Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW
I have worked in the field of social services for over a decade, and I have been fortunate to engage in a variety of service work, which has allowed me to experience every aspect of social work practice. I have worked with children and families providing individual and group community based services for those diagnosed with a severe emotional disturbance, created and facilitated parenting classes, planned and managed multiple workshops and conferences, and provided therapeutic services for children who were victims of severe physical and sexual abuse. I have also served families recovering from homelessness, served LGBTQ youth and adults in group and individual settings, advocated against discriminatory legislation, engaged with elected officials to advocate for LGBTQ residents and LGBTQ migrant detainees, advocated for migrant children and families, engaged in local and national organization efforts to shut down the Tornillo child detention center, engaged in multiple public speaking engagements, and started the Coalition to End Child Detention- El Paso. Now through my partnership with Borderland Rainbow Center in El Paso, TX, I am working to provide meaningful education to professionals and community members across the country as the Education and Content Manager for the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso.
My career has been different, I think, than most in the social work profession. It has been full of variety, and has allowed me to find myself in positions as a direct service provider, a supervisor and manager, a volunteer, a community leader, and an activist and advocate. These experiences have led me to the conclusion that I will not be content behind a desk or in an office. I need to be out in the community. I take my profession very seriously, and believe firmly that in order to uphold the integrity of the social work profession I must do more than be compassionate; I must act. To act is to advocate, and advocacy is at the heart of social work practice. It is in fact the foundation the social work profession was built on. I approach my work with sincerity, and with the belief that I am bound by duty and a responsibility to the broader society to be engaged in social justice work. The NASW Code of Ethics is clear about responsibility to not only serve individuals with the upmost integrity, but to serve the community and be socially engaged, acting in allyship, and advocating for policies and institutional changes which promote equity and social justice.
What I have observed throughout these many years of work is that education is the most powerful tool. I firmly believe that as human beings we try to do our best with what we have. We perceive and react to the best of our ability based on the knowledge, tools, and coping skills we have, and if we know better then we can do better. This website is dedicated to that purpose, to education. I am happy to offer my services through community trainings, forums, and advocacy.