Together We RISE Stories of Resilience

Tanager Place and The Meraki Institute of Learning proudly present Together We Rise; a series on capturing the journeys of resilience and well-being based on the RISE: Wellness and Resilience Framework.

Be a Bright Place

Join us in this 12-part video series as we dig deep and bear witness to the stories of human resilience.

We are connecting with people in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor who have exhibited courage and strength in the face of hardship.

These individuals are here with us to share their personal story of resilience. This series will inspire hope and possibility for anyone seeking to call on their courage to show up in the midst of a struggle. You too can #BeABrightPlace.

Together We can RISE–RISE with the means to manage, restore and grow.

Meraki Institute of Learning

Together We RISE Video Series

Episode 1 Stacey Walker

In this episode, Stacey Walker, a native to Cedar Rapids, IA shares his journey. From childhood experiences of loss, trauma, and adversity to being the first African American to serve as a Linn County Supervisor, Stacey shares the power of relationship in cultivating resilience.

Episode 2 Melissa Walker

As a leader, a mother, and an advocate, Melissa Walker, Director of Philanthropy at Tanager Place shares her story of resilience. Melissa shares the importance of knowing yourself, having a community of support, and making self care a priority. These have been key to her resilience as she has navigated the sometimes difficult path of international adoption to maintain connection, belonging, and hope for each new day. 

Episode 3 Lori Ampey

As a life-long advocate for youth in our community, Lori Ampey, Director of Tanager Place LGBTQ Center and Director of Programming & Outreach at Boys & Girls Club, shares her story of resilience through finding a sense of meaning and purpose through contributing to the lives of others. In addition to being seen, accepted, and honored for who you are, finding a sense of mattering in this world creates a reason to keep going each and every day.

Episode 4 Bridgette Williams Robinson

First hand experiences with homelessness and food insecurity were transformed into a personal mission to offer a support, safety, and compassion to others in her community. Bridgette Williams Robinson has made a career as CEO of Bridge Under the Bridge, an idea that started with one altruistic act during a time of need. 

Episode 5 Alejandro Pino

Alejandro was born in Lima, Peru and immigrated to the United States with his parents and younger brother. Alejandro explores his joy in working with incredibly diverse populations and seeing the beautiful humanity in each individual and in every story. His current position at YPN has reminded him of the ability we all have to impact the life of another person in profound ways.

Episode 6 Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers, a Linn County Supervisor, is one of 10 million American’s that suffer from a co-occurring depression and substance use disorder. Ben has over 7 years of sobriety from alcohol and has been open about his struggles, journeys and lessons learned to help reduce stigma related to brain health and substance use disorders. Ben sums up his place in the world from a quote by Aeschylus (pronounced Es-Ka-lis): “Make Gentle the Life of this World”

Episode 7 Larry Johnson

A dad, therapist and avid Marvel fan, Larry Johnson, has firsthand knowledge of what it was like to be raised in the system. From a young age Larry experienced adversity and instead of being another statistic, he leaned into the services and supports that were offered and cultivated his wellness and resilience.

Episode 8 Emily Bloome

An advocate for authentic leadership, Emily Blomme, has walked the walk. Emily uses her past experiences with adversity and struggle to offer leadership that puts people first as she leads with empathy and compassion and offers a safe place for others in need.

Episode 9 John Rodriguez

In this episode, John Rodriguez, a long term Cedar Rapidian and one of CRBT's founders, John talks about how the loss of his father to suicide shaped his values of community and service. John shares the power of showing up for others and how giving back cultivates the relationships needed for ongoing well-being.

Episode 10 Deb Ferguson

A firsthand experience with losing a child to suicide, Deb Ferguson talks about her journey of grief and what life after loss was like for her. Overtime her grief transformed from suffering into offering help to others experiencing similar losses. Deb has found that the journey of healing oftentimes lends a light to others when they need it the most.

Episode 11 Kate Stanton

A mother, educator, leader and football wife, Kate Stanton talks about what life is like when you are struggling with conception, miscarriages and IVF. Kates journey of IVF empowered her to nurture her wellness and resilience through cultivating relationships, connection, meaning and purpose and self-awareness.

Episode 12 Noreen Bush

Stay Tuned... More Episodes Weekly!

This is a 12-part series. We will be adding new episodes every week, offering you another chance to be inspired as others share their story of cultivating resilience and well-being.