Hello and welcome to Pollen8, Inc. We have been working on this project for over 5 years now and it is finally transforming from the conceptual realm into the physical and we are very excited! We want to share with you how divinely orchestrated our project has been from the beginning so we’ve decided to begin blogging the process that has gotten us to this point and moving forward with how it unfolds from here.
Five years ago I was taking a trip with my friend and she was sharing with me her work woes, she was the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Summers County in West Virginia. She was troubled that she was terminating parental rights at an alarming rate due to child abuse and neglect because the parents were substance abusers. Her story that day was particularly about a young woman who grabbed my heart and has yet to let go. I set out to help this woman and many like her, but I had no education and was a Hair Dresser/Pilates Instructor by trade. However that didn’t stop me, I found a team and raised funds to create a documentary of this young woman, share her story, in hopes of awaking others to the idea that drug addiction is not a choice some people make, often times it is the only choice. Sadly, the documentary never came to fruition because we could never capture the interview with the young woman who had lost custody of her infant son, I believe she was afraid to share her story.
Later that Fall, my friend mentioned above, left Summers County and began working for the Kanawha County Drug Court. She asked if I’d like a part-time job entering data from paper files to an electronic system and I accepted. I spent 8 weeks working 8 hours a day entering the personal, medical, psychological, and criminal information regarding every participant who was currently or had previously been enrolled in the drug court of Kanawha County. I didn’t just mindlessly enter their data into the computer, I read every word of their lives within those files. One thing I had began to notice through my tears was the theme amongst them all- every young woman had been molested by her father, step-father or mother’s boyfriend and every young man had been abandoned or beaten by his father, step-father or mother’s boyfriend. The third, smaller group was middle class, young adults who had been injured through sports in college and became addicted to the pain medication prescribed to them.
I had attended college at Marshall University when I was eighteen years old and I failed out after the first year. One year and a half later I became pregnant with my son and life began to move at a pace that was necessary to survive. I climbed the corporate ladder, only to get knocked back down and here I was with my mind blown open and an overwhelming sense of urgency to uncover why drug addiction had such an effect on emotionally damaged people. Upon completion of my part-time employment, I asked what kind of degree someone would need to work with drug addicts and I was given several options. I went back to school that Fall and graduated 3 years later with a Regents Bachelor of Arts (gives 1 year of employment credit for 1 year of General Ed classes) and I minored in Sociology.
Immediately upon graduation, I applied and was accepted at Appalachian State University where I will graduate on Saturday, May 14, 2016 with a Masters of Art in Appalachian Studies because I believed I needed to understand the Appalachian culture before I would ever be able to help the Appalachian people.
I still wanted the answers to the questions I had way back during my employment at the drug court and I used my thesis to uncover the reasons why people abuse drugs, the current child welfare system in West Virginia and why it is ineffective, and how we can use a nonprofit organization to fill in the gaps and begin to heal West Virginian families.
I hope you’ll come along for the ride…here we go…ONWARD!