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Rising Stars: Meet Lanae Dillard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lanae Dillard.

Hi Lanae, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always found the power within my words, so I dedicated my spare time and energy to my Everyday Girl blog. This space allowed me to explore my writing capabilities while inspiring individuals to be unapologetically themselves.

Everyday Girl Blog was my haven, and it was the exact push I needed to complete my educational journey of storytelling. Little did I know, after obtaining a Creative Writing Degree, it would be my own story that would shift my direction to advocating for the mental health journeys of others.

In 2019, I suffered a mental breakdown after my grandmother’s sudden death, which ignited my passion for seeking wellness within myself. Therapy became my saving grace and defined my purpose to advocate for individuals struggling to find their voices amid anxiety, depression, and the overall stressors of life. With this mission, I decided to hone in on the highest statistical demographic for death by suicide; teens and young adults. I created a virtual mental health support group for teens called ALMA SUPPORT GROUP to act as a safe space for mental health discussions. The name A-L-M-A is an acronym for Aim for Love, Mend Awareness. It is also my late grandmother’s first name. Her untimely death broke down mental barriers I didn’t know existed. And the positive energy source she provided for me is something I vow to pass on to others in remembrance of her. The support group consists of myself, along with three mental health professionals. We spend 30mins – 1-hour meeting with a group of teens, guiding them through ice-breaker exercises, team-building skills, and open conversations monthly via Zoom. I find solace in being able to reach and support teens and young adults while mending Awareness and promoting wellness in all areas.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
I believe imposter syndrome has stood in the way of me feeling my voice was too small. Often, I would get discouraged coming from a more Journalistic background trying to pitch my idea to the mental health community. I remember thinking, why would an organization want to work with me without prior experience? Being turned down or told they are not interested didn’t make matters any better. I had to embrace the biggest obstacle: staying true to my purpose and passion and letting anything outside that act as a challenge instead of a failure.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’ve worked with various age groups for the past decade, from preschool to college students. Although currently, I work with school-age students, I always find it intriguing how children of all ages have unique learning styles. As a creative, I can translate these styles into lessons and interactive ways to learn. I believe children have a way of revealing things to us as educators through their behaviors and patterns. I’m most proud of my range within my professional career. I’m not just an author; I’m also a teacher. I’m not just a writer; I’m a creator. These skills are limitless and inspiring because these teachable moments throughout my career of working with children have better prepared me to be an advocate for them.

What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
My most important lesson is never letting a hurdle stop my race. I’ve hit countless roadblocks within my life that I believed would defeat me. No matter how often my life has taken detours or doors were closed in my face, I kept going. Suppose there’s a passion in your heart to create something. Even if it is unknown to man, do it. I’ve learned that the people and spaces around you may not see or believe your vision, but they will catch up. Your mission continues regardless.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
@almasupportllc @iameverydaygirl @blackgirlsinmedia

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