I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, and the Chief Learning and Diversity Officer for a large, certified community behavioral health center in eastern Oklahoma. My husband and I have been married just shy of 20 years and we have an amazing 17 year old son. We are members of Fellowship Congregational United Church of Christ which is an Open and Affirming congregation that helps us live into our values of advocacy and affirmation of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am very passionate about helping to change the trajectory of social injustices and Free Mom Hugs, Inc offers the perfect vehicle to reach as many people as possible, with the goal of changing our environment to be supportive and affirming of the LGBTQIA+ community because love is love.
I am passionate about this work because I believe that all deserve “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The LBGTQIA+ community has fought and is fighting for progress in their own civil rights movement and with that comes monumental systemic change. To accomplish systemic change, it takes people from all walks of life, including those of us who identify as straight allies because we are better together. Throughout my 20+ year career in behavioral health, I have championed causes centered on children, youth, and families. My calling includes a deep passion concerning the emotional and mental wellness for youth who identify as LGBTQIA+. I want to create and help support systems that address the community’s disparity of having poorer health and mental health outcomes specifically with depression and anxiety which contributes to higher risks of substance use and tobacco use. Most importantly, I would like to address youth suicide attempts/completions as the LGBTQIA+ population, especially those who have the intersection of being a person of color, have a higher prevalence for attempts/completions than the general population. I am honored to serve on Free Mom Hugs, Inc’s Board of Directors as the organization’s values and messaging align perfectly with my own.