A call to be in Harmony with the Authentic Self
Freedomspace was founded in 1994 by LaTasha "Tooshay" Bonilla-Padilla during a life-altering experience. She was the victim of a common deception called 'blind mulling' (set up with illicit drugs unknowingly ). Blind mulled in Bangkok Thailand at the young age of 20 yrs old, Tooshay plead innocent but was given a death sentence later reduced to life and was required to stay in Thailand's worst female prison, Lard Yoa (Bangkok Hilton) for 9 yrs.
It was during this challenging time that she developed ways of coping and empowering others all centered on Holistic Health and Creativity. With no formal rehabilitation available, and limited resources, Tooshay committed her self to the study and practice of holistic methods to help her overcome her situation. Freedomspace became her outlet for sharing her story and her methods for optimal health and Freedom in Mind+Body+Soul....
Prior to her tragedy, Tooshay's life centered around science, entrepreneurship, and various forms of expression (Dance, Art, Fitness, and Poetry), it was natural for her to use her interests as a way to make it through her most difficult life challenge. She was released from prison in February of 2003, and went on to obtain her Bachelors Degree in Business, Master's Degree in Health Education and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Education & Promotion. She combines her experiences, talents, and education with her passions in order to inspire positive health behavior in others.
Freedomspace is a call to be in harmony with one's Authentic Self and make choices that lead to sustainable well-being.
Tooshay is a multitalented Health Educator, Creative, and Business Woman. She realized her passion for health, science, education, movement and Art at a young age. She often expressed her desire to be an "innovator, scientist, inventor, educator, Artist" to those around her. Tooshay followed her passions by joining the Drum Cord, Drill Team, Community programs, and spending alot of time sketching her ideas, and learning how to improve in her areas of interest.
Tooshay found her niche at 14 yrs old through organizing her own events, mentoring her peers, and getting involved in Aerobics (Group Fitness) and Freestyle Hip Hop dance; it was at this time she was given the unique nickname "Tooshay". As her journey continued, she obtained opportunities to lead as President of the Black Student Union of her High School, conduct Fitness classes, perform as a back up dancer for talents such as Yo Yo, Gospel singer Kynne Smith, The Boys, and joined LA based Freestyle Dance group The Swat Team, in which she became one of the main female dancers within the Hip Hop Dance circle of that time.
In 1994 at 20 yrs old, Tooshay experienced an adverse situation she thought would end her life and journey. She was arrested in Bangkok Thailand due to being blind mulled by a gentlemen she was dating at the time. Tooshay was put on trial and sentenced to death, later reduced to life. Based on a US Treaty agreement with Thailand she was required to stay in the infamous female prison (Lard Yao a.k.a Bangkok Hilton) for 8 yrs before being eligible to transfer back to the United States.
With little support and resources Tooshay discovered a way to continue studying and growing in her areas of interest. She had the opportunity to study Thai, Fashion Design, Psychology, Health, Fitness, Dance, and Art. Tooshay was able to teach and work as an Artist as part of a prison program called "Shades International". One of Tooshay's concerns as she did her time, was how she would manage in life once back in the United States. Because of this concern she spent time developing herself for re-entry back to society. This is how Freedomspace was born!
Tooshay became eligible to transfer back to the U.S. in December of 2002. Once back in the U.S., she was required to stay at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in order to be resentenced according the U.S. law. She was resentenced to 15 yrs under U.S. law, but received time served due to how she conducted herself while in Thailand and in consideration of the harsher prison conditions of Lard Yao (1 yr of imprisonment in Thailand is considered up to 3 yrs in the U.S.).
Upon her release from prison in February 2003, Tooshay quickly learned that being out of prison brought on a new set of challenges. Adjustment to life outside of prison was tough, and it seemed that all the preparing she tried to do through self development was irrelevant. It took years after her release to come into balance with her experiences and the women she had become. Getting this understanding was crucial to knowing her "Authentic Self" and living happy and healthy.
Tooshay began experiencing mental health challenges that she could not explain. She functioned well for years after her release, however started showing symptoms of PTSD. After years of struggling and being told by many that she should "get over it", "move on", "dont worry you are strong", she sought help from a professional. Tooshay was diagnosed in 2013 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Post Incarceration Syndrome - P.I.C.S.). Upon receiving her diagnosis she had no idea how to manage. Tooshay felt isolated, afraid, judged, and a host of other things. She felt that all the strength and resilience she had built up in her time in Lard Yao didn't matter and a new journey in the AFTER LIFE of Lard Yao was beginning.
Staying true to her "Authentic Self", Tooshay picked back up on studying and practicing the things she is good at. She went on to obtain her Bachelors degree in Business, Masters in Health Education, and is currently working towards her Doctorate of Philosophy in Health Education & Promotion. Through her AFTER LIFE challenges, the purpose of Freedomspace became more clear. Freedomspace became an LLC in 2019, and Tooshay focused her company around Holistic Health and used her studies to inform the company direction.
Tooshay continues to tell her story as a way to inspire others towards individuality, good health, and Freedom. She works to promote Freedomspace's mission and hopes to help many enter their Freedomspace.
"For I know the plans I have for you",
declares the LORD, "
plans to prosper you and not to
harm you, plans to give you
HOPE and a FUTURE" ~ Jer. 29:11