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From The Source

Plants

Joshua Arrington

My name is Josh Arrington and it is my pleasure and honor to say that I have  known Hillary Belk for over fifteen years now.  She is one of, if not the most dedicated  people I know when it comes to helping others.  I am an alcoholic with a sobriety date  of 11/3/13.  Hillary has had an impact in not only mine, but countless other lives  through our journeys in sobriety.  She is not the reason I got sober, but watching her  for years remain sober and grow, gave me the courage to believe that I could live a  better life too.  She was always there for me when I was drinking and needed to talk to  someone.  She shows through her actions that there is a better way, and will go to any  length to help you attain the joy that sobriety brings to her.  She helped me early in  sobriety by going to countless AA meetings with me when I needed a friend.  Listening  to her share her experience in the rooms of Alcoholic Anonymous not only helped me  remain sober, but find the God of my understanding as well.  I have no doubt that we  will remain friends for many of years to come and I am very humbled to be able to say  that.
Hillary’s impact on the people around her is nothing short of a miracle.  As I  write this I get chill bumps when I think back on the impact she has had in so many  lives.   She and I have so many close friends that were just like us.  We were all tired of  doing the same thing and getting the same result.  We were more than likely going to  die in the misery of our alcoholism.  Hillary was the first person I called when I decided  to get sober and she has been by my side the entire way.  It is so inspiring to watch the  joy that helping others brings to her and the impact she has on those around her.  She  will do literally ANYTHING to help others and there is no doubt that the work she does  saves lives.  She definitely helped save mine.  When I was early in sobriety and close  friends came to me and asked, “How do you do it Josh?” I would share my story and tell  them to call Hillary.  We now have multiple friends with multiple years of sobriety and  the tools to help others themselves.  It is not only our duty in AA, but our pleasure to  help anyone that wants what we have.  Hilary is an ambassador on that front.

Image by Jessica Ruscello

Zachary P.

I met Hillary at a time when strong spiritual and emotional guidance was incredibly important to me. I was newly sober and uncertain about many things in my life. From  the moment we met, it was obvious how much she cared for my well being, and that  care showed through her each and every action. 
Whether I needed a ride from an after-hours academic event or I just needed someone  to talk to about difficulties in my school or personal life, she made herself available  24/7. And while many miles and a 6-hour time difference now separate us, I have no reason to believe she would be any less quick to come to my aid. 
It is obvious to me that Hillary gets as much from mentoring others as she puts into it, and she puts a very great deal into it. She was always able to guide me through any  doubts or uncertainties, and she was always there to celebrate my every success. She takes great joy from helping others, and I cannot adequately express the debt I owe her for all that she has brought into my life.

Image by Jonathan Borba

Chelsea N.

The first time I spoke with Hillary Belk was about 3 years ago. I was struggling with  my battle with addiction and alcoholism, and a friend got me on the phone with her. 
Without even knowing me, she let me talk about my problems. She listened. She told  me there was an easier, softer way if I was willing to take the first step. At the time, I  was unwilling and stubborn, but she showed me love and kindness in a time when I had  no love for myself. I had to hit my bottom in order to make a change, but I never forgot  the compassion I heard on the other side of that phone call. A little over two years ago,  I moved to Wilmington, NC and got sober. 
Last year, I came back home to Charlotte for the holidays. It was difficult to be back, so  I went to the Alcathon. After a meeting, a young woman approached me offering  snacks. We chatted for a bit, and I realized it Hillary. She didn’t know that I had gotten  sober. I asked her if she remembered me and immediately her face lit up with joy. As  we were talking, I made another connection. She was the student my father, had  always spoken about! My father is a Professor of Journalism at UNC Charlotte. He was  always bragging about a young woman who had single handedly started the CRC at  UNC Charlotte. At that moment, I felt the synchronicity that surrounded my  relationship with Hilary. 
A year passed and my YPR leader in Wilmington asked me to represent our chapter in  the National Leadership Conference in Denver, Colorado. I was nervous because I did  not have much experience, or know anyone else involved. Then I realized that Hillary  
was one of the 16 leaders who started YPR. I texted her, and immediately I felt that  same kindness and love from when we spoke on the phone many years ago. When we  got the conference, we were set up in the Denver University dorms as roommates and I  immediately felt at home! 
Hillary is the type of person who never meets a stranger. Her strength and love for  others makes everyone feel welcome. She has a light inside her, which makes people  feel drawn to her. I believe it’s because she makes people feel safe. Every time I chat  with Hillary, I am in awe of her accomplishments for people in recovery. Her  dedication has paved the way for people like me to find a better way for living. Our  journey together has been nothing short of a miracle. I feel as if our lives have always  been intertwined and connected in recovery. I do not know where I would be without  her love and compassion. She has proven to be the example of recovery in which I  strive daily to become.

