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Lifelong Learners: Christina Ford, on Stepping Up

President and CEO, The Rebound Foundation Inc.

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It’s been just two years since Christina Ford and her family moved to Springfield from Nashville after her husband, Dana, was hired as Missouri State University’s men’s basketball coach. Since then, she’s launched two transitional homes for survivors of domestic abuse and taught prevention education to thousands of students.

“I didn’t think when we first got here that we’d have the opportunity to have a large impact. This is a smaller community, so I thought small, but it’s actually been the reverse,” she says.

Ford says stepping up to meet a need in Springfield has worked because the community embraced her mission with The Rebound Foundation Inc.

“(Springfield) had an open mind about who we were and how we wanted to make an impact,” she says. “It does feel like a place that is looking to change and better itself.”

Ford says the vision for the nonprofit’s Marda’s House transitional housing program came from God and her own experiences. She and her mother are survivors of domestic abuse.

“Sometimes we go through things in life, and I feel like it’s important to help others through the trial that you went through,” she says.

And she has plans to keep growing the nonprofit. A third Marda’s House is opening in Chicago, Ford’s hometown, this summer.

Ford’s advice on stepping up

Just start
“Look at other people’s stories. Everyone started small. When you look at the larger nonprofits and you learn about their stories, it literally was one person who had a vision and continued to go with that vision. I found a lot of strength and encouragement from visiting nonprofits and learning about how they started.”

Don’t limit yourself
“Compared to others, we’re a small organization. That should not stop you. Everybody has a place. Don’t put yourself in a box and limit yourself on the impact you can have. If we would have done that, I always think about the women and children. What about them? It’s the who.”

Use your story
“Life is going to happen. It’s how you respond. You give back and you do what you can. When you see a need you can fill, you need to fill it. It’s hard some days. When I am hearing stories about abusers, it triggers my own experiences. You have to relive that every single time almost. Then you get through that, which is not always easy, and you look at the growth. Opening up about something heavy and bad in your life is brave.”

Practice self-care
“It’s a dark line of work. Some days I tell my partner who I do prevention education with, I’ve got to step back. It might be an abrupt decision, but I feel like it’s becoming overwhelming and I have to take a day. It’s not easy to face this kind of work when you’ve been personally affected by it. We’re so busy taking care of everybody else we forget to take care of ourselves and it just crashes. You have to practice some self-care.”

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