Mental Health Warrior: Aneesa Foddrell

Aneesa Foddrell, a Youth Development Specialist with Positive Action and the Teen Outreach Program®, came to Family Service of Roanoke Valley through a unique path. With a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Aneesa spent nearly six years as a state correctional officer in an adult facility.

You read that right. I, too, was surprised and very curious as to what led her to work in prevention with children and teens.

As a correctional officer, Aneesa spent many days learning about the people staying in the facility where she worked. A lot of them told her they didn’t have positive role models as children and young adults.

“They would tell me that finding ‘street love’ was how they got by and ending up with the wrong crowd lead them to make bad decisions for themselves. I started to see that working with juveniles could stop that pattern.”

Aneesa has always wanted to help people and give back to her community. The same path that led her to help people in the criminal justice system also inspired her to work with teens, and help them avoid unhealthy decisions and involvement with police or courts.

Now she spends her days in school and community center settings, encouraging young people to have a healthy sense of self. When she’s not doing that, Aneesa can be found with her pitbulls (Julie and Jasper) at a dog park. She also enjoys watching Orange is the New Black (obvi), Life Sentence, and Grace and Frankie.

Her favorite quote embodies her passion to help others:

“You need to understand that life isn’t what you’re given; it’s what you create, what you overcome, and what you aim to achieve that makes life beautiful.”