( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Keisha Allen Guides Us To Work Through Pain
ENSPIRE Contributor: Devyn Petraglia
Keisha Allen is a minister, coach, speaker, writer, teacher, and humanitarian who gives empowering insight to children to better their future. Through her guidance, she has inspired many to evaluate who they are and challenge the way they view their pain. She helps people take their pain and turn it into something positive. Besides being a motivational speaker and coach, she has also trained many leaders, educators, and justice reformers on how we should engage and interact with one another. Since she is a wife and mother, she has all the knowledge in the world to serve the community and help other children work through their pain. She even started the Kendall Bear Foundation with her husband to offer grants to families struggling with infertility. They also help families in need with food and clothing, especially during the holidays. After receiving her Master’s degree in restorative practices, she has served as executive director at BFDI Training Institute. She continues to spread awareness and educate people on how we can lead more positive lives; not just for ourselves but for others too.
With her expertise in speaking and training, she also wrote her own book titled “ENGAGED” which is all about key principles to better your life. With the world shutting in from COVID, Keisha reminds us all to remain engaged with our lives and the world itself. She empowers every one of us to be our true selves and gives us the tools we need to win the fight out in the world. Her words are so powerful that she has mediated acts of hate, crime, murder, and family issues. She has empowered people to release their guilt so they can move on and acquire their hopes and dreams. She uses her skills as a teacher to strengthen our capacity to open our minds and hearts. She aims to help us better our relationships and understand one another. Conflict management has always been essential because we need to learn how to resolve tensions and repair those we are close to which will change the way we view our pain. She has traveled the world to deliver speeches that will continue to empower us; not only to be better but to inspire us to have those conversations that we are always too afraid to have.
ENSPIRE Magazine spoke with Keisha Allen about her new book and how she continues to spread much-needed positivity in the world today
Can you tell us how you started on your career path with restorative practices?
The year of 2012, I was broken, I lost my mom and was separated from a longtime organization I was part of. I had a job that was causing me a lot of stress. I was offered a new job but it paid $35,000 less. I asked my husband what was more important; money or quality of life. I walked into my new job and was sent to restorative justice training. It helped me do better and I was able to transform myself and heal after losing my mom, having a stressful job, and losing my longtime organization. I have been helping others do the same ever since.
Was there a crucial moment in your life growing up where you realized this was your passion?
Yes, I started attending church at the age of 14 but it wasn’t until age 15 that I realized helping people was my passion. At age 15, I was raped and thought of committing suicide. I realized that this wasn’t where I wanted my life to be and I wanted others to experience freedom, deliverance, and passion. I have been speaking around the world to make people realize their power from the inside out.
How did you become a coach, speaker, writer, and teacher all in one?
Who I am as a person is a communicator. A communicator is similar to a tree; there are many branches. When you have a communicator, there comes a teacher similar to a tree branching off to be paper, wood, or a chair. They all go into one. My tree is communication which also includes teaching and speaking. There comes many more gifts and the root of it is an instrument of change to transform all the lives I have touched.
Can you tell us more about the BFDI Training Institute and your role there?
BFDI Institute is an organization that focuses on professional development training beyond restorative justice. We use it in schools, the justice system, whenever there is more than one person we use this. It is a social science of building healthy relationships. We have seen a decrease in suspension and an increase in academics, behavior, and student relationships with parents and superiors to create a healthy environment. I have also brought victims and offenders together for conflict resolution. In politics, we want officials to meet in the middle and understand different perspectives to help the community. We want to increase productivity between supervisors and staff so this organization plays a major role in helping others learn to understand.
Do you have a story about someone you helped with your motivational words? If so, please elaborate
I have tons of stories. One that stuck out to me most was a young lady who called me the other day. I had no idea I was helping her but something I said to her made her the woman she is today, “In order for you to understand what you’re supposed to be doing, you have to understand who you are” and as she began to go on her healing journey, she started her business and podcast and that was as a result of my inspirational words.
