As I’m writing this, I am in Baltimore and it is 5 am, the morning of my 12th reconstructive surgery, and I have one thing that I must do before I go under the knife again. I must write this blog about my employer and friend, Charles Sperling and the work that he does at STAND, Inc. (Standing to Achieve New Directions). If you care anything about societal ills such as homelessness, HIV, domestic violence, the breakdown of families, substance abuse, or the disproportionate incarceration of our men, please support this non-profit and please tune in to listen to my boss, Mr. Sperling this Sunday morning, June 22th with Sasha the Diva, and again during the Tom Joyner Morning Show next week.
Yes, one of the last things on my mind before going into surgery is highlighting this wonderful man, this incredible organization, and the life changing work that they have been doing in our community for the past 15 years. It was important for me to do this blog before I go into surgery because I really want you all to hear what Charles Sperling has to say in this interview.
I am on leave from my position as a counselor, but I plan to go back to work at STAND because I am as passionate about the work that we do there, as I am about the work that we plan to do at the Christy Sims Foundation, and I also hope to partner with STAND on various domestic violence programs. Everything is personal and meaningful to me, so it is impossible for me to talk about the work and the organization, without first speaking about the man and what he has personally meant to me and my life.
Charles Sperling, Executive Director of STAND, Inc.
I met Mr. Sperling in October of 2012 during an interview for a counseling internship required to satisfy my Master’s program at Mercer University. Prior to meeting Mr. Sperling, I had already researched him and the organization and I was already intrigued with his story and the work that he was doing at STAND, Inc, but it was not until I met him that I truly understood the impact of his work. Like me, Mr. Sperling is a true example of a “wounded healer”, which is a counselor who takes their own pain, and instead of internalizing it, they use it to help others. During his life, he has been directly impacted by several of the societal problems that he has been trying to address with his non-profit. The issue of domestic violence is a strong passion of his because of the death of his beloved niece who was murdered by her boyfriend a few years ago. He was affected yet again by domestic violence when a close cousin killed his partner and then committed suicide.
Mr. Sperling has a heart for helping people, and more specifically for helping those that no one else wants to help, and many that society has discarded. This is actually what I loved most about being a counselor at STAND. As a substance abuse, mental health, and HIV counselor there, I witnessed men who had been given up on by their families, by society, and by themselves; totally transformed and rebuilding their lives because of the love, support, and counseling that they received at STAND. There is no greater feeling than witnessing the positive transformation of another human being; that is what I miss the most about being a counselor at STAND, Inc.
There are many domestic violence programs across the country, but what is most intriguing about this program at STAND is that they only work with the abusers. This may sound strange, but think about it… In order to solve a problem, it makes sense to work with the problem to find the solution. The victim is not the problem, it is the abuser, so if you can divert the behavior of the abuser then you can save countless lives, and mend broken families; and this is exactly the work that Charles Sperling is doing at STAND, Inc. among other things. Mr. Sperling is not only the founder and Executive Director at STAND, he is also my Clinical Counseling Supervisor and an excellent Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, and Anger Management counselor.
I truly believe that STAND, Inc. will be a great partner with the Christy Sims Foundation because we both have the common goal of solving the problem of domestic violence by implementing programs that prevent or divert the abuse before it occurs. Mr. Sperling is doing this via his Domestic Violence and Anger Management diversion programs for mostly men, and I plan to do it by creating programs to empower women and other victims before the loss of life or injury occurs. My ultimate goal is for no other person to have to endure the pain and suffering that I have had to endure. This is why I founded the Christy Sims Foundation and it is why I support Charles Sperling and the work he is doing at STAND.
Please tune in to Mr. Sperling’s interview this Sunday Morning June 22, 2014 on KISS 104.1 with Sasha the Diva, and again during the week June 23rd-June 27th on the Tom Joyner Morning Show as he speaks about his Domestic Violence and Re-entry Programs at STAND. Please also visit their website to learn more about them and to donate to this worthy non-profit at www.standinc.com
Many have questioned why I have no bitterness towards men, in spite of the damage that has been done to me by a man. The answer to this question is that I have too many examples of good men around me, to let one bad one change my perception of all men. This blog is dedicated to the men in my life who make me want to continue to believe and to love: My father, Thomas Tucker; my children’s father, Machon Sims; my brother, Anthony Tucker, and so many other good men…you know who you are.
