Stephanie Mitchell Hughes is quintessentially a servant to the community.
Born into a family of educators, Stephanie grew up listening to stories about children who were poor and often came to school hungry. These same children returned to an empty house after school and remained there alone for several hours and sometimes overnight.
These stories shaped and informed Stephanie work as an attorney and her social activism in the areas of child advocacy, domestic violence, and empowering women and girls. Stephanie has represented children who are abused, neglected and dependent, advocated on behalf of children with learning differences, worked on local, state, and national initiatives in support of victims of domestic violence, and supported other programs to empower and educate women.
In February 2006, Stephanie became a single parent, with few resources, and no support. At the time, Stephanie had a law practice devoted to representing children in the child welfare system and older women in need of assistance with managing end of life issues. Despite all of her experience and education, Stephanie found it difficult to transition back into the traditional practice of law. In the midst of parenting, running a household, and a fledgling law practice, Stephanie disconnected from the community and allowed all of her professional contacts to grow stale. However, Stephanie also realized that her difficulties as a single working mother stood in stark contrast to the challenges experienced by other single mothers with less education, even fewer resources, and no support. Stephanie openly shares her personal story so that other single mothers will learn from her many mistakes and to encourage them on their journey.
In October 2013, Stephanie talked about her journey as a single parent at TedxColumbus 2013.
Recently, Stephanie began serving as an Ambassador for Ascend’s Two-Generation Approach at The Aspen Institute. As an Ambassador, Stephanie will write, speak, and blog about the Ascend Program’s Two Generation Approach to educate single mothers and give them the tools needed to become economically stable.