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What is The Promise?

”Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it, chased it”. -  African Proverb


My name is Esther, and I am the founder of The Promise Counseling Center and ITG Institute. I am a Social Worker and Substance Abuse Professional. I was raised in Prince George’s County and love it! I am a PG girl through and through. I started “The Promise” and “ITG Institute” after witnessing the deterioration of families and the effects relationships have on individuals. I have worked in healthcare for over 20 years. My career started in Emergency Services: volunteering with the West Lanham Hills VFD, working in the ER at Doctor’s Community Hospital and the Surgical Care Unit at Children's National Medical Center. I gained valuable knowledge and skills working and treating those in crisis. More importantly, I observed how important relationships and support are when experiencing pain (emotional or physical) and the many ways both staff and patients use unhealthy means to cope. I learned that people in pain, do not talk about it and if they do, they prefer to talk to people that look like them or have shared experiences. After working in hospitals and other healthcare agencies, I stumbled upon the world of human services and addiction treatment. I always say that this field chose me, I did not choose it.

It was through my work in alcohol and drug treatment, that I gained an overwhelming understanding of how family issues and lack of support can affect a person’s self-worth, progress, and growth. I have worked with children, adolescents, and adults in outpatient, inpatient, hospital, and criminal justice settings. After working several years in substance use treatment, I noticed huge disparities in how minority patients received treatment and their access to quality care. Simply put, the quality of care was severely lacking and cultural considerations were missing. In addition, minority staff were often overlooked or devalued. Leadership and management in the agencies I worked, did not look like me and their decisions/management style were often insensitive, discriminatory, and biased.

Finally in 2019, I made the decision, to be more active (and aggressive) in being the change I wanted to see. “The Promise” and “ITG Institute” are the culmination of years of experience and research. I am focused on providing holistic and integrative care to Black people and other minorities in a way that is accessible, creative, and effective. I am committed to providing a work environment that nurtures, empowers, strengthens, and supports Black professionals. There is no crab in the barrel mentality over here. I am committed to helping my community get more comfortable with asking for help, believing it will come, and trusting it. I am committed to training Black professionals working in human services to be competent, have integrity, and to perform their jobs with excellence.

Family is whatever we choose it to be. Relationships occur in all areas of our lives (home, work, school, etc.). Often, people struggle with their own identity and purpose outside of relationships. Often, they get lost in relationships and when they end, they have unresolved trauma, grief, or pain. Often, they are bound by the family history that includes violence, abandonment, abuse, infidelity, pressure, or neglect. Through “The Promise” and “ITG Institute”, my mission is for you to identify and honor THE PROMISES you have made to yourself, first and foremost. Because if you do not know yourself and honor yourself, everything else will feel unsatisfying.

I am a disruptor and fiercely passionate about helping people improve the quality of their life. I lead people in transitioning from a spectator to an active adventurer/participant in their life, exploring their potential and pushing through perceived limitations. I have a talent for understanding people’s needs and reshaping their perspective towards themselves and their world. Everyday, I trust in The Promises of God for my life and the gifts He has blessed me with... which allows me to serve you!

*Esther O. Popoola

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