As a Chester native, I have witnessed the impact of gun violence on the city and first hand in 2002 when my older brother was gunned down. I often reflect on my grief and healing process and when I look at my mother who lost her only son and wonder “how did she get through?” and “How did WE get through?” For me, understanding the process of grief and loss, accepting the support of others, learning healthy ways to cope with the loss, and finding ways to memorialize and remember my oldest brother continue to help me get through. My goal is to help others understand trauma, how it influences what we do and think, and ways to turn our pain into purpose. When I learned about the trauma-grief group, I immediately started to brainstorms ways to get involved. This was the opportunity I had been praying for. The opportunity to give back, what was given to me. HOPE! It has been a pleasure being a part of and working with the Chester Community Coalition and all of the group participants. Witnessing the resiliency and willingness to be vulnerable as families navigate through the process of healing, is a heart-warming and rewarding experience.

Lashira Council earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, she graduated from Springfield College earning her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Shortly after, she became a licensed professional and certified advanced drug and alcohol counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Lashira specializes in providing trauma-informed individual and group therapy in a variety of settings. She has over 16 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with mental health, co-occurring, and substance use disorders. She is works full-time at the Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center as a Clinical Supervisor who assists with overseeing outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services. Lashira joined the coalition as a child group facilitator in September 2019. Her passion for helping others shows in the relationships she builds and sense of trust and safety she creates.

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