Using Silent Struggles to Help Others Heal: An Interview with Director of Project Journey and Columbine Survivor, Amy OverPosted on
What is your Current Gig/Passion Hustle:
My current gig is working for a local non-profit called The Rebels Project. Over the past three years, I have been their Director of Fundraising. My passion hustle every day is to raise funds to support and connect survivors of Mass Trauma. I always need to make sure we have enough money to provide the services for our organization. It is a daunting task, but I get to help people!
This year I am so excited to move into a new role as The Director of Project Journey. Project Journey is in its’ pilot stage at this time; but will be an extension of The Rebels Project, we will help pay for all mental healthcare services for survivors. This is a huge passion of mine because I am a survivor too.
What is a quote you live by?
A quote I live my life by is very personal and comes from the Columbine Memorial wall:
“People talk about defining moments in their lives, but I didn’t let this define me.”
What small thing will you do today to make your world/community a better place?
I would like to think that everyday I bring kindness and a positive attitude to make the world around me a better place.
It’s important to always model kindness, because you never know what personal struggle an individual might be having that day. A smile, how are you, a simple phone call, opening a door, or buying a stranger a coffee just might be what they needed.
What is a day in your life like?
A typical day in my life is busy…always busy. Throughout the day I am juggling taking care of my family and balancing work. Once I get the kids off to school I get my workout in, which consists of kickboxing and running. After that I check emails and answer calls and get myself ready for the day.
I have a very flexible job with The Rebels Project and can work from home, which is awesome! A lot of my craziness is in the afternoon, when I drive all over town picking up kiddos and taking them to their activities… followed by dinner, homework and bath time.
What has been your journey to get to where you are now in your life?
I have not had an easy journey to get where I am today. From the outside looking in, it would seem as though I have it made, but it took a lot of silent struggles with many ups and downs. I am a Columbine survivor.
It took me along time to own my story, to own my anxiety, fears and sadness. I wouldn’t change that this event happened in my life, because it brought me to who I am today.
19 years ago, my life changed course and I had to come to terms with that. Throughout the years I have learned to forgive and the fact that I am resilient and strong. Which has now lead me to the next phase of my journey, helping other survivors cope with their new normal.
What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome?
The biggest struggle I had to overcome was my anxiety. When my daughter started preschool, I started having major panic attacks. Now that I was a mom, I had a new fear: sending my child to school. This was a debilitating and embarrassing time in my life, where I literally had no control over when these attacks would come.
This struggle took the better part of two years to overcome; but looking back on it, I had to go through it, otherwise I wouldn’t have grown as an individual. Sometimes you must go through literal hell before things get better.
What was the driver for you to pursue your current career/passion side hustle?
When Rebels Project formed in 2012, I went to the first meeting and really wanted to help but the timing for me to do so was off.
It wasn’t until I finished my bachelor’s in criminal justice, in 2015, that I wanted to take a more prominent role in the organization. I was asked to take on the role as their Director of Fundraising. I felt this drive to do anything I could to keep this nonprofit afloat. I saw a vision for how I would raise funds and grow this organization.
I never want a survivor to feel that they are alone and that their feelings are not validated. My drive is to connect, support and to be a platform for survivors to get through this new journey.
What is your favorite story from the work you’ve done?
For the past three summers, The Rebels Project hosts a survivor gathering, where we fly in survivors of other mass traumas for the weekend.
The first year I remember picking up our four guests from the airport. I was so nervous and excited to meet them. When I arrived, I got out of the car and we all gave each other a giant hug, it was like picking up old friends. My car was not filled with sadness, but with hope and laughter, we all had found one another. It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget, and it makes my job connecting with survivors that much sweeter.
What prepared you the most for what you’re doing now?
I would have to say that presenting every week for four years while getting my degree in Criminal Justice prepared me the most for what I’m doing now with TRP. Part of my job is to do some public speaking on the topics of Mass Trauma, PTSD and running a local nonprofit.
A lot of my job is trial and error, I am finding out what does and does not work. Lastly, I think just my personal journey has prepared me for this job, I have a lot to offer other survivors through shared experiences.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is to fail.
How do you balance life and career?
My husband and I are an awesome team and always work together to support one another in our professional lives. I am pretty old school when it comes to organization, I absolutely love my giant calendar, which is color coded for each family member.
I have to write everything down to stay organized. My job can become quite emotionally draining, so I make sure every day I have a little time to myself to workout or reflect. I just got through my busy time for the year with fundraising, so I am trying to get back to a more balanced lifestyle with my family.
How do you use what makes your heart sing to make the little bit of world around you a better place?
Every time I share my passion for survivors, and share my story, I pray that I am sending the message of hope. I want to leave the impression that no matter what hardship you’ve gone through, that there is hope to heal within your personal journey.
What do you wish more women would do for themselves?
I wish that more women would cut themselves some slack. We are so hard on ourselves and we are all trying our best to raise a family, have a career, or both. I wish that women would be kinder to themselves.
What is something you hope our readers will do after they read this interview?
I hope that the readers will go check out our organization at our website www.therebelsproject.org, or follow us on Facebook. I hope that readers feel inspired and want to get involved or just keep spreading kindness in our world.
What does it mean to be an everyday hero to you?
To be an everyday hero is to model what you preach. Always put in the extra time, work hard and treat everyone with respect. An everyday hero is a person that has integrity and who always does the right thing even when no one is watching.