Meet Memphis Allies: Life Coach Silvia Leads with Passion and Purpose
At 19, Silvia was the one who found her brother-in-law lifeless, shot to death, lying on the pavement of a gas station lot. A few years later, she was the victim when a man snuck up behind her and held a knife to her chest.
Those two incidents drove Silvia to step up to bring change to the community. She decided to pursue a career in life coaching and get a certificate in the discipline.
“I wanted to be a life coach,” she said. “I speak in church, and I realized I’ve been coaching all these years and didn’t know it.”
When her mother passed, Silvia created her own tools to cope with grief and would share those with her audiences.
A member of the Neighborhood Christian Centers SWITCH team told Silvia about Memphis Allies and the need for life coaches for the program.
Developed by Youth Villages with the guidance of local grassroots leaders and national experts, the SWITCH program works to identify, connect and serve individuals ages 17 to 35 who are at high risk for gun involvement.
Even though she did not come from a past of criminal activity like many of the Memphis Allies life coaches, Silvia did have challenges growing up, particularly not having a father and mother in the household.
“I was angry because you look at other people that have their parents at home,” Silvia said. “Little did I know that you can have your parents there, and things would still not be great.”
Due to this built-up resentment as a young girl, Silvia fought and ended up in six different schools. As time passed, she realized she could support others who have faced similar challenges.
Today, Silvia is a SWITCH life coach with a case load of eight individuals – young men and women.
One of her SWITCH participants, a young woman, joined the program just after her own mother had passed away. Silvia was able to relate to and guide her through coping mechanisms used in times of grief. “She’s back in college and doing great now,” Silvia said.
Silvia goes above and beyond for her participants, even when it comes to supporting their passions. “I ask them what they want to be in life, and one said, ‘I like to do nails and paint,’” the life coach said.
And that’s exactly what she did. The Memphis Allies life coach worked quickly to set up a nail care activity at a high-risk apartment complex. The activity – with painting stations and nail kits – drew SWITCH participants and others in the complex.
“It’s my passion, it’s my purpose,” Silvia said of life coaching with SWITCH. “And when you find the thing that you love to do, it is no longer work.”
Silvia and her SWITCH team provide a positive support system to those who are at high risk or are involved in gun violence. They constantly work to increase the safety in their community and spark a change in those whose flames may have never been lit.