To my father:
I Love you for being so humble and gentle, and for allowing me to be free to make my own decisions. You have been there for me when I needed you the most, and your presence in my life these past few challenging years has made all the difference in the world to me. You are so young spirited, and as I have grown into a woman, our relationship has become a friendship that I truly enjoy. You are so funny and cool, and so easy to be around. Dad, thank you for being by my bedside last year, I couldn’t speak or see you, but I knew you were there. I heard you crying, and I felt your presence. I felt so loved by you while in that coma and I am so glad that God allowed me to live so that I can be an even better daughter to you. I know how heartbroken you are over what happened to me, your baby girl, but I will be okay because God is with me, and He is with you. I hope that you are proud of me, because I am so proud to be your daughter.
To the father of my children:
Thank you for being such an incredible man, I felt you holding my hand every day while in that coma, and I heard you praying, and keeping me posted on the kids. You have always been not just a great provider for our children, but you have been present, active, and involved in every aspect of their lives. You are balanced in the way that you father our children, and I love the examples that you are setting for them every day. We have owned homes together, run businesses together, raised children together, and buried an angel together. You continuing to be a great father to our children after six years of divorce was not a surprise to me because I would expect nothing less from you. But, you being such a good friend to me and continuing to go over and beyond what any man would be expected to do for his ex-wife, is awe inspiring. I am overwhelmed at times at what a good man you are. This past year has been the most challenging year of my life, and there is no way that I would have survived it without you. Knowing that you were caring for and nurturing our children has allowed me to have peace and heal. Marrying you and raising children with you was the most important thing that I have done in my life, and I am so grateful. Thank you for being my friend, my daddy at times, my counselor, and most importantly…thank you for being such an amazing father to our children. I want you to be happy, to be free, and to find love again. You are my family and you always will be…I love you and I appreciate you. Thank you so much for loving me all these years…
To my big brother,
You have been loving me and protecting me my entire life. You are gracious, loving, and extremely kind. Big brother, I have been walking four steps behind you my entire life and I was so proud to follow in your footsteps. I love you for standing in the gap for dad when needed, and being a brother and a father to me. I love you because you are hardworking and driven to succeed. I love you for being courageous and resilient in spite of the odds that were against us. I love you for showing me the way out of our environment; education saved us both. I love you for being just as vulnerable as you are strong. I love you for the respect that you show our mother, you are an amazing son. I love you for being that person that I can always count on, you have never let me down. I love you because you are passionate about your children, I get joy from watching you with them. You are the best big brother in the entire world, I could not have asked for better. Thank you for being here for me during the most horrific time in my life, you have been my rock and my best friend. I love you so much, Quinn, and I am so proud to call you my brother.
A Special thanks to the other good men that I know:
Thank you all for helping my heart to mend by showing me daily examples of what a man and a father should be. Because of my wonderful male friends, I have decided to allow my tragedy to make me better and not bitter. Your words of encouragement, donations, and the lending of your resources has made me feel loved and safe during the most horrific time of my life. I love you all for being such good friends to me, and for being such great men.
A special thanks to: Charles Sperling, Odis Williams, Joseph David Smith, Stanley Nelson, Dr. Benjamin Stong, Dr. Robert Spence, CP, Monroe, Warren Mitchell, Jejuan Hall, Bustrum Perterson, Walter Jordan, Ralph Long III, Trevor Roseberry, Dexter Rhymes, Robert Rhymes, Jasper Cain, Keith Gulley, Marc Michael, Clint Browning, Marques Neal, Corey Allen, Niqua Jones, Ronald Sims, Marlon Nichols, Allan Rock, Dante Charles, Frank Thornton, Homer McEwen, Kevin Ware, Maceo Heard Jr., and several others. I have not spoken to most of you, but I know you are there, supporting me through your efforts and donations. All of you make me proud to know you because you are great fathers to your children. You let me know that it is still safe to be a woman in this world because you have shown me so much love and concern.
Happy Father’s Day, with all my love,