There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults.  We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Donnie Evans | The Artist

I am from Durham, North Carolina. Durham is a small city and there was never much to do other than party or get in trouble. When I was in high school, I was part of the party scene. After a while, it got old to me. I grew up and I wanted a change. Art had always been something I loved so I decided to take it more seriously. A lot of people who I grew up with are on bad paths in life or no longer with us. I knew I wanted something different for myself and I felt that through my art I could accomplish bigger and better things. I am thankful I made this choice because it led me to all the opportunities and people I have in my life today. My decision has also changed how people from my hometown view me. Instead of the party guy I am a dope artist. Read more>>

Michele Landers | Board Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist

I was born in the northeast. My heritage is Italian and if you know Italians, we tend to be “expressive.” And so I grew up in a dramatic environment. . As an Italian, this meant Catholic church and school. Without delving deeper, I was indoctrinated into a skewed world view. I began to question everything; why are we here? what is our purpose? Is there a God and lots of other questions that don’t have a clear cut answer. I began my career working for a neurosurgeon in administration and I can see how that “supposedly” random job, actually deepened my curiosity and my questions. I loved learning about our brain and how it functions and processes information along these tiny branches called neural pathways, Eventually we opened up a Pain Clinic and as a result I had the opportunity to witness how powerful our mind is. Read more>>

Melanie Posner | Artist & Muralist

I am from a small town right outside of Philadelphia. My upbringing was a little bit different than the average child. I spent a few years of my life away from home in residential facilities and group homes. My teenage life was managed by counselors and treatment advisors. From living the life that I once did it has made me grateful for the life that I have today. It has pushed me to never give up on my dreams and that I can accomplish anything. During that time in my life, my main source of therapy was art. I was constantly drawing to keep my mind at ease. Art saved my life when I was younger and was a constant reassurance of happiness. Those feelings is what pursued me to become a professional artist. My past has built me into the strong and successful woman I am today. Read more>>

Jared Bistrong | Sound Healer & Educator

I am the second youngest of seven children born and raised in Miami. My mother’s side of the family were among the original “Conchs” (the first non-native Florida settlers) who emigrated from the Bahamas to Key West in the early 1800’s. Although I wasn’t fully aware of the impact that these two factors had on me while growing up, as a young adult they became the foundation for all that I would do and become. Until this day, everything I do, focus on or create, can be traced back to growing up in a family of seven children. My entire adult life has been focused on cultivating those sensibilities that come along with growing up in what felt like a small tribe. I have also spent my adult life trying to fill in the gaps and nurture those areas of self-development that were delayed due to growing up with so many siblings. My background has contributed greatly to my ability as a teacher and professor and as a facilitator of community sound healings. Read more>>

Peter Polyak | Luxury Real Estate Production Director / Fine Art Painter / Resaturante Owner

Our origin is the micro community itself that we were raised in and by. I believe we were born with our own characteristics that specify the person we are. How that person cope with Life that is deeply effected by the “tribe” that gives home to the person. I had the chance to hear about all corners of the Globe from my Father who traveled and lived in all Continents except the Antarctic. He raised me with disciplines to follow the rules whatever happens. I was also lucky to have my Mom teaching about unconditional love and limitless dreams. It was (it still is) difficult to release the deeply burned in behavior of adequacy to all Life and each fellow human in it, but only then we start discovering ourself. Most of my decisions that felt great and even if somehow was wrong yet felt free and right, were made by me going against of some or a lot of disagreements. Asking opinions is natural, may feel safe and definitely smart thing. Read more>>

Raúl García Belmontes | Orchid Arrangement Creator

I am originally from a small town in Mexico named el zapote grande. We were raised surrounded by nature and our every day living including feeding depended on it. My mother migrated to the us in search of a better future and with hopes of becoming a nurse. Unfortunately and fortunately… she ended in the fields caring and reproducing plants. As a young boy we had no one to care for us on the weekends and my mother worked Monday thru Sunday so her solution was to take us to work with her. I remember from afar watching my mother tired, sweaty and full of dirt but she was smiling. I was confused because I didn’t understand why that was. Flash forward to a couple of years I was about to graduate high school and needed to work to pay for my senior activities so I entered to work in a plant nursery. That’s year I understood why my mothers smiled even when she was tired since now I was doing the same thing. Read more>>