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Hidden Gems: Meet Portia Effinger of The Recharge Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Portia Effinger.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Selma, Alabama born and Powder Springs, Georgia raised, I always felt I was purposed to help others on a grand scale. It was only a matter of figuring out the how, when, and the what to connect the dots. I recall at the age of 14, as I struggled with acceptance, isolation, and all the frustrations of being a teen, I challenged myself to dare to be different no matter what. Looking back, I feel as if I haven’t turned my back on that challenge. It was around that time, I decided I wanted to one day become a Nurse, and that decision alone became the core of my being. Serving, listening, healing, and empowering. As we flash forward 18 years later, I am the Nurse Practitioner who makes it a priority to advocate for those who feel voiceless like I one day felt. There is a certain energy you gain from helping others that compares to none, but it is also important to know when to recharge your own battery.

In 2017, I went through what was believed to be the darkest season of my life, searching for a more profound purpose. After I took a moment to get over myself, God spoke and gave me something, gratitude. I began to travel more. Traveling across the world forced me to expand my mind, shift my prospective, and connect with some very unique individuals. Consumed in my own grief, I soon realized the world is grieving, it’s a matter of how you choose to cope that defines you. Observing what others go through and listening to their stories humbled me differently this time. I felt Recharged.

Losing my stepfather while being estranged from my own, allowed me to dig greatness out of a dark space. Additionally, what I saw was my mother, the grieving parent trying to figure out how to raise a young African American boy alone, only hoping his hurt wouldn’t be as damaging as hers; as she lost her mother at the early age of 11. What I saw was how her childhood hurt negatively affected me and I’m just now starting to heal from it all. But what God saw was an opportunity! It was through generational hurt that I founded an organization that is on a mission to help grieving parents and their youth amplify their voices, heal, and feel as if they are not alone.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Having so much to say but not enough know-how to express it all, the majority of my childhood I spent internalizing what should have been discussed. Hidden behind a big smile was my unexplained grief. We are sometimes our own greatest obstacle. With that said, my toughest struggles were convincing myself that I was good enough, I do deserve this, and I could heal from whatever. Once you convince yourself that’s half the battle, at that point, the universe has to go along with it, right.

I honestly believe through working on the frontlines in this past year, my drive to raise awareness to mental health and holistic healing has evolved for the better, and I’m grateful for this. I have been able to integrate so many aspects of mental health promotion into my own practice. Sometimes in healthcare, you become numb to loss and you learn to put up this wall so that you don’t carry work with you, but I’m here to crush these stigmas. It’s my greatest mission to encourage others to GRIEVE OUT LOUD in the most creative way.

This certainly has not been the easiest journey, but it has been worth it. Starting a nonprofit in the middle of a pandemic, of course brings about financial barriers, as we thrive on donations, but this continues to push me. Giving a child the hope that they felt was lost when they lost a parent, providing that consistency that they believe never existed, or simply showing love when they felt as if no one else cared is the reason I do what I do. I speak to myself and everyone else reading when I say this: You have not been dealt a bad hand but rather, God saw that you were strong enough to cope with odds and your story is the beginning of something amazing. You must figure out how to protect your peace at all cost and if you can’t find a safe space you love, create one! The Recharge Project Incorporated is mine.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Recharge Project, Inc is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that caters to the needs of youth who have experienced the loss of a parent or primary caregiver. It was through a personal encounter with grief, I saw a community need for a stronger and more consistent support system for children experiencing this kind of loss. Our free monthly programming aims to bridge a gap that we all know has existed for years in the communities of minorities.

We may know of at least one child who may have lost one or both parents, but my questions to you are, do you know how are they doing? How do they cope? Are they really ok? Mentally and emotionally, do they have resources to heal? We have several initiatives addressing these concerns that makes us unique. These initiatives include one on one mentorship, parent coaching, community service outings, international outreach, and we will soon begin providing scholarship opportunities to children of families in need.

Children grieve too, and our objective is to connect those around the Atlanta area who share similar grief. We aim to provide a safespace to talk it out, raise awareness to the importance of healing, and encourage creative expressions of healthy coping mechanisms. No, not all of our conversations are sad, but there are times when breakthroughs happen. This is what creating a safe space is all about. The greatest thing I want everyone to know is, Yes, something like this does exist and we are here for you! Every third weekend we meet up, empower youth, navigate through taboo conversations, and have a blast while doing so. Just to add, not only do we work with children here in Atlanta, but we also work with international organizations coaching them on how to improve their mental health services offered for grieving youth in Africa. #fromatlantatoafrica

Joining our movement means you have the opportunity to become apart of something global. Whether you are a child in need, know a child in need, would like to volunteer, or even sponsor an event, we would love to hear from you.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I don’t believe much in luck, but I definitely believe in purpose. Each and every encounter since our launch in 2020 has been a true blessing. The ability to reach and relate, or touch and shift is priceless experience. I’m just happy I was able to step out on faith and go for it. The greatest gift of all is that I get to do what I love within my professional career and through my nonprofit organization. I’m not lucky, I’m beyond blessed.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nicole Hoffman Photography & @papashands

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