The Full Story

This is a brief overview of what Atara does in the Greater St. Louis area, regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally:   Atara's work for St. Louis Integrated Health Network, St. Louis, MO since Dec  2016-Present. She is a Community Health Worker for The Re-Entry Community Linkages (RE-LINK).

  •  Improved coordination and linkages among criminal justice, public health, social service, and private entities to address health care and health care access of community re-entrants 

  •  Reduce health disparities experienced by the reentry and justice-involved population 

  •  Increase access to needed public health, behavioral health, health care coverage, and social services

  •   Reduced recidivism

  •  Building trusted relationships

Atara is involved in change when it comes to the community that she lives in and abroad. She has been elected as Co-Chair for (HEAL) Healthcare Access Workgroup, St. Louis, MO since November 2017-Present.  They focused on scaling and sustaining Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the St. Louis region.


Atara is a committee member of the IHN Workforce Development in the St. Louis Region and St. Louis Violence Prevention Commission: Community Engagement, Policy & Systems Change, and co-chairs for the Racial Equity Committee.


Atara is one of the founders and Board of Leaders of the STL CHW Coalition, St. Louis, MO since January 2018- Present. They serve as local, regional, and statewide convening tables for CHWs, Community Health Worker (CHW) employers and CHW supporters to strategize and discuss health equity.


Atara is the President of the Community Health Workers Association of Missouri since January 2019 - present. The Mission of the Community Health Workers Association of Missouri is to unite CHWs, CHW instructors, employers, payers, and other interested individuals for professional development and community outreach to serve the communities in which we are involved. 

 Atara is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) since November 2018-2019. She co-chaired for the CHW section for the Policy Committee. She has been a presenter, moderator and volunteers her services and expertise under the Community Health Planning & Policy Development, Community Health Worker Section, and Mental Health, Human Rights Forum for the APHA.

Atara was an active member of St. Louis Ending Violence Against Women Network, (Court Watch Project), National Alliance of Mental Illness and so much more. Atara is an ally for Safe Shelter Collaboration with SAFE NIGHT that assists survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and sex trafficking to find an alternative safe haven when the shelters are full. We're looking to build a movement in the St. Louis Region to assist ALL survivors.

 Why did Atara come into this field of work?


Atara is not only an empowerment coach and motivational speaker but a TRUE survivor to domestic violence. On September 13, 2002, Atara survived being blindfolded, shot, thrown in the trunk and left for dead. In 2012, on Impact: HEC-TV, Atara’s story was filmed and shared with the world. In 2014, she self-published her survival story called Damaged Goods: My Journey; it is being sold on Amazon. Go to the shop link to purchase items.


Atara has experience working with women/men who have experienced domestic/intimate partner violence; have a working knowledge of crisis intervention and trauma reactions; and knowledge of the criminal justice process. She found herself enhancing her positions when she joined RE-LINK she felt the need to reach the offenders in order to see a decline in the crime and homicide rate in the community. This is a public health issue, to say the least. Her words are strong and very impactful to her clients and she has touched many lives by giving them a restored hope with a new direction of thinking that they are free to live again too.


Atara developed a pre-released curriculum for the clients that are soon to be released to give them set goals to reach and to tap into their purpose.  She has just completed her first post-release workshop curriculum to build up a support group and to help the participants navigate in the community after returning home. Atara is a certified Mental Health & Trauma First Aid Responder, and now an Overdose Educator & Prevention coach on a class of drugs called opioids (painkillers, heroin, fentanyl) which are killing Americans — young and old — at an alarming rate.

Being a part of IHN for RE-LINK as a CHW allowed Atara to reach the young adult's age 18 – 26+ transition from the city jail back into the community, it is Atara’s hope to show them that they deserve to live free from violence and be healed from past choices and traumas. Atara has developed a special bond with each of the participants and to have the career to go along with her passion is a sign that she is on an assignment for change. When you see how the clients are transparent with Atara it makes her job seem too easy looking from the outside.

Atara has this type of connection because she survived growing up homeless in the streets of Chicago and New York, when I tell you she can relate in a way that cannot be expressed, believe it is authentic. Atara speaks volumes when it comes to finding solutions to problems in our community and until we can look at people hurting from a root issue then we will have more lost souls.


Atara is all about growth and development which is when asked why she is glad to be a part of the mission and its commitment to excellence, Atara shares, “It is time to show what hope looks like and to continue to share the responsibility to educate, enlighten and empower the community.”

There is so much more to come from Atara Estes so be on the look-out for her strong message of building resilience, it is preserving lives as a Social Justice Advocate/ Human Rights Mediator. She is planning to take her message from her house all the way to the White House, now will you let her in. Atara is a messenger sent by God to recruit a workforce that is ready to make a difference in a community that is ready to live again.

New project coming soon!

Take a look at how Atara got into this profession.

Watch the video by Jonathan Clarke of HEC_TV Impact