Antonio Clinkscales is a pastor, educator, business owner, author, speaker, conference host, and community advocate who is passionate about healing the mind, body, and spirit. As Founder/CEO of Life Way Services, a mental health counseling company, he uses his training in trauma and spiritual calling to fuse both the science and spirituality of healing into a transformative message of hope for the hurting and lost.
His national conference of “Tackling Trauma Together: The Way To Wholeness” is changing lives by placing people on a mental trajectory towards ones divine purpose. Professionals in the medical and mental health industries recognize his strategies as revolutionary and partner to assist in helping people overcome their past pain in order to live in their present prosperity.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- His reason of entering this business
- His community involvement
- His motivation
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:06] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Richmond, Virginia. It’s time for Richmond Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:19] Lee Kantor here another episode of Richmond Business Radio and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor War Cry Consulting Solutions, supporting women to lean into their purpose, craft their vision and crush their goals. Today on Richmond Business Radio, we have Antonio Kling Scales with Lifeway Services. Welcome, Antonio.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:00:45] Welcome. Glad to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:47] Well, I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about Lifeway Services, how you serve in folks.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:00:53] Absolutely. Thank you for having me. We are an outpatient mental health counseling company that services individuals, youth, as well as adults in the Richmond area and beyond. We also provide in-person counseling as well as virtual. So we’re able to service a wide range of individuals with a variety of needs in different locations.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:20] So what’s your back story? How did you get involved in this line of work?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:01:24] Absolutely. It’s really a tremendous story. It was birth out of the pandemic, believe it or not, because the need was so great in this county already, the pandemic only. Increase the need and the demand for services in our county and the surrounding counties. And therefore we rose to the challenge and to meet that need head on and to make sure that individuals were able to receive the help that they need. And so because of a pandemic, which is a bad or negative thing, depending on how you look at it, but it also birthed something that was so tremendous and such a blessing to so many people in our community.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:15] Now, when you started offering the services that you offer, when did you realize, hey, this is something that’s really getting a lot of traction, A lot of folks are this is resonating with a lot of folks. We should be doing more of this.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:02:32] Well, again, the need was already there. And many people where we are in Caroline County, our headquarters in Caroline County, which is just north of Richmond, right above the King’s Dominion area, is very rural. So we either have to travel to Richmond or Fredericksburg for services and many people have transportation concerns and aren’t able to receive the services. And therefore, again, out of the pandemic, it only magnified the problem that already existed. And therefore we had to do something to not only try to bring relief to individuals through a lot of community service projects that we also formed through our company, through Lifeway services, but to give people mental relief as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:29] Now, was it something that you just started offering these services and people were coming to you or were they coming to you saying, Hey, we need some help? What can you do to help us? Like what came first, the offering of services or just the demand from the public?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:03:44] The demand was there. But when we opened our doors and we said that we’re here and we’re able we wanted to help and give people some mental relief and to put some youth and students on the right path. People immediately gravitated towards us and accepted us into the community and welcomed the help and the resources that we were providing. And again, we are out in the community. We are the community I live in. The community have been here for almost 30 years. Our staff live in the community and some of them have grew up in Caroline County and are willing to give back to their community. And so we wanted to do something that was unique and special again, birth out of the pandemic, but wanted to make sure that we were taking care of our own.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:45] Can you share with the listeners some examples of how you work with somebody? Maybe somebody gets onto your radar, you see a person in need. What are some of the services you provide? What are some of the ways that you interact with them and maybe help them kind of redirect their life maybe to a better place?