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Rising Stars: Meet Raquel Willis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raquel Willis.

Hi Raquel, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am a California girl who moved to Minnesota to create a better life for myself and my son. We moved here 4 years ago, hoping for new opportunities. With better schools and greater hopes of building a strong career here, I was able to create a life for us, making new friends and opening myself up to new things. I am a Navy veteran who honorably served 5 years in the military and then went on to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Biola University. I used my degree and my passion for serving others to get into the human services field and have worked with underserved populations for the last 10 years. I have been on a healing journey that began in 2012 and now I’m publishing a book for other Single Black mothers which will be a guide to healing for them and a way forward in raising children in a world that doesn’t see their beauty or worth.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve experienced overcoming narcissists, childhood trauma, depression and suicidal thoughts. I’ve made it my mission to help others heal and advocate for mental health, especially within the Black community, as well as for veterans and mothers. I’ve also experienced relationship loss and deep sadness and trying to regain a sense of self-worth and make a way out of no way. I’ve struggled as a single mother and now I’m thriving in a leadership position within the disability services community in the twin cities.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am currently the Community Outreach Director for RUMI which is a disability services company that helps people with disabilities connect with caregiver roommates to help them establish more independence and choice and have a great alternative to a group home. I also served as a Mental Health Practitioner, Psychiatric Associate, and Mental Health Case Manager for other nonprofits within the community. I am most proud that I have a passion for helping others, especially mothers, young women trying to find their way, people of color experiencing struggles and disadvantages in a system set up against them, and doing all of this while raising a young black boy in America. What sets me apart from others is that I have a purpose and passion that I am living out fully and going for what I believe in while maintaining my values. I have high integrity and a love for helping people. I also love to write and I plan to write self-help books, poetry books, children’s books, guided healing journals and so much more and build up a business and non-profit to help young girls and boys gain emotional intelligence, high self-esteem, get into colleges with scholarships, and get the mental health services and support that they deserve. I am known for being both a counselor and healing coach to those I know and love and anyone in need.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
The qualities and characteristics that I feel are most important to my success are my will and drive to succeed against all odds, keeping balance and peace of mind, staying focused and driven, being honest and helpful to others, using my voice to help those most disadvantaged in the community and using what I’m most passionate about in the purpose that God has for my life.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @boundlessblackmoms
  • Facebook: Raquel Marlanna

Image Credits
Minnesota Social Services Association (Rumi Picture)

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