( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Linda Chatters-Walker Shares Story and How She Changed to Help Others
ENSPIRE Contributor: Janelle Harris
Dedicated to making the world a better place, starting with her local community, Linda Chatters-Walker is an unsung hero committed to helping individuals reach their full potential. She is the program director of House of Hope in addition to launching and running Faith Works Empowerment Initiative, Inc. and Linda’s Recovery Resources. Her passion is for helping individuals overcome addiction by guiding them through the necessary programs to better themselves and rebuild their lives one step at a time.
Linda’s impact is widespread, with her work recognized around the country. She received the Directors Leadership Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Unsung Heroine Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in addition to gracing the cover of MTM Magazine. The author of three books is truly a force of nature whose commitment to helping others mirrors her journey to sobriety decades ago.
How do you feel about your community?
Everyone deserves a chance. We’ve all made mistakes; no one is perfect. Coming from a challenging life to where I am today, I am a walking testimony that people can change. If you think your only option in life is chasing dope and money, I’m here to say that you must “choose to endure.”
I help people reach their full potential by sharing my testimony on how the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department rescued me from myself when I hit rock bottom. After being arrested several times, I realized I was tired of the lifestyle. I searched for answers and met positive people who mentored and guided me when I was stuck. These mentors taught me a valuable lesson—to always remain teachable.
What role do life skills play in your work?
I share my personal experience every time I teach a workshop. Sometimes, individuals in the group ask why they’re required to attend the workshop just to get a bill paid or receive a free meal. Later, I pull these individuals aside for a one-on-one discussion that usually results in them adopting a more open and accepting mindset. By the end of the workshop, these individuals are usually the top contributors and always have positive things to say about their experience in the session.
What’s your method of inspiring others?
I share my journey in life and what it took for me to get where I am today. I usually start with an icebreaker and share my story so that they know my story and that I’m human and flawed. Then, we dive into various workshops on topics like self-esteem, employability, budgeting, dressing to be your best, communication, setting boundaries, domestic violence, and parenting. I also share resources with the group so that they have access to other tools that can guide them along their journey. I do not allow anyone to walk away from the session without a solution or resource to turn to in times of need. Lastly, I offer consulting to individuals or groups in Hillsborough and the surrounding counties that want to set up a shelter to help the less fortunate.
What nugget of truth do you always share?
If you don’t choose a goal, you may become someone else’s.
As a bonus, we’ve included feedback from Rachel, one of Linda’s mentees.
I was homeless, sleeping on my cousin’s couch. My brother messaged me on Facebook after five years of not talking, asking me to get clean. I spent that night praying and asking God to save me. Sunday morning, I messaged Nancy, whom I met from the Salvation Army, asking for guidance. She said she couldn’t help me but that she knew the perfect person and gave me Linda’s number. I stared at the number for a while and assumed she wouldn’t answer because it was 8 am. Linda answered and said she could help. She told me what I needed to do, and we talked for a few days. She spoke with my family, so they knew I was serious about getting help and not just scheming them for money. I went into detox, and on July 2nd, I moved into the House of Hope.
To contact Linda Chatters-Walker:
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: faithworksorg.com
- Phone: 813-562-5877
- Facebook: Faith Works Empowerment Initiative Inc.