01 Sep Senior In Action – Toni Mosley
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Toni Mosely
Question: How old are you, Toni? Tell NBY readers about your passions.
Toni Mosley: “I was born 65 years ago in Toledo, Ohio where I spent most of my young adult life. I don’t consider myself a senior citizen, just a person trying to use my gifts and talents here and now. What nurtures my spirit is music, prayer, and being around uplifting people; those who “believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I tell my clients, “Don’t feel limited or worried because of COVID-19.” Take, for example, my 2020 vacation. I usually visit my friends or family in Texas and Ohio, but instead took a STAYcation. I live near the ocean in Long Beach, so I walked to the beach where I found safe places to relax and reflect. I took day trips, driving up the coast, for a change of scenery.”
Question: What brought you to the Golden State?
Toni Mosley: “I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, and my Master’s Degree in Corrections from Xavier University. But MUSIC was calling, so I relocated to California near my two uncles. I’m single, which allowed me time to develop close relationships with my nieces and nephews. I ‘d previously tried a music career in New York, but that city overwhelmed me. In California, I took music classes and accepted a part-time job in Substance Abuse Treatment, the same career I had in Ohio. My supervisors rewarded my work with promotions. Eventually, music was relegated to my part-time hobby as I focused full-time on addiction treatment.“
Question: What drew you to the field of substance abuse treatment?
“I have two sisters, and one of them struggled with addiction for many years. After seeing what my sister and our family experienced, I felt compelled to focus on female addicts. Addiction can destroy families. That’s why I’m pursuing my license in Marriage and Family Counseling. I encourage addicts to forgive themselves and let go of guilt and shame. My biggest gift is the ability to LISTEN. Sometimes no-one has ever really heard the addict’s story. In 2000, L.A. CADA (Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse) started a program for incarcerated women who were pregnant or had babies, called the “Family Foundation Program” which turned into my dream job. FFP allowed me to use my gifts to design the program. I fell in love with the moms and babies. When that program’s funding ended, I transferred to other counseling positions within L.A. CADA.”
Question: Did you attend concerts before the health department closed music venues?
Toni Mosley: “I loved going to concerts and always purchased the best seats to observe the singer’s facial expressions. Music soothes me. There are lots of good musicians doing things online during the coronavirus pandemic. I can’t get enough of good music; jazz, gospel, country western, I love it all! I let the music and lyrics teach me and communicate life lessons. I’ve enjoyed combining my love of music with therapy for women in transition.”
Question: Are you part of an organized faith community?
Toni Mosley: “I was involved in three different churches due to my work and school schedule. All three churches now provide online worship with a good message. I admire the spiritual leaders and others who are adapting to meet new health requirements; being creative, teaching and uplifting other people.“
Question: Do you like to cook?
Toni Mosley: “Oh yes! The best part of fellowship is when you cook and eat together. Two of my favorite cooking friends are Filipinas. At our get-togethers, we go house to house, one served hors d’oeuvres, another cooked the main meal, and the third served dessert. We would travel to each other’s homes for every course. Wonderful ambiance, and so much fun! Here’s a funny story about my friend Rachel. She asked me to be in her wedding party, and I happily agreed. When I opened the invitation, I nearly fainted when I saw that the wedding ceremony would be in the Philippines! But I booked my flight, and her family put me up in a lovely hotel. What a great adventure in culture and food; I had a ball!
Question: Any parting thoughts for NBY readers?
“There are two special traits from my parents which I admired, and try to incorporate into my life. My father had a keen sense of humor. Laughter is important in life, and I incorporate light-hearted humor in my work. I would say my mother was a “go-getter.” No-one bullied her. She stood up for her beliefs and followed through on her promises. I have a reputation for being an advocate for my clients. I look at the emotionally or mentally wounded and help them see their behavior in relation to early trauma. I use the gifts God has given me and dedicate my service to the strong women who mentored me.”
For more information about substance abuse treatment & counseling services offered during COVID-19 by L.A. CADA, visit www. lacada.com or call (213) 6626-6411.