She secretly loves to catch up on her soap operas. Her happy place is on the river or in church. She found her calling to social work in a Honduran orphanage. And she never commits to anything lightly. Meet Melissa.
What is your superpower? Juggling being a professional in a world of 24 hour advocacy and being a wife and mother to my very active and beautiful 9 year old daughter.
Who do you adore? My daughter. She has taught me so much about life in her short 9 years. She is wise beyond her years, has no problem letting me know when I have fallen short of where I I should be, and loves me unconditionally.
What is the best gift you ever received? A picture frame with my father’s picture in it with a recorded audio message from him. My father passed away in 2005 after a 6 year battle with ALS, and there are days when I just need to hear his voice and it comforts me to be able to push that button and hear his final message to me that he loves me.
What is the ultimate party? Spending time sitting around a campfire sharing some quiet time with family and friends.
Your mother always told you…do what you know is right in your gut, no matter how hard it is, and you will go far.
What fuels you? My faith. I couldn’t face the challenges that this world brings to my family, or to the families that I serve, if it weren’t for my faith.
What’s the best advice you were given about your work? It’s not always popular to do the right thing. This is especially true in a very rural area where you work very hard to build great relationships with law enforcement and other community partners, and you can’t always give them what they want or need.
What is your shelter/refuge? My campsite down by the river. This campsite is literally no more than 8 miles from my home however I feel like I’m a million miles away from everything when I’m there. I can sit by the river and every thought that crosses my mind that is negatively impacting me is tossed in the water.
What is your favorite word? Yes. I am a yes person. Yes is such a positive word and so many times I find that it takes me places that I wouldn’t have dreamed it would take me and led me to some paths that have had amazing impact on my life, when I really wanted to say no, but I took a risk and went for it.
What is one outrageous thing you’d like to own? I would love to own a farm with acreage filled with horses.
What gives you courage? My daughter. When I feel frightened in life, I always think of what I feel is my sole purpose for being on this earth. She is my encouragement to face my fears and to do what I can to make this world a better place for her.
How would your BFF describe you? Loyal.
What do you want the world to know about your work? Although my work is not understood by many, that if every human would take a moment to learn one fact about intimate partner violence and think about that fact in regards to one of their loved ones…I’m sure that they would want to join the movement to stop these senseless acts from occurring as well.
Meet other Brave Hearts like Melissa at 31 Days of Brave Hearts.