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Inside the Bricks - Episode 4: It's About Being Ready

Shakira Collier spends a lot of time thinking about health.

Up until recently, though, it’s been mostly other people’s health the 24-year-old considers. She works as a home health aide, where her job is to look after those who aren’t able to tend to themselves.

But when first I met her earlier this year, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic, she told me things were about to become a lot less one-sided.

"I'm not about to play around," she told me. "I’m about to stop smoking, all that. I’m about to get myself together. I’m trying to lose weight, I wanna go back to school."

She likes her job fine. It feels good to help people. But it also keeps her stationary, waiting around in clients' homes until they need something.

That doesn't feel good in her body or her mind.

Shakira invited me to follow her as she turned over several new leaves. She wanted to eat better, start exercising. We even made plans to start jogging together.

Then, life took a few unexpected turns — turns that affected her ability to carry through on her plans and tested her resilience.

On this episode of Inside the Bricks: Woodhill Homes, we examine what it takes to remain committed to goals of health and wellness in a neighborhood that — decades after formal redlining was outlawed — continues to be passed over for private investment.

We also hear from yoga teacher Kimberly Archibald Russell, who works to improve the health and wellness of her community by drawing people to her classes through consistency and commitment.

And neighborhood organizer Julian Khan looks back on the too-brief life of Rayshawn Armstrong, who frequently performed his poetry and stories at Woodhill Homes in an effort to lift people's spirits.

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