Bringing More Healing to the Hood
Who am I? My name is Delayna Dobbins. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have been doing this work professionally for 9 years; my primary professional experience has been with children, adolescents, parents, families, and community groups. Healthy Afrikan people and families are my passion.
What’s my story? I attended Illinois State University to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology (focus on social stratification and inequality) and a Master’s in Social Work (Practice with Children and Families). Including the time spent earning my “degrees”, I lived in downstate Illinois for 14 years. I never planned to live in Chicago again… I thought Chicago was crazy hectic and I had grown comfortable in small town America. But that was not the intentions of The Almighty or The Ancestors.
Through a gut-wrenching, ego shattering, professional debacle, I returned to live in my home city of Chicago in the summer of 2013. At the time, I was very unsure of WHY I was suddenly uprooted from my comfortable lifestyle as a State employee in a rural area and thrust into this urban community. I was not happy about coming to live in Chicago. I just kept thinking, “I don’t deserve this”. I was afraid of practicing social work in the city. I was angry that lies and racial discrimination had taken away my cozy salary and coveted position. I felt confused because I thought that if I worked hard and stayed honest, I’d be rewarded. Anger, fear, confusion… I experienced so many emotions with these changes. I slowly learned that I just wasn’t calling the shots at that time. My path (to destiny) was more curvy and bumpy than I ever thought it would be.
As I got used to living in the city (first I was in the suburbs, then the west side, now the south side), I observed high levels of dysfunction happening in the predominantly Black (Afrikan) neighborhoods. I could see that much was lacking, yet there were strengths to build on. As I looked critically at the social structure of our “community”, I began to observe that the greatest obstacle to our uplift was our own mental/emotional/spiritual state. On a small scale, individual mental health (violence, trauma, stress, self-esteem, disorders, etc) and family functioning (structure, parenting, conflict resolution, communication, etc) are at the base of many issues that Afrikans in the city are struggling with. I have the skill and passion to (further) positively impact these issues!
What am I doing to contribute to change? Currently, I teach parenting and provide counseling to teen mothers all over the Chicagoland area (North, South, West, and Suburbs). But as a mental health professional, I want to do more; I many not have voluntarily come back to the city, but I have determined that I will use that situation to benefit my people. Therefore, I have begun to offer my professional mental health services in an under-served community for an extremely affordable/discounted cost, meaning clients who opt to pay without medical insurance will receive more than a 65% reduction in the costs of service according to an income based sliding fee scale. As a private practitioner, I am hardly bound by the politics of companies or governments who benefit from the social dysfunction in the Afrikan community. Currently, I travel around to offer my professional services in the evenings, but I need to acquire a physical office space since my business is expanding faster than I thought it would!! This office space will be transformed into a safe space where individuals, couples, families, parents, and groups can come to heal and be strengthened. As Afrikan people, we can hardly obtain further economic, political, or social progress and sovereignty until the least of us receives some mental and emotional healing and I am committed to doing my part to bring healing to under-served populations. This is where I need the financial support of my network!
What you can do to help this cause? I am asking my network to support me by making a contribution, small or large. Whatever you feel open to contributing will certainly be appreciated and allocated responsibly. All donors will receive a Thank You Salute and a reward specific to the level of contribution. For contributions greater than $40, you will receive the custom “Built to Last” shirt. This crowdfunding campaign is REWARDS BASED; with rewards-based crowdfunding, donors receive an immediate and tangible reward for their contribution, as well as the value of knowing they have helped to meet a community need! All donor rewards will be mailed out approximately two weeks after the campaign has ended. Please note that Dobbins Clinical Consulting (DCC) is a Black Owned Business that supports other Black Owned Businesses. This crowdfunding site, bbnomics.com, was selected over other popular websites because it is a Black Owned Business and they raise funds with Black people in mind! Also the apparel company www.freebreakfastapparel.com that I have partnered with to design and print the donor reward shirt is a Black Owned Business based in Chicago. DCC believes in supporting our wellness as a community and also our economic uplift as a community!
What am I going to do with your Contribution? I am going to set up an office space where clients will be offered low-cost mental health services and professional counseling. Simply put, I’m going to pay the rent, buy furniture, office supplies, and other operating expenses for the first several months. Without the support of my network, I could save more money from my meager salary to build this space on my own, but it would take several months to achieve operation status and during those months I’d have to turn away people seeking support services. Currently, I am receiving calls from potential clients and I have not even begun to advertise!! How exciting is that? Please know that I will be accountable for the contributions collected; all donors will be invited to a grand opening of the Dobbins Clinical Consulting office to see how your generosity has materialized!
I know that I have embarked on another level of my destiny towards the healing and strengthening of Afrikan families; I’m a little frightened about making such a public campaign, but I’m super motivated to pour out what I see is needed in our community. I have purposed in my heart to not just be a person who talks about the problems in our community, but I will be a professional who acts to improve the issues in our community!! The honorable ancestor Malcolm X once said, “When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘We’, even illness becomes wellness. Please show your support today with a contribution to help support and promote wellness and “healing in the hood”!!
About the shirt design: The shirt is designed in collaboration with the Free Breakfast Apparel company. The shirt shows a depiction of the ancient pyramids of Kemet (Egypt) Afrika. These structures were built over five thousand years ago in one of the great Afrikan civilizations of our ancestors. These Afrikan people came together with a spirit of cooperation, coupled with great organization, and thus built a great nation; with cooperation and organization, those structures were “Built to Last”. Much like those structures, the Afrikan people on the mother continent and throughout the diaspora, are “Built to Last”! We’ve come through so much, and yet we are still standing! But as Afrikan people, we need each other for support! As you support this business venture, Dobbins Clinical Consulting is here to offer support to the individuals, families, and the community.
Please visit www.dobbinsclinicalconsulting.com for more information about the agency.
Medase pa (Thank you) in advance and Abibifahodie (African Liberation Now) from the bottom of my heart!
Delayna Dobbins, LCSW
Counselor and Afrikan Family Specialist