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Stephanie Robtoy



I'm someone who comes from a family with what I like to call "generational curses". Growing up in a small town with a well-known last name - which for generations had a negative reputation for things such as drinking, drug use, and run ins with the law. I constantly felt like I had to prove who I wasn't before being trusted or accepted among my friends’ parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Eventually I took the path I thought I was meant to be on. I started drinking, drugging, and getting in trouble of my own. That earned me a reputation of my own as well.

After what seemed like a lifelong of addiction something happened, and it changed my life. Not really knowing it, just going with what I "had to do" at the time, I decided to take action to get into recovery. From there I've learned so much about myself, my life and most importantly those "Generational curses". I learned that I do not have to be like others who came before me. That I was not doomed for life just because of where I came from, and it is possible to break the cycle. As my actions started to change so did my reputation, looking back it was like magic to go from the girl who kept her head down in shame to the women who looked everyone in the eye and smiled when I passed them. I realized I got a second chance at life- I was most definitely headed toward death or life (if not close to it) in prison. I had done jail time and I knew it was only a matter of time before my daily life caught up with me and I'd do more. The longer I stayed clean and the more work I did on myself, the more I realized I wasn't hopeless, I didn't blow my chances and there are career opportunities out there for me. For years when it came to employment, I stopped trying for jobs I thought were "above me" because I was sick of getting judged by what I looked like on paper rather than who I really am and the talents and skills I possess.

When I heard the mission of Working Fields, I instantly felt love and excitement inside. Like YES, this is what people like me have needed, a place who believes in humans enough to give us a second chance!! I've always dreamt of working with people who are struggling and help them realize it is possible to live better, to live different- no matter what your past has looked like, no person is hopeless. The most amazing thing is to see the light come on in someone else's eyes and for them to realize their own potential, at Working Fields I get to take part in that every single day.

I've realized through my own journey that we all need each other, I needed other people in my life to help me change the story I told myself. I thought I didn't have the resources so I couldn't do much with my life - once I learned to be resourceful with what I did have, the skills I already had and the people I had access to, I was able to climb out of the life I was living. My passion is to help others do the same, each of us has so much potential we just need to realize it and believe in ourselves enough to try a new action. It's something I work towards daily, it's not easy to unlearn behaviors I've been practicing most of my life, it's definitely not easy to change the story I believed about myself my whole life, but I strive daily to live aligned with my values (surprisingly I found out I have those) and continue to be the person I never thought I could become. I still, on occasion have those times where I have to prove who I'm not before given the same chance others might get but I've learned to be my authentic self and to not sacrifice that for anyone; that's the beauty of what we do here- we help people get a chance to show who they really are before being rejected because of what it looks like they're not on paper and that is what keeps me showing up to work every day, to fight for those who might not otherwise get the chance to show the world how amazing they really are.