Chelsea England, a little Ray of Riverwest Sunshine
by Alice M Waraxa
Riverwest meet Chelsea. Most of you already know her because she is friend to you or you may know someone who knows her. She is friend to the Co-ops, friend to animals, and also friend with positive vibes to share. She can be seen smiling in the sun outside Fuel Cafe, tapping her foot to music at High Dive and walking her dog, Chloe, throughout our community. You may have even met her at Centro. She is a host there and before that she was a host at Braised in the Third Ward. She has been a clean up kitten for the Cream City Cabaret and always supports her friends in their talents.
Chelsea England is a personable and warm, friendly person. She has probably shared a inviting greeting with you if you frequent the Riverwest Food Co-op and Cafe. You might have noticed one of her beautiful bohemian dresses or beautiful wire wraps that she wears around her neck. You probably have even noticed that she is just over 5ft. But that is just a measurement of her height.
Chelsea England maybe small in size but she is not small in personality. This lil’ ray of sunshine has lived in Riverwest for a few years now and has also lived in Harambee. Chelsea was also a roommate of mine in 2014. I have gotten to know her very well so I now have the honor of telling you a little bit about her.
Originally from the great city of Detroit, her family moved to the Waukesha area during middle school. She is the oldest daughter of the England family and is the older sister to a young lady named Cameron. Chelsea is very close to her family and friends. There isn’t much that a close friend could ask for that she wouldn’t give to them if she has it. Sharing and listening are things that she does well and her heart is large enough to go beyond just her human friends
Chelsea has been involved in organizing gatherings in Snails Crossing after the multiple attacks at night to make evening walks safer for her neighbors last summer. She is happy to stand up for people that have a hard time standing up for themselves or sharing their opinions with others.
She is a lover of animals and stands up for them as well in our neighborhood. She has been very active trying to make a better life for the dogs in our neighborhood.
Just last summer or the one before she lived near a family that had a dog they kept outside constantly. Chelsea knew that this pooch wasn’t being loved enough and could have a better life. She cares a lot about the wellbeing of others and especially animals. After doing what she could she felt that the right thing to do for this dog was to get the proper authorities involved to see if a better life for the dog could be worked out. After spending tons of time following up and making sure that it was all resolved so the dog could live a more fulfilling life, he was placed with another family that could give him more attention and affection. This is one of her best qualities, her compassion for others.
Chelsea is also active in the music scene, although she does not play an instrument, she is a staple in the neighborhood as a patron and follower of her boyfriend, Sam, and his many musical endeavors. She enjoys a wide variety of music and frequents many of Milwaukee’s musical venues. Music brings good feelings and positive vibes to many people just like her.
It wasn’t always sunshine and music for Chelsea. She actually came to love this neighborhood when she was placed at the Meta House for recovery and rehab from an opiate addiction. During high school she started to use opiates after she was prescribed them during an injury in high school athletics as many others in her age group. She eventually became addicted to them. Like many others like her being prescribed opiates at a young age, lead to more serious pill addiction in to their young adulthood and has been linked to the heroin addiction epidemic that has been a problem for many years.
Because of this addiction, Chelsea spent some time making poor life choices after graduating high school. She was in a serious automobile accident. She moved back to Detroit with family for a while. After that she was arrested with drug charges and put on probation.
After being placed in Riverwest and completing her rehab, Chelsea has made huge strides in her life. She has achieved many of her goals such as beating her addiction, completing her probation, being able to have a driver’s license, and becoming a self sustaining adult. She now talks about her life and shares her story with others to help them and add to the greater good of her community. She volunteers her time and puts her effort into other more productive activities that makes her a pretty wonderful part of our neighborhood. She is usually spreading good energy to people that she encounters as well as hanging out in her backyard with friends and their animal companions.
Chelsea England has had, like many of us, a few hiccups in her young life. But she took them on as a challenge. She is an example of how many of our young people in America are falling victim to addiction and a hope for those to overcome it. With support from her immediate family and close friends she can do so much. Because of her resilience and love for life she can seemingly take on anything thrown at her and end up with smile on her face and passion to help others through their life troubles. Riverwest is lucky to have this beam of sunshine even when the days are cloudy.