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:05:06] Absolutely. People can call our office or the best way is to go onto our website which is w WW dot lightweight services dot org. And from there you can find out all the resources that and services that we provide. You can see our clinicians and our counselors that also that are listed there. And most importantly, individuals can schedule their own free consultation right through our website at a time and date that is convenient for them and we will make sure that we contact them during that particular time. We’re able to work with them during their initial consultation, get them scheduled with a clinician, get them into our office as quickly as possible because that’s one of the benefits that we wanted to provide, is to make sure that not only we be in the community, but we want to make sure that we were available for the community. Therefore, we had to make sure that we had sufficient staff, we had to make sure that we were available to meet those needs. So when they call that, we didn’t have to place them on a waiting list, like many other services and providers in the surrounding area, if you call them, you might get a 2 to 3 month waiting list before you’re able to have that initial consultation. But we want to make sure that we met the needs and those demands of the community by being available.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:45] Are you finding that young people are open to this kind of help, that maybe for older folks there was some stigma or some feeling that they didn’t need help? I could do this myself, or I should be able to solve these challenges on my own, whereas maybe younger people today are more open to asking for help and receiving help.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:07:04] Absolutely. I am just ecstatic of the number of young people that come to us who are open, who are honest, who are receiving the strategies that we’re providing and the information that we provide. They are soaking it up. They observe it, absorbing it. And it’s a beautiful sight to see. And I encourage more young people to reach out not just to Lifeway services, but to any provider just to be able to talk things through. They want a listening ear. They want to be heard in so many times in the community and the society that we live in today, they’re not giving that voice and then not given an opportunity. And therefore, a lot of the behaviors, a lot of stressors, a lot of things that they’re going through, the anxiety, the depression, trying to find out who they are in their place in this world is because of the lack of voice and opportunities that they have to speak and to be heard. And therefore, we want to make sure that we are providing them that space, that safe space, so that they can be heard and we can begin to work through some of their issues and concerns.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:23] Is there any kind of clues maybe a parent could be on the lookout for that? Maybe something is amiss with their child. A lot of times you want to give your child space, but you also don’t want to miss things that maybe in hindsight would have been obvious. Are there some clues that maybe your child needs some help and there maybe you can identify and then introduce them to you and your team?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:08:46] Absolutely. One of the biggest strategies that we encourage parents is to get involved with their children. And I know that may sounds real crazy, but the reality is with technology, a lot of parents just say, go to your room, you know, go watch TV, be on your phone, be on the computer, be on your tablet, be on a gaming system, and therefore they don’t want to be bothered and therefore they allow their electronic device or system to be their teacher, their guide in that safe space that they can go to. And so we encourage parents to get involved just to have those conversations with their child. It’s okay to ask them how their day was. It’s okay if they say fine and then just kind of want to be by themselves, but really engage their child and know who their friends are, know who they hang out with at school and get involved with their school system. Because a lot of times that explains a lot of what’s going on because they find trust in individuals and adults in the school system and they may confide in those counselors or teachers. And so when parents are involved, they can become connected and find out a lot more information from those sources than they would at home. But definitely parents have to be more involved in engaging with their with their child to find out what’s going on in their lives so that they can stay connected and build that trust so that their child can share those intimate things with them, those concerns and those thoughts that they may be having and be able to share them with their parent and their parent really should be there for them.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:42] Now, how do you help the parent where, you know, they’re trying to do these things, They’re asking the questions, but the kid’s like, hey, you know, I’m good, everything’s fine. And they just kind of brush them off and don’t really engage back. Is this a situation where the parent just kind of has to be relentless and and just kind of keep showing up day after day to let them know I’m going to be here no matter what?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:11:08] And absolutely as parents, we’re supposed to be doing that anyway. We’re supposed to be that relentless voice saying that we are going to be there and providing that security, providing that safe space and a place, and that their child can be comfortable and trusting enough to share again that their intimate thoughts and things that might be going on on the inside of them and with their body changing during certain times in their development. We should be there anyway and we should be that relentless force. Absolutely. But not pressing, but just reminding their child that they are there for them, not only to provide that shelter and food, the basic needs that they need, but also to be that listening ear. So. The parents really need to look out for patterns and they need to look out for certain behaviors in their child. If they see something that is different, that they’re doing something different. If they’re normally outgoing and now they’re quiet, that’s a sign. If they’re really quiet and to themselves and isolation. But now they’re wanting to go out and they’re dressed in a certain way and looking a certain way. I mean, these signs are signals. They can be red flags. And parents need to be aware of those changes in their child’s behavior and not to be pressing. But they also parents have the responsibility to care for their child. Therefore, if they’re seeing some reckless behaviors, if they’re seeing things that are the some of their decision making is not aligning with some of their core values and beliefs and the way that they want to raise their child, then certainly they should seek help in those situations so that it’s they’re not waiting until it’s too late.