My story matters because I matter – Brene Brown


After struggling to come up with a good way of introducing interested community partners to the participants at Robin’s Hope while preserving the participant’s privacy, we have arrived at this idea for a monthly blog/newsletter/social media post.  Participants will be invited to share their answers to a set of questions.  They will pair their story with an image that represents them.  This way everyone can share in what we are doing at Robin’s Hope and have a chance to celebrate the amazing folks that hang out with us each week.

I am a PRS and intern with Robin’s Hope in mental health recovery. I like camping and being outside, hugging, mutual aid, plant babies, and discovering new things about myself and my friends.

Michael James-Deramo

How did you first hear about Robin’s Hope?  What does Robin’s Hope mean to you now?

I was suggested Robin’s Hope by a good friend shortly after moving to Richmond – a move that had a primary goal of rebuilding a sense of safety and connecting with a new community. Robin’s Help helped me do both of these things by providing me with the community to support me in helping myself, learning about myself, and investing in what I want to be. Robin’s Hope was what I needed to rediscover parts of myself that I love an feel at home within.

What is one memory of Robin’s Hope that stands out or one accomplishment you have made that stands out for you?

I spent eight months on the waiting list for a DBT program, when I made my way to the top of the list I discovered the treatment would be prohibitively expensive. Robin’s Hope mentors encouraged me to learn about DBT myself create a space in which I can hold myself accountable for engaging in the skills. I found some PDF’s, some podcasts and started a group. This was a huge step forward in my recovery.

What is your favorite group (or most impactful)?  Why?

My favorite group has been my own of DBT skills and strategies because it has forced me to play multiple roles both of someone who is researching the skill, someone who is participating in learning the skill, and someone who is holding the space to help others in learning the skill.

I also really enjoy RISE. The conversations it creates take what feel like simple concepts, unpack them, and rebuild them with our informed stories and experiences.

What makes Robin’s Hope unique?

I don’t feel like I am being told what to do at Robin’s Hope, instead I am being given the opportunity to do the things myself. Furthermore I feel like I am really heard and that my contributions are valued.

What motivates you to come back to Robin’s Hope every week?

The community and the excitement for the future. I look at the progress I’ve been able to make in the last two years with the support of Robin’s Hope – it allows me to start imagining possibilities and futures for myself that I couldn’t before. I am not just learning to stay alive, I’m slowly learning to thrive.

What does the saying “Take your drama to the trauma llama” mean to you?

Take your experience to those who have their own lived experience because together you can learn more from it, in collaboration and community