Can you tell us about the Kendall Bear Foundation?
I would love to. I came about it because when my husband and I first got married, we made a plan to not have kids for the first five years since we wanted to focus on traveling. It wasn’t until our 15th year of marriage that we went through IVF (Invitro Fertilization Process). We got a dog named Charm who actually inspired us to have hope for having a child. As we went through this process, we realized that many other families would make great parents but cannot do so. We offer people IVF opportunities so they can experience the dream of having a child. We also help children during the holidays and struggling families so they do not have to go without.
Can you tell us about the conferences you mediated including acts of hate and crime?
There is several that I’ve done. There is one that sticks out, however. Two boys committed a murder at ages 15 and 16. I met them when they were 16 and 17 to mediate conflict resolution between them and their families. The judges and lawyers did not want this to happen because the case notes stated that they were not remorseful or empathetic but I met two boys who were completely different. They were remorseful and they wanted to make things right. I was able to bring them and the families together and the outcome was something I couldn’t have written. When the boys went to prison, the families followed them and made sure they had everything they needed. They wanted them to be different people when they got out. If this mediation hadn’t happened, they would’ve continued to carry anger and guilt with the families asking why. Mediation allowed them to both go on their own paths to heal.
What is one success story you had with someone overwhelmed with guilt? What is one challenging story?
One success story that sticks out to me was a young lady in the 9th grade named Faith who was very overwhelmed with guilt. I remember seeing her walking with her two friends and when I said hello, she cursed at me. I decided to remain engaged and continue to check on her. One day, she came and said “who are you?” and I had a moment to dive into who she really was and not be offended by the hurtful things she said. I found out her guilt stemmed from a lot of her family being murdered, she would wake up and find them gone and blame herself. Because of this, she started cutting herself and as we began to engage, she stopped cutting and is now a senior at Alabama State University. She is doing wonderful. A challenging story would be the same one with Faith. It took her such a long time to trust me and engage with me. I remained consistent despite of what she was doing and I played a small part in helping her overcome her battles.
Can you tell us about your new book, “Engaged”
My book was a long time coming and I am so happy that it is out and released into world. There is no better time than this because with the pandemic, it is so needed. My book is about helping people understand who they are, why they are, how to have vision changes, and a mindset to be courageous. I want to give them key principles to navigate into a new space. I want them to be willing to enter into war for promise on the other side because there is no victory without a fight and no champion without entering a ring. There is also no peace without war. I want people to take these things and navigate to the other side. When challenges come, they die in process but my book teaches us how not to do that and successfully navigate. It is 100% for you and everyone has gifts and talents but we don’t know how to use or access them.
How has it helped people worldwide?
People have felt they were stuck and my new book will help them learn how to be brave. It teaches them to come out of their comfort zone and fearlessly attack. They can learn to be in uncomfortable spaces and get off autopilot. They can reawaken who they are and see themselves differently and be purposeful. They can experience life the way it was meant to be lived.
Lastly, what are your plans for the future and how will you continue to help your community?
I am going to continue to do what I’m doing. I have a new book in January “Engaged” and it is another aspect I’ve been working on. There are also 3 more to come. I’m loving being a momanger for our daughter Kendall who released a song called
“Cute” and is available on all platforms. My husband is doing tv shows, movies, and working on a Christmas album with J. Moss. Using every gift, talent, and ability that lies within us is so important and I want to show others to do the same. One person at a time, one family at a time which becomes one community. If we are all engaged, what a wonderful world.
To conclude, Keisha Allen is an amazing example of how a world leader should be. Especially during COVID, we have seen so many people struggling to find work, make ends meet, and provide for their families. There has also been a lot of anger, pain, and confusion since the pandemic and her words are exactly what the world needs right now. Conflict resolution is something we could all use more of repairing the damages left by the pandemic. With her guidance, we can all learn to take our pain and turn it into something positive. She has empowered each and every one of us to look ahead for a brighter future and she is a role model we should all look up to.
You can follow Keisha here:
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