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:08] Can you share a story? Maybe that. Is a success story that maybe you got a hold of a kid, maybe that was in a in a in rough water and you were able to help them get to the other side. And now they’re leading a more healthy, productive life. You don’t have to obviously don’t name the kid’s name, but just maybe tell the story.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:13:30] No, absolutely. And we we have a bunch and I’m excited about that. And that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do. And to be in this mental health field is because of the successes. And one particular student who a male student in middle school was really having a hard time fitting in. He was new to the area. He was being picked on and bullied because he was new in a little different dress. Different because it was from a different part of the country. And therefore he kind of stood out a little bit. And in his outgoing personality, he just wanted to make friends. But it didn’t it wasn’t received well and it was received differently by his peers. And so he really struggled the first year of school here, being in Caroline County. But his mom got involved. His mom called us and said, I need some help. I don’t know what to do. We began working with that student and mentoring that student as well. And really within three, 3 to 4 months, that student was a totally different kid. I mean, he really embraced the process and the strategies that we were trying to implement. And we work with mom as well to for mom to implement some things at home and to put some different boundaries and structure at home so that he could operate, she began she became more involved with him at school, and that gave him a lot of confidence and gave him really some security that he was looking for because he didn’t feel safe at school.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:15:19] And therefore, to have those extra bodies and eyes there to reassure him that he was in a safe place and that he could really fit in. And then he began to gravitate towards some different friends who really wanted to become his friend, and they really bonded. And that student is excelling. He was when he came to us in our county, he was an average student, a C student, and now he’s on the AB honor roll every semester and we’re just super excited with his progress. But it was really the the the quickness in how quickly he gravitated from who he was to who he became in such a short period of time that we’re super excited to really spotlight him and showcase that our strategies and our efforts really do work when we are a village trying to take care of our kids.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:19] Yeah, and that is an amazing story to be able to turn a kid’s life around so quickly. And you know, if you weren’t there to intervene, you know, it could have really had a different outcome. And now the path seems like it’s going in the right direction. And not only do you impact that child, you impact their that family, you impact the community. I mean, the impact is real.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:16:42] Absolutely. And it does trickle down. And we’re starting to see that in our community now as we become more involved and we’re working with more students and families, that we are really changing individual, dynamic family dynamics as well as we’re trying to change our community and with our staff being here in the community, that just feels a heart that makes us so proud.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:13] So what do you need more of? How can we help?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:17:16] Absolutely. More clients. We’re we’re still a relatively new company. We’re only a few years old, but we’re growing. And therefore, as the demand grows, we want to we will grow proportionately with the demand and we’ll make sure that we have the staff and the capability to meet those needs. But we’re out in the community. And also during the pandemic, we provided meals to 35, almost 40 families every week, and we collected those foods and we delivered the foods to their houses because a lot of people were, again, during the pandemic, during the shutdown, would not come out. And therefore, we delivered food boxes. And we continue to be in the community providing food boxes to those who are in need. We’re showing up at different events, and what we need is just more individuals who know about who we are and what we do and if they are willing to partner with us in this process of wholeness, then we are there for them.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:31] And if somebody wants to learn more, what’s the website? What’s the best way to get a hold of you or somebody on the team?
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:18:37] Absolutely. Through our website again is W WW lifeway services dot org and all of our information is there and most importantly, individuals can choose their free consultation and book it right through our website. It will come to us and we will make sure that we contact those individuals at their designated time.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:01] Well, Antonio, thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Antonio Clinkscales: [00:19:06] Know, I appreciate the opportunity and thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:09] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Richmond Business Radio.