Hi there! My name is Mandy and I am a self-taught illustrator, freelance writer, and advocate based in Tennessee. The undercurrent of all of my work is an aim to create things that encourage people to live more intentional lives. If I can create something that helps people to feel empowered or encourages them to take action, that's such a privilege.
In 2012, I earned my Master's Degree in Sociology from Louisiana State University, where I focused my studies on interpersonal violence and inequality. A couple of years later, I returned to LSU to earn a certificate in Parent Education. A parent educator helps equip parents to obtain the education and skills needed to raise physically, psychologically, and emotionally healthy children. Most recently, I completed a training through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to become a special education advocate.
I have spent almost a decade working with families both professionally and independently- particularly with families facing a crisis. My job has always been to help them become better advocates for themselves and their children in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. I have worked with families in the child welfare system and those facing issues like homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, and mental health crises (among other things). I've also had the privilege to work briefly as a community organizer, helping equip the community to better respond to these issues and support families experiencing these sorts of crises.
In my time running one of Louisiana's oldest and largest domestic violence agencies, I learned an important lesson about empowerment. While our goal was to serve as advocates for our clients, we were also always working towards helping survivors become more effective advocates for themselves. We recognized that our time with them would be limited and that the best thing we could do was equip them for a lifetime of self-advocacy. I have carried that lesson with me into every arena I've been in- I can be an effective advocate, but the more impactful thing to do is to raise up an army of really effective advocates. So that is always my goal- to leave people feeling a little more empowered to take action than they did when we met.