Mandy Cowleyis creating resources for more effective advocacy
Co-conspirators are stepping into action. They are not just cheering me on, but actively participating in the process of becoming more effective advocates. Co-conspirators will get a personal thank you along with quarterly video updates.
The card carrying bad-asses are stepping out, getting outside their comfort zones and getting their hands dirty. These folks will get a personal thank you gift, quarterly video updates, and early access to special projects.
About Mandy Cowley
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My name is Mandy and I am an advocate and writer. 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.
If you feel compelled to sow into that work by making a regular monthly financial contribution, I would be deeply grateful. The truth is, all of this good work is happening in my very limited free time (after work, freelance deadlines, and managing my own household). Your financial support will help me to have more freedom to do the work I love and that I am called to do.
Here's what your money will support:
- Writing & Resources- I write regularly about advocacy and hope to create more resources to help people become more effective advocates. I am currently working on a book as well. I would love to carve out more time to write in the coming year.
- Direct support for families- What people rarely see of my life is the regular unpaid work I do with families. In 2018 I was able to help approximately 25 families navigate situations around disability, special education, and domestic violence. I never charge anyone for my help, and I never will. In 2019, I will be more formally helping families in Hamilton County navigate the special education system, again on a volunteer basis.
- Social Justice Book Club- I facilitate a Social Justice Book Club that currently has more than 40 members after just one month and is growing rapidly. More informed advocates are more effective advocates. Not only do I facilitate a discussion, I curate a curriculum around every single book we read to help participants dig deeper and turn their learning into action. It's basically a free class every month.
Thank you so much for your support. It really means the world to me. If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out.
PS- let the record show that I am forever growing and learning myself.