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About Me
Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

I have worked in the field of social services for over 15 years, and I have been fortunate to engage in a variety of service work which has allowed me to experience a diverse array of social work practice. From 2007-2015 I worked for a non-profit in Wichita, KS. During my time there I was able to work in a variety of roles, including working with children and families providing individual and group community-based services for those diagnosed with a severe emotional disturbance, creating and facilitating parenting classes, planning and managing multiple workshops and conferences, providing therapeutic services for children who were victims of severe physical and sexual abuse, and supervising a team of 80 staff with over 200 youth clients.

Since leaving that agency, I have spent several years working in Texas, and was able to provide service and support for families recovering from homelessness, LGBTQ+ youth and adults in group and individual settings and focus on the area of social work I am most passionate about, macro social work.

Over the last 7 years I have developed my skills in public speaking, writing, leadership, and training development, and I have been able to activate those skills both in alliance with others and independently. My primary areas of focus are LGBTQ+ equity, racial equity, immigration issues, and implicit bias. With intersectionality at the root of my work, I focus on narratives and social constructs and the interconnectedness of all forms of prejudice and discrimination.  Through my work with the Borderland Rainbow Center as the Director of its education and training program the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso, I have been able to develop and facilitate training both in person and asynchronously to over 60,000 people, as well as multiple Universities and both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Aside from my work with the Borderland Rainbow Center, I have been able to partner with community members and organizations to advocate against discriminatory legislation, engage with elected officials to advocate for LGBTQ residents and LGBTQ migrant detainees, advocate for migrant children and families, and engage in local and national organization efforts to shut down the Tornillo child detention center. I was honored to receive the Social Worker of the Year aware from the NASW-TX Rio Grande chapter in 2022 in recognition of this work.  

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My career has been different, I think, than the typical path 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. 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.

 

I have been so fortunate to collaborate with community groups and organizations over the years and engage in actions which have had big impact. This work has pushed and tested me in ways I could have never imagined, and has forced me to face my own privilege, power, and identity. That introspective and journey is HARD, but I firmly believe that it is necessary for all of us.

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, awareness, and building capacity to create change.  I am happy to offer my services through community trainings, forums, consultation, and advocacy work.

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