Saturday Spotlight: Danyelle Hooks

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Chapter: Mid-Atlantic/Pittsburgh

Member Since:  December 2016

Motto: “People can & do recover-I’m living proof!”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“Ever since I was young I’ve always had a hard time making friends. Most people can’t keep up with my active lifestyle and don’t understand my compassion for helping others. Team RWB provided the perfect outlet for my passions for physical fitness, volunteering, and social interaction and support. I had randomly met one of my team members, we ‘clicked,’ and she invited me to start attending events and to get involved. I asked so many questions and I almost couldn’t believe how awesome this group is! From the first time I ran with the group on Wear the Eagle Wednesday to hosting my own even next week, it’s been such a pleasure being involved in such a good cause with so many great people.”

What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?

“I haven’t been with the team for long, but my favorite activity so far was our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day service project. Our team loaded up our packs with non-perishables and rucked over 3.5 miles from the South Side, through Downtown, and into the North Side of Pittsburgh. The organizers at Northside Common Ministries were so excited to receive our donations and we were impressed with the quality of their operation; instead of visitors given a pre-set package of items, users were given freedom of choice to select which items they could use most and desired. It was a moving experience for our entire team. Additionally, a few of us ran back across town as a flag relay. We got to talk about Team RWB with a few bystanders and spread support and cheer for our country & our veterans. It was an amazing experience.”

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How Do You Serve Your Community?

“As a person with a dual-diagnosis of mental health conditions, I use my lived experience in sharing my recovery story to instill hope in others. Through my employment as a recovery specialist, I work to promote recovery & resiliency principles in the community for both mental health and substance use disorders. My position also gives me the unique opportunity to educate middle and high school youth about mental health and inspire them to combat stigma in their schools. I also volunteer with my church’s Recovery & Restoration groups, distribute ‘Blessings Bags’ to the homeless, and I sit on a national council that works to help support young adults through mental health challenges as well as help them connect to other young adult peers.

What Inspires You?

“So many things! Everything! People, places, things! Miracles, random acts of kindness, unconditional love, incredible stories of people overcoming obstacles, hope, daily blessings, the strength and courage of those around me, working with others with a shared vision, anytime people come together for a common cause, nature, life in general. There is beauty in every one and everything! God provides and life IS good.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“How has Team RWB NOT impacted my life?! Team RWB came at a really rough time in my life; I had left my current church, I was struggling with some mental health issues and relationships, and I was feeling alone, overwhelmed, and unsupported. My team welcomed me with open arms, no questions asked. They are incredibly supportive and relentless in their personal and group efforts in the community. Every member brings something unique and beautiful to the group and it’s such a positive atmosphere. I’m surrounded by people with the same interests that enjoy making the world a better place by helping others and encouraging each other! That’s such an amazing feeling.”

What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?

“Do it now! There are no strings attached. It’s easy to fit it in to your daily life, there’s something for everyone, and it’s a great way to be part of something BIG. There are so many opportunities for inclusion and growth and the possibilities are endless. You can make new friends and be part of a great team that supports and encourages each other, during and outside of activities. You’ll be able to set-and crush goals and make a difference in your community, whether it be through enriching the lives of veterans or other philanthropy. Health body, healthy mind, healthy spirit. #EagleFire”