Brigitte Christmon: Identity is not a box you check on the census

As the child of an interracial couple, Brigitte Christmon’s home life was conflicted. After her father’s recent passing, Brigitte realized she had to carve out a new normal for her all-black sisters and black family and all-white brothers and white family (she was the only one born without siblings from shared parents). Brigitte always felt her life was compartmentalized the way she dressed and communicated and that would vary between white and black worlds. She simply got used to the idea of keeping her white family and her black family equally separated in boxes. As she grew older and began to plan her marriage, having children, and living life, she slowly began to tire from all the separation. Today, she’s creating a new normal for her family…unapologetically forward.

Ibrahima Sow: Culture Shock + Compassion = Community

Coming to the United States at a young age, Ibrahima Sow endured a number of experiences that qualified as culture shock. Navigating his way in this new world, he met each challenge with heart and courage all the while determined to maintain his identity. What he learned is something that we can all benefit from; when culture shock is met with compassion, it can create a vibrant and strong community.

Lachandra Baker: Love via special delivery

Lachandra Baker has always been at home being an independent, single woman. It’s all she’s ever known. She grew up with two single, independent women raising her (grandmother & mother). All of the marriages in Lachandra’s family, with one exception, ended in divorce. All of them. Some even got married multiple times. Lachandra never saw marriage as being a part of her life. But then, one day in her mid-30s, she met the man who would take her on a different journey…one that would challenge and change her "solo sistah" status. The single-woman home she’d made for herself was instantly renovated into a married one. It wasn’t the easiest renovation either. The ideas of compromise and partnership were very difficult in the early days. But as the years have gone by and they have weathered many storms together. Lachandra’s new home foundation as a wife has been built with solid footing.

CJ Churchill: The road from homelessness to real estate

CJ Churchill is a man that has overcome many obstacles in his life. One of the most challenging was growing up as a homeless teen with his mother. After living in homeless shelters and experiencing that as a way of life to survive, CJ now devotes much of his time to helping those in need. Volunteering at various homeless shelters is a way for him to give back and help provide hope to those that need it most. Once homeless and now a successful real estate agent, CJ wants to share his story of what home really means to him.

Dr. Christine Corbett Moran: Postcards from the South Pole

Software engineer, research scientist, astrophysicist, professor, and hopeful astronaut (she was recently one of the 50 finalists invited to interview in Houston, Texas, for the NASA Astronaut Candidate Class of 2017), Christine Corbett Moran has done a lot. One recent venture of her work took her to the far reaches of the globe. Christine made her home in Antarctica for ten long months as she worked on the South Pole Telescope. She will tell her story about what her home was like in a most uninhabitable place.

Carol Taylor: Overcoming adversity by building resilience

Adverse childhood experiences change how the brain sees and responds to the world. Building resilience through loving, nurturing, safe relationships is the key to helping people succeed. Carol Taylor shares how people in her life have modeled building resilience.

Speak Williams: Home is a place you create when you create

Growing up in poverty and being abused by his father did not provide much in the way of escape or new environments. Speak Williams learned to find his "home" in the arts. He will tell us his story of how creative expression provided him the home he desperately needed.

Eileah Ohning: Rebellion is not a four-letter word

Longing life to be about something valuable, in 2015 Eileah Ohning gave away most of her belongings and moved into her car forsaking the idea of “house as home.” Eileah lived this way for the following year and became rooted in a community focused on alternative living situations. All this has given her several opportunities to question and process the meaning of “home.”

Richard Duarte Brown: Using art as a medium to build relationships

In the 5th grade, Richard Duarte Brown met his teacher, Mr. William Steele. It would be from this man where Duarte would learn, in one short year, what it meant for him to be a man. As Duarte grew up without a father, Mr. Steele would eventually prepare him with the lesson that in order to find home, he would need to leave home. Duarte left home and found art.

Blaise Balazire: A refugee story

Born in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Blaise Balazire had a good life. He was part of a happy family, attended a good school, and his city was thriving. However, in 2005 when he was just 15, Blaise was forced to flee his homeland with his brother because of the impending violence and insecurity all around him. Blaise found himself in a refugee camp in Uganda where he would remain for the next 11 years. After arriving in the United States in September of 2016, Blaise is working hard to make a life for himself in this new world. He would like to share his story of life in a refugee camp and illustrate his personal struggles and triumphs.
Walter Armes Learning Center
at Whitehall-Yearling High School
675 S. Yearling Road
Whitehall, OH 43213
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