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Caitlin Cashman

I am writing on behalf of a wonderful woman that I have known my entire life  who has overcome many battles, endured challenges, and provided support for those  who needed her the most. Hillary Belk is one of the strongest and kindest souls I know  and I am so glad to have her a part of my life. She was there for me in one of my  darkest moments where I feared for my future and myself.  This selfless and thoughtful  act helped me scourge through the muck of my so called life into a bright and  worthwhile existence. 
At this moment of my life I needed a guiding hand but didn’t know who to turn to and which direction to go. Hillary heard about my situation and offered her time  and knowledge to me. She has experienced much in her life and this made her  sympathetic and most of all relatable to my current situation at the time. I never felt  judgment, only support. She helped me beyond anything I can comprehend that day by  just listening to me talk and offering advice when I needed it. Her advice was never  forceful but only thoughtful. It got me thinking about where I was and what I needed  to do. She took me to my first meeting and she helped check me into a center. I was  really scared but Hillary’s encouraging words helped me persevere through that rough  night and the many struggling nights to come. 
One year from that horrific day I had Hillary come and speak on my behalf in a  meeting for people who shared my struggles. She was my guiding light and I couldn’t  have done it without her. I know this might seem extreme in some eyes, but until you  have reached such a point of despair and have someone pull you out from that dark  part of your soul, it is difficult to grasp the effect such a person can have on you. Hillary  was my mentor and ray of hope when I most needed IT, she has also been such a  wonderful friend. Every time I speak with her she is always positive and working  towards a goal. She is a hard worker who never stops helping others and I truly believe  that being a mentor is her calling in life.

Image by Kent Pilcher

Josh C.

I have known Hillary Belk for about three years, and have had the privilege to  witness what an amazing and impactful person she is. We first met when I was  attending UNC Charlotte’s Collegiate Recovery Community, which was established for  college students in recovery that wanted a safe place to connect with other students in  recovery. Hillary, with the help of a few administrators organized the efforts to bring 
collegiate recovery to UNC Charlotte. Although she was already graduated when I  began attending the university, I noticed that she was still more involved on campus  than most of the other students in the CRC. These first encounters with Hillary told me  a lot about the character she possessed, and her actions became a torch that has been  handed down throughout the CRC’s existence.  
The CRC involvement was just the beginning stages of my friendship with  Hillary. She has consistently reached out to me throughout the years of knowing her,  has included me in different events or organizations that she has been a part of. From  Young People in Recovery to Heroes in Recovery, she has been a strong voice and  advocate for recovery, and has fulfilled countless commitments within these  organizations, and others like it. Not only has she excelled in these efforts, but she has  devoted her fulltime employment over the course of the past two years to providing  refuge to others in recovery.  
Hillary Belk lives and breathes recovery. Her passion and desire to help others  and spread the gift that she is grateful to have received is evident through her daily  actions. Over the past three years that I have gotten to know Hillary, I have seen  nothing but steady growth in every facet over her life, and am confident in saying that  she will do big things and have a big impact on the recovery community at large.

Image by Matti Johnson

Paige W.

Hillary could easily be described as a spiritual mentor with much to offer to any person  she comes across. She is truly gifted in connecting with people on a level that most  people who meet her will feel as if they’ve known her forever allowing them to express  their truest self when they are in her presence. Her personality is infectious in the best  way she is the person that is always there to listen and hear someone out fully, and  then offer her own personal experience, strength, and hope. She taught me so much  about living life to the fullest and not letting the bad outweigh the good no matter  what. Hillary is someone I know I can depend on no matter the circumstance, she will  answer the phone and be there at any given moment when she is called on. 
Hillary has dedicated her life to serving others and giving back, and I am blessed to  have gotten the chance to cross paths with her and see her work in action. She would  be an asset to any team who has the opportunity to bring her onboard. Hillary is an  amazing person with a heart of gold and anyone who gets to spend time around her  will most certainly feel as if they are better just for knowing her.

Balancing Rocks

Andrea O.

Hillary has been amazing support and also the best friend anyone could ask  for!  She is a true inspiration, a compassionate, and understanding person! I met  Hillary 10+ years ago and was in a very frustrating marriage. My ex-husband is an  addict,  and I was struggling to understand my role as far as trying to "cure him" and keep my family together.  I was so emotionally exhausted and felt so defeated but tried to keep a smile on my face while I was so broken. When I confided in Hillary, the relief  and understanding that I felt was like a breath of fresh air, unlike any other person I had ever opened up to. Never had anyone else offered advise, a shoulder to cry on, and  actually educated me on what I was dealing with.  
Through our friendship I have learned about the struggles she had and her  gratitude for her sobriety. It amazes me the passion and determination that she has to help change the lives of others. She is so personable and such a genuine person, it's  hard to find a person as great as she is.  
I am in a different, much happier, chapter of my life and once again needed her  advice. We recently have fostered a baby, who we are in LOVE with! His mother is a  heroin addict and I couldn't grasp how someone would put his or her child through such a terrible thing! I have been angry and disgusted by it, especially after this sweet innocent baby has been in our care and is such a miracle!  Hillary helped me to understand the mental and physical downfalls of such addiction. I find myself more understanding and not resentful now that I have a better understanding of the disease. Hillary will always have a special place in my heart as a best friend, inspiration and a mentor.

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