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Who is Arielle Lee Bair?

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For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to help others. My interests have changed over the years, but my drive to do something good for this world has not. As a child and young adult, all I ever wanted to be was a writer. Until recent years, I never realized that my ability to put feelings and knowledge into words and my desire to help others could blend together to create a beautiful union. My personal experiences have only made stronger my desire to help others and at this point in my life, I am doing everything in my power to make my dreams keep happening.

About 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, though the illness had begun long before that. My undergraduate years at the University of Delaware began on a bleak note. I was seriously ill, mentally and physically, but from the beginning, I wanted recovery, a better life, and a healthier body and mind. It was a long process, but with the help of counselors, family, and friends, I gained insight, weight, and a new spirit that could not be broken. One counselor in particular was a L.C.S.W. who helped me for years, giving me tools, understanding, and hope. She helped me realize my potential for helping myself, and when that was accomplished, for helping others.

I now consider myself completely recovered, and have been for a few years. My own struggles have fueled my efforts to reach out to others who struggle with the same issues that once plagued me. I am extremely passionate about giving hope to those with eating disorders. A few years ago, I started a website called Actively Arielle: A Voice with a Commitment. It is primarily a self-help blog, complete with tools, suggestions, ideas, and recovery insight. It is there I seek to turn tears to words in an effort to heal, share, and help in the simplest of ways. My goal is to prove that there is life beyond an eating disorder; I want people to read my words and say, “If this is what recovery looks like, sign me up!” I truly believe that words are tools and turning tears to words is where it starts.

Writing helped me on my way to recovery and I have a sincere passion to be, at the very least, an understanding voice amid the pain of eating disorders and all that they bring. I also post self-help videos, as I am part of an online collaboration on YouTube and film a new video each week. There are over 900 subscribers and it is something I take very seriously. Every day, I seek to share, care, and write the words that make sense. The popularity of the site has soared, and the sheer amount of emails I receive on a weekly basis amazes me. Nothing gives me more pleasure than knowing I have helped someone.

I am also an ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) Eating Disorder Support Group Leader in the Lehigh Valley. Shortly after I started my website, I decided to start the support group for three reasons: I knew how badly I had wished for a support group when I was struggling, I knew the Lehigh Valley needed such a resource, and I knew I had been recovered long enough to safely provide assistance and support to others. Leading the group has been a wonderful experience, and the feedback I’ve received from psychologists and counselors has been gratifying. My group has been recommended to individuals in the Lehigh Valley, as well as in other areas – from Phillipsburg to Spring City, and many cities in between.

In addition to my work with the group, I am also a Resource Person for ANAD, as well as a moderator on an online recovery forum, and thus spend much of my free time doing what I can for various individuals in the community and beyond.

By day, I am a Caseworker for Child Care Information Services of Northampton County. I help low-income parents (mostly single mothers) apply for child care assistance and provide a variety of other resources. As a college student, I spent my summers as an Office Assistant for CCIS, and after graduating became a full-time employee. Working for CCIS has given me a deep respect for the world of Social Work and it has also given me the opportunity to learn things my Bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies could not teach me.

As a student at the University of Delaware, I was no stranger to hard work and I was dedicated to social service and important causes. I was selected to present at the Geis Research on Women Conference two years in a row and was 1 of 10 University of Delaware students selected to present senior thesis research at the CAA (Colonial Academic Alliance) Undergraduate Research Conference. I was an active member of the V-Day organization, which works to prevent violence against women, and I performed in its show The Vagina Monologues twice (once at the University of Delaware and once in the Lehigh Valley after graduation).

I have a creative personality coupled with a sincere desire to help and I look forward to bringing something new and fresh to the field of Social Work. I am currently pursuing my MSW (Masters in Social Work). I have learned so much on my own and now wish for the tools only the Master’s in Social Work can give me, so that I may help others to a greater extent.