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"My journey through darkness has helped to enlighten me on what being alive truly means."
Zoë Worrell says that if she were to write an autobiography, her first 36 years would be formatted "in black ink, with a simple font, normal margins, and very few exclamation points.I was completely unaware that being alive encompassed more than simple survival."
When Zoë was five, she immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Then she lived in different American cities, married young, and had two children by age 21. "I settled in easily to my role of wife and mother.but I rarely questioned who I was, what I was doing, or, more importantly, where my life might be heading."
Zoë experienced the turning point of her life, when in late 1996 she says she "crashed head first into depression." But to Zoë, this was a fortuitous event. "My life has changed dramatically. I no longer watch in awe as others relay their dreams and ambitions; I no longer sit on the sidelines applauding those who achieve lifelong goals."
Zoë enrolled in college, and set herself on a path "to be enlightened and enlarged as a person [with] a greater capacity to reach out and touch others."
Along the way, she became a group leader at the Christ Church Children's Center in Middletown (Maryland); interned at a domestic violence shelter in Ireland; drafted reports for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Blue Ribbon Task Force on Mental Health, and began interning at Springfield Hospital Center, Sykesville (Maryland) that serves the mentally ill.
In addition, she offers support for family members in crisis as a member of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Fire and Rescue Critical Incident Stress Management Team; assists the homeless; and is a crisis line advocate at a domestic violence shelter.
Her goal is to establish a private social work practice and "continue to be a lifelong learner." The second half of her autobiography "will be filled with vibrant colored ink and spirited fonts," she says. "I will fill the margins with all the extras my life will hold, and I imagine an abundance of exclamation points!"
London School of Economics, Case Western Reserve University
University of California-Los Angeles
Carmina Franchesca Del Mundo
Undergraduate Transfer Scholar
University of Southern California