We had the good fortune of connecting with Kareem Dixon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kareem, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe risk is having the trust and faith when deliberately taking a chance, or making a change in life/career. Not knowing what lies ahead and having no fear. It is the ultimate belief in my skills, abilities and adaptability when working towards dreams/goals.

Risk taking has played a major role in my life/career. The first risk I took to get my adult life started was enlisting into the United States Marine Corps when I was 18. At this point, I really did not have many options coming out of the South Bronx in the early 1990’s. I really was not prepared for what my future would bring. The military has been part of my family’s generation for many decades. I was familiar with its benefits, but never considered it until my back was against the wall. It was a quick thought and decision, very risky. My younger siblings needed the space in our home and it was time for me to leave. Taking the risk of joining the Marines early in life prepared me to take risks when necessary throughout my life.

The role that risk taking has played in my life is one that helped me understand that preparation prior to risk taking is very important; especially in life/career. For the most part, risk taking is about advancement, for self, family and community. With proper planning risk taking becomes an investment, a practice, a commitment. With that comes self-reliance, discipline, poise, self-direction, courage and self-confidence.

I have also learned that risk taking does not mean you will always reach your goals and dreams. Well maybe not the way envisioned, but if you keep pushing, time will reveal.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Dula’s Neighborhood art is educational art or word art. It is art that sparks a mind to focus on a central concept/idea. In a group setting and safe environment, the art is used as a tool to engage participants in a thought provoking and reflective way. Sharing from life experiences connected to the educational /word art concept presented. This practical technique opens the group up to honest healthy conversations. Which in turn leads to learning from one another, as well as, learning about each other.

It took 49 years to get to where I am today, as the founder of Dula’s Neighborhood. To get here I had to overcome many different challenges in my life. More emotional than physical. From failures to loss of life/love and doubts, to hard work and dedication no matter the obstacles. Not much different than most challenges people face on this/their journey. One of the best lessons I learned while overcoming challenges throughout my journey is, how to cope and manage the stress that comes in a more positive way. I let the challenge fuel me instead of deflate me. Most times when challenges arrive, they cause me to change/adjust my direction or perspective in what I am doing/thinking. Overtime I have learned that life challenges actually move us closer to where we need to be in our life. I have accepted that I am not in control of anything except my reaction as I move forward. Regardless of the situation, pain and or loss; eventually we learn and heal. Adding those lessons to my understanding prepares me for when the next unexpected in life happens and shakes me up.

Dula’s Neighborhood is all about serving the community in an uplifting and positive manner. Dula’s Neighborhood believes that self-care activities and practices are key components to an overall healthy life, community and society. Our mission is to inspire self-love, mindfulness and expression. Our objectives are to promote mental health awareness and positive change through creative expression and community healing. Dula’s Neighborhood uses a combination of Art activities and Social and Emotional Learning techniques to transform how participants connect to their past and build a better future.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a best friend was visiting me in Tacoma, WA, for a week with no rain only sunny days…

Day 1 of the itinerary will consist of a visit and walk at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA. The park started out as a military reservation in the 1840’s due to its location and overview of the Puget Sound. Today, Point Defiance Park offers a look and feel of Tacoma prior to mass community building. It has tons of huge trees, lots of greenery, colorful flowers/plants, and a 5 miles drive or walk trail that leads to a waterfront. I will prepare/cook dinner the 1st night; fresh salmon, baked/broiled brussel sprouts, baked potatoes and salad.

Day 2 we will visit The Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA. This is one of the main attractions in the city. It is always packed with friendly people, and if you spend enough time there you are sure to find a nice treasure made just for you. The Pike Place Market began selling produce to the public in August 1907, it is the longest running market in the area. Today, the multilevel market is home to more than 500 shops, vendors, restaurants, and bars.

Day 3 we will visit the Space Needle, Seattle, WA. The Space Needle is considered to be the Icon of the city. The birds eye view from the Space Needle’s observation deck is a lasting memory, worth the trip to the Pacific Northwest. We will also have lunch/dinner at The Loupe Lounge located at the Space Needle. The Loupe Lounge is the world’s first and only revolving glass floor located on the 500-foot level of the Space Needle. The Loupe Lounge makes a revolution around the skyline every 30 minutes.

Day 4 we will pack a small bag and take a drive out to Pacific Beach, WA. It is about 3 hours away from Tacoma, WA. Pacific Beach is open for exploring, walking, and listening to the surf. The wide-open sands are perfect for flying kites, enjoying a picnic and listening to music, or just relaxing with good company, the beautiful sun and fresh air.

Day 5 we will drive out to the HOH Rainforest, Olympic National Park. It is about a 2 hour drive from Pacific Beach. The HOH Rainforest is one of the most spectacular temperate rainforests in the world. Mosses and ferns blanket the ground, while lush canopies of trees shade you from above. Mist and fog only add to the mystique. The beauty of HOH Rainforest is that it has something eye opening for all who visit. We will be able to explore a variety of trails that lead to small waterfalls, cascades and snow-covered mountains if we push ourselves deep into the forest.

Day 6 we will return to Tacoma and enjoy our last day with dinner at Duke’s Seafood Restaurant located at the Ruston Way Waterfront of Tacoma, WA. The restaurant overlooks the Puget Sound and has a wonderful view of Mount Rainier on a clear day/early evening.

Day 7 will consist of breakfast, juice and coffee, and a smooth ride to SEATAC airport for my friend.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my family near and far. Without them I would not be me, and I am very thankful and grateful for their continued love, support and encouragement throughout my journey.

Website: dulasneighborhood.com

Instagram: @dulasneighborhood

Facebook: @dulasneighborhood

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