"Our focus is on the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, a mission that feels very personal to our family. Not only are some of our children 'queer,' but they are also dealing with the intersectionality of being brown skinned, neurodivergent, and having mental health issues. There is so much stigma and isolation, but sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation to realize you are not alone."
I got my start as an educator at about 6 years old, forcing my younger brother to sit in my "school" for hours on end. I carried that love of teaching through volunteering in daycare centers as a teen, tutoring low literacy adults in college, and finally becoming a teacher in a 'startup' progressive middle school in the SF Bay Area when I was just 21. I taught, amongst other topics, Social and Emotional Learning, and fell in love with the way these skills can transform the lives of youth. I went back to study Educational Psychology just a few years ago, with a focus on teaching SEL concepts in a way that is widely engaging to people of all ages.
I tried (and 'failed') about 5 different times to use the power of social media to teach. I learned from each of those attempts, got back up and tried again. I am blown away by the response we've had so far to our Tik Tok conversations, and am excited to watch this grow!!
A MOTHER'S DREAM COME TRUE
Ash started working on this nonprofit with me out of love for my own personal dreams - Ash could see what teaching meant to me and wanted to help me reach my goals. But from that start, Ash has become core to the Normalizers. As a nonbinary lesbian (who also struggles with mental health issues), Ash has had to deal with microaggressions and outright bigotry. The pandemic separated Ash from their peers during a critical phase of social development. Through the Normalizers, Ash found the community support we did not know was sorely needed.
Getting to work with Ash every day is an amazing experience and a dream come true.
Summer is pure joy. Summer's hugs and laughter light my world! Summer is autistic, nonbinary and pansexual. Summer has strongly rejected gender norms for as long as I can remember, declaring the gender roles in our society make no sense. Summer has often been bullied due to being "different," and was cyberbullied on Tik Tok; sadly this is common for kids on the spectrum. Summer will be volunteering for the Normalizers by answering questions in a weekly column of our newsletter!
Lali is music and laughter. Anyone who knows Lali knows that Lali is a 'mood' - though some might argue she is more of an icon. Either way, Lali will make you laugh out loud any time of day or night, even in her sleep. Lali sometimes uses this humor and goofiness to distract from quite a bit of anxiety and some strong phobias. I hope to build with her a world in which people don't have to 'hide' the anxious parts of themselves away.
Nick is my husband and truly the love of my life - I developed my first crush on him when I was 11!!! Nick himself struggled to find community as a child, and deeply appreciates what we are building with the Normalizers. Not one to be much for gender roles either, Nick has taken on as much of the kids and household a busy CEO can to help me out as I build this new nonprofit. I couldn't do any of this without his constant love and support. I am grateful every second of my life to have found this loving, compassionate, ridiculously hilarious partner in life.
Snicks is a doggo. Not much to be said for him other than I appreciate his daily attempts to eat my office supplies and his lazy naps at my feet while I work. Snickerdoodle is part bunny part puppers as far as we can tell, and may or may not actually be a stuffed animal. The verdict is out.
CRINGY OLD TIK TOKS
I love to look back at my super cringy old Tik Toks and laugh at myself. It's such a good reminder of how much I have grown and learned; and also of how trying and failing and then trying again is the only way to ever really succeed.