFA, IPSFounder of helpNYC