In 2015 our Team Lead Emily suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury the week she turned 21, and in one day her whole life changed. Read below about how she healed through service.

At the time of her injury, Emily was majoring in behavioral science and minoring in spanish but the incident ripped her of her collegiate progress, and her 8 years of Spanish, immediately. The pain from the brain injury lasted nearly a year, and when her motor function grew more consistent she began an AmeriCorps program at a local YMCA and worked as a daycare teacher. Emily says that most of her recovery happening while working at the daycare, and it showed her that being to help others in ways they cannot help themselves continues to help her heal.

She loves being other peoples source of support and that “it’s all about building connection.” After her AmeriCorps NCCC term of service, where she found herself grateful to be able to get up every day and lace up her work boots, Emily joined the NECHAMA team. With her own story of trauma and recovery, Emily reflects on where she was four years ago and wakes up every day marveled by the fact that she can “get on a ladder, speak any Spanish at all, or lead volunteers.” She’s inspired by the connections she makes daily on the work sites and sees her job in light of “the symbiotic relationship of making each other feel good about ourselves.” She says, “the people I have helped have no idea how much they have helped me.” Emily is a bright star on our Puerto Rico team, as she was in South Carolina as well, and we’re thankful for her constant devotion to not only her own recovery, but to the healing of everyone she meets on and off the work site.