Updated: Oct 14
Storyteller: CheneAmelie Bates
June 17, 2011, CheneAmelie, at age 33, walked through the doors of an old home in Mount Airy to attend a Woman’s Retreat she was “strongly urged to attend.” Little did she know what she was walking into was a long-term inpatient rehabilitation center for 24 woman with drug and alcohol problems. For the next eight and a half months Chene was forced to recognize and deal with accumulating problems in her life that had been avoided for years. Although alcohol was one of them it seemed her biggest obstacle had been herself.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou
Thank you to those who attended Night Out With Meaning on Wednesday, May 28th. A very special thank you to our storyteller, CheneAmelie Bates. Chene shared her personal story through passages from her journal, photos, music and her art. What strikes me about Chene is how relatable her struggles are and how articulate and thoughtful she is as she shares her experiences. I have a huge amount of respect for Chene and what she has been able to overcome and accomplish.
I was reminded that Chene spoke on the day that Maya Angelou passed away. So much of Angelou’s work is about overcoming, persevering, authenticity, creativity… how fitting to spend the evening together being inspired by a phenomenal woman’s story!
CheneAmelie was born and raised with her three siblings and dedicated parents on the Main Line in Malvern. Attending Villa Maria Academy she was recognized as an All-Area Athlete helping to secure positions on Kutztown University’s softball and tennis teams. She spent a decade working in technology and marketing in a K-12 Charter school in Phoenixville. Life seemed perfect with the career, the house, the man, the friends, the cars, the dog and white picket fence. Somewhere along the line alcohol became the crutch in dealing with the unexpected curveballs of life and the pain that roots itself deep inside slowly taking over.
Through laughter and tears CheneAmelie invoked feelings of inspiration in others with her story. Admitting defeat and allowing herself to become vulnerable and willing to change is when her life began to slowly fall into place. It was through giving up everything and finding a sense of gratitude that she was able to gain what she needed. Most of all a feeling of happiness and a true sense of self. Having been lost for so long Chene is finally realizing what it means to be true to herself and feel a genuine sense of happiness and pride.
This spring CheneAmelie is graduating from the Community College of Philadelphia with an Associates Degree in Art and Design. In the fall she will continue her degree in Interior Design at Moore College of Art and Design. Moore has awarded Chene the highest Board of Trustees Scholarship and she has been selected to join Moore’s Visionary Woman’s Honors Program.