“I am not who other people say I am; I am who God wants me to be.”
Celebrate a community leader in Kensington, Port Richmond & Fishtown!
Healing and helping Kensington
Reprinted in part from PACDC Magazine
For Brenda Mosley, her neighborhood of Kensington is full of possibility. The magic, according to Mosley, “is hope, the willingness to stand together. … The magic is that we don’t give up.”
But she didn’t always see it that way. Since her childhood, Mosley was always on the defense. Her life was full of destruction and despair up until June 2, 1991. That was the day she met someone who believed in her, even though she didn’t yet believe in herself. Mosley joined a 12-step program for recovery, took control of her life, and realized, “I am not who other people say I am; I am who God wants me to be.”
At 39, Mosley went back to get her GED, earned her associate’s degree from community college, got her nursing license from Gwynedd Mercy, earned her bachelor’s from Temple University, and ultimately became a registered nurse. Along the way, Mosley began to love school and love life. Once she saw what life could give her, she knew she had to give back.
Darkness and pain
After getting clean and regaining custody of her daughter, Mosley began the process of opening a nonprofit to support children with disabilities and their families, like her daughter who lived with severe cerebral palsy. On the day she was set to finalize the process, her daughter passed away.
The grief and pain that came with that loss were unbearable. “It was me and her against the world,” said Mosley. The death of her daughter led her to relocate to Kensington. “I was so full of darkness and pain, I wanted to put myself in a place that mirrored how I felt.”
That was seven years ago. Today, Mosley is a key figure in Kensington. While at Rock Ministries, she connected with someone who worked at NKCDC who invited her to join the first class of NKCDC’s Community Health Workers. From there, Mosley and several other women from that first class (affectionately known as the “Trauma Ladies”) developed a trauma-informed community engagement toolkit that now guides NKCDC’s community development work.
“Thanks to the leadership of Ms. Mosley and the other ‘Trauma Ladies,’ trauma-informed community development is not a stand-alone program or the business of just one department,” said Bea Rider, Director of Resource Development and Communications at NKCDC. “It has transformed the way that NKCDC does its work across operational departments and continues to inform our way forward. Ms. Mosley has been a spokesperson for the curriculum and the trauma-informed model with funders, partners, and city-wide.”
In 2021, Ms. Brenda was given the Community Leader Award by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. That same year she launched her own nonprofit, By Faith, Health and Healing Inc., which offers support groups for mothers with special needs children, loss of loved ones, and stress-related issues.
“Ms. Mosley is a force for community engagement and resident empowerment in Kensington,” Bea Rider said. She has been sponsoring people with addiction for 29 years. She serves a block captain, delivers meals to seniors, volunteers as a Community Connector, and is now certified as a Community Health Worker.
Ms. Brenda leads by example with incredible passion and heart. She mentors new CHW trainees and Community Connectors throughout Kensington and Fairhill through the We CAN crime reduction collaborative with HACE and Impact Services. She also served as a community representative on the executive director search committee convened by NKCDC’s Board of Directors in 2020.
Brenda Mosley believes her greatest accomplishments lie in the day to day work of helping her neighbors and supporting people in need. Through all of her efforts, she is helping to create a world where there is “more love than hate, more giving than take, more wellness than sickness, more peace than anguish, and more joy than tears.”