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Alum Story: Between Rockwood and a Hard Place

By June 11, 2015No Comments


A few years back, I got a call that would change my life. The caller asked me if I was interested in attending Rockwood’s Fellowship for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Advocacy. At the time, I had no idea of the impact the training would have in my professional life, but looking back, I can say going to that training was the best decision I had made in a long time.

My career had reached a point where I had gone as far as I could go. After many years of working for change within a government institution, I was burned out and tired. I felt frustrated, lost, and angry, and I just could not see how one more leadership training could make any difference.

But everyone I asked about Rockwood said the same thing: “Just do it!”

So, I did! There I was in beautiful Sonoma, surrounded by the most incredible LGBTQI people I had ever met, feeling depressed and frustrated. As the first day went on, and I got over venting my anger and frustration, I started to realize how the tools I was learning to use could really help me get out of the rut I was in. I realized that my heart wanted to work for the LGBTQ community, my tribe, and my people. I wanted a better world for all of us, and I wanted to go back to music and art to do it.

I practiced having difficult conversations with my peers until I mastered it. I worked really hard at aligning my personal values with the kind of life I wanted to live and the work I wanted to do. I used the tools, and incredible things started to happen!

Today I am working with an organization – Seattle Counseling Service – which has values in alignment with my personal mission and vision. I am the new LGBTQ Undocumented Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Specialist, helping the organization conduct research to gather the undocumented stories of LGBTQ immigrants and refugees who need behavioral health services, but face barriers to access them. Next year the research will help design a program to meet the needs of LGBTQ undocumented immigrants and refugees.

In a small way, I will make the world better for all of us.  A world where those like me — survivors of torture due to their sexual orientation — can find the tools and support to live a full and happy life.

Thank you Rockwood!

Tell us your Rockwood story! Use #rockwoodlove on social media to share how Rockwood changed you, or email us.


Rockwood Community Call

Kiara Lee, MSW

holistic trauma healing coach, dynamic speaker, and valued consultant

July 28 * 12 PT / 3 ET