In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, meet Linsay Hearns ‘11, an advocate for those who are struggling.
Linsay did not have it easy as a teen. While in high school, he lived with his cousin in Paterson and feared becoming homeless. He was able to earn a teaching scholarship through East Side High School to attend WP, but the scholarship fell through in his second year of college. After changing his career path from education to social work, Linsay was fiercely determined to graduate. He ultimately achieved that goal within six years, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in social services.
He developed a true passion for helping underserved populations. Linsay became a mentor for inner-city kids, accompanying them on outings to the movies, to the beach, and often to the grocery store when their food supply was scarce.
In order to make a difference, Linsay established the Hearns & Oliver Foundation with his WP roommates and best friends, Donald and Dondre Oliver. The mission of this charitable organization is “to redefine ‘community,’creating a sense of unity with the sole purpose of giving back to less fortunate children and families.” The foundation has partnered with the Paterson Task Force, which assists women and children in transition from homeless shelters. Linsay has organized multiple foundation fundraisers annually, including bowling, paint and sip, and skating outings, and its Christmas toy drive fulfills wish lists for 10 families in need per year.
Linsay earned a master’s degree in social work from Walden University in 2016, and married his WP sweetheart, Valerie Hearns ’11, who he met in social work class. Linsay, Donald, and Dondre formed Epic Therapy and Counseling Services together, serving individuals, couples, and families with a focus on relationships, anxiety, family dynamics, trauma, and life transitions. He credits his best friends and his wife as his source of inspiration.
Linsay’s advice to new WP alumni: “Follow your dreams. Stay organized in your thoughts. Lay out your plan. Nothing is guaranteed except the work you put into it to make it work.”
William Paterson University
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Wayne, New Jersey 07470