Photography by LORI SPARKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends – are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES.
Karisa Hardy’s life journey is a powerful example of resilience and gratitude. She’s a beacon for the remarkable resources that the Methodist Family Health Arkansas Center for Addictions Research Education & Services offers. This treatment program provides a family-centered approach for women and their children, reducing maternal substance abuse while promoting healthy families through education and advocacy. Karisa shares her story and admiration for Methodist Family Health.
A graduate of the Arkansas CARES program, Karisa attributes the organization to her life’s remarkable trajectory. After experiencing a challenging environment throughout her childhood, Karisa summoned the strength to create her own path of positive transformation. She explains, “I began dedicating my life to change and breaking the generational curses that so many, including myself, expected to be my reality.” She adds, “CARES believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself; they gave me the tools and showed me how to use them. Without them, I would not be where I am today.”
A unique benefit that Arkansas CARES offers to clients is the opportunity to have their children with them during treatment. “CARES doesn’t just help the individual; it focuses on the entire family.” Karisa elaborates, “There is so much shame associated with a parent having an addiction; the chances of them being able to get clean for themselves and their kids is not likely without having a program like this.” Substance abuse and mental illness are addressed simultaneously – families are together throughout the process.
Now, six years in recovery, Karisa is working toward a master’s degree in social work and plans to specialize in clinical mental health. “From someone who needed help from the system, I want to be able to give that back. I want to help individuals overcome the difficulties they face in life. I cannot wait to be able to help individuals overcome their daily battles.” This testament of unwavering conviction and compassionate service is at the heart of the Methodist Family Health vision for building better, healthier communities. “I have big plans and goals for myself and my family and am determined to reach them.” Karisa notes that her family and her experiences provide inspiration as she leans into this quote, “Going through my darkest times has produced my brightest days.” This journey from hardship to happiness is Karisa’s gratitude in the world as she help others facing obstacles. “Today, I am free! Today, I have hope, a will to live, and a purpose. Today, I have goals.”