Cathryn Shaw, Founder of ALL AMONG US, INC, an organization that serves the downtown homeless shares how her friends, Andy and Stephanie Hedgecock. Inspire her to continue to do the important work she is doing.
“When I first met Stephanie, she was a single mom of three and going to school to receive her Master's in counseling. Stephanie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, NCC. Jack, Stephanie's youngest, was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child.
Stephanie quickly realized that ADHD is a stressful disorder not just for the individual, but for their parents, siblings, teachers, and peers. As such, she has become the St. Louis expert on ADHD, and serves not only the child, but everyone involved.
Her strength comes out when she sits in a meeting with me at my daughter's school, and it is her voice that is heard. She has the ability to listen, to provide action items, shows compassion and understanding for the teachers, while also fighting for the support the child needs and is legally entitled to.
On occasions when I've been up against the wall with Cat, my daughter's disability, Stephanie makes herself available to me the same day, and talks me down from the ledge. We're laughing by the time we hang up the phone.
Andy's support of Steph melts my heart. Andy is a brilliant scientist. He encourages Stephanie in all areas of life. He is her biggest cheerleader. As a result of their marriage and blended families, Andy has had to learn about ADHD and the hard emotions that come with ADHD in order to be a good step-dad to Jack. He's been a great student.
Andy is as calm as a man can be, which provides great safety for Jack. Andy is trustworthy, which allows Jack to rest into their relationship.
How do they use their passions to inspire others?
A gift Stephanie gives is her parent class, for the parents of kids who have ADHD. It's a place we can come together and realize we are not alone, where we can laugh and cry, where we find hope seeing a family a few years farther down the road, where we know Stephanie does not judge our kids, but adores them.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was simply social friends with Stephanie, and didn't yet know Andy. I had only met him once or twice. I received communication from Stephanie suggesting Cat would benefit from counseling as I went through cancer. She and Andy offered to pick Cat up from school on Fridays, spend an hour or so with her. Then Stephanie included Cat in a small girls group. All for free.
My relationship with Stephanie and Andy makes me brave.
They lead by example.
They stand up to injustice.
It's who they are.
In watching them speak up, I'm able to find words to support the homeless. In a world that has gone silent on many horrific issues, they stand up in a meaningful way.”