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Meet Oludara Adeeyo of Lola Goes West in Skid Row

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oludara Adeeyo.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Most people just call me Dara. However, choosing to professionally go by my government name is a part of my story. I’m a registered Associate Clinical Social Worker for the state of California. I’m a Psychotherapist who works with individuals who have severe and persistent mental illnesses in the Skid Row area of LA. My passions include: Elevating the overall wellness of Black women and people of color, as well as spreading the gospel of incorporating more plant-based foods into a daily diet—through my blog, Lola Goes West.

I’m a Jersey girl with Manhattan blood running through my veins. I spent a good chunk of my early to mid-twenties working in New York City as a magazine and website editor. In April 2011, I ended my two-year term as an intern at TeenVogue.com. That led me to a brief stint as a writer/editor at several international publications; likes, Cosmopolitan.com. I had high hopes of working in fashion, beauty, or lifestyle as a journalist. However, a plot twist threw itself at me in 2016.

Burnt out from the hustle of being a magazine and website editor, I quit my job with no new opportunities in sight. Crazy. I know. I was 27 and unhappy with my life. I knew I didn’t want to be an editor anymore, but I didn’t know what was next for me. I also knew I needed to tap into my life’s purpose before I regretted it; because staring at a computer and editing stories about Kanye’s crazy tweets was not it.

Through a series of God-led events, I found myself looking into getting my Master of Social Work. I have always had a heart for helping others, and I discovered that as a social worker, I could do that while focusing on mental health. I applied to the University of Southern California, I got in (WHAT!), received a scholarship (CA-CHING!), and graduated in May 2019.

A month before I moved from New Jersey to California in 2017 for school, I became a whole-foods, plant-based vegan. This means I mostly eat fruits, vegetables, and anything else that comes from Mother Earth. I don’t eat meat or dairy; I try to avoid processed foods; I don’t consume refined sugar; I also do not eat gluten. My new diet, coupled with my love for cooking and moving to the West Coast, re-wired my life. I lost weight, I stopped taking iron pills, and always had so much energy. I was a new person. And because my way of eating has changed my life, I like to encourage others to consider introducing more plants into their diet. Healthy guts + healthy minds = a healthy life.

Nevertheless, I’m no longer just a journalist named Dara Adeeyo. I’m Oludara Adeeyo, ASW.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have faced many struggles. One big struggle was losing my mom on December 31, 2013. My mother died early in my journalism career and never witnessed me blossom into the women I am so proud to be. It has been hard going through the new stages in my life without my mother’s presence. Six years later, I feel as though I am finally learning to accept her death. Long-story short: My mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years and her health deteriorated because of complications with the illness. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, but for many years, my mother was like my patient and not my parent. In a way, she was my first social work client. The aftermath of my mother’s passing motivated me to become more health conscious. I am highly attuned to how one’s emotional, spiritual, and physical health impact their overall well-being; especially, for Black women and other people of color.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
By day, I’m a Psychiatric Social Worker for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. I’m a new mental health professional, but I hope to one day be known for my work with adults experiencing moderate to severe mental health issues. By night, I’m a blogger at Lola Goes West sharing my latest plant-based recipes. I’ve been slacking a bit on blog posts, but I try to share how I’m living this lifestyle on my social media accounts. I created the blog because I believe that life is about embracing everyday changes. For example, I graduated with my Master of Social Work at age 30. Schooling as an adult is HARD. Life is constantly moving and we must always adjust and adapt. I blog to show others that it is possible to try a new way of living. I’m just proud that I am writing again. After I left the journalism industry, I was a little bitter. I told myself that I would never enter that world again. However, now that I’ve done some healing, I’m ready to re-enter media with my newly found professional and fresh perspective on life.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m not sure luck played a part in my life and business. However, my faith in God has been a significant part of my journey. My spiritual beliefs have helped guide me to where I am right now in my life.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
USC Grad Photos by: Austin Bernard https://www.ausbernard.com/

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