San Diego Social Venture Partners hear about each other every month in the newsletter. But what about the people who keep the programs moving forward every day – the professional staff? This month we decided to spend a few minutes with Mandy Sherlock, SDSVP’s Program Associate.
Having spent her career specializing in children with special challenges – she came to her present position last year after working as a teacher and sign language interpreter for the Los Angeles Unified School District – SDSVP is a natural fit. “I envision SDSVP making a deeper commitment to the area of youth and children in San Diego,” she says, adding that one of her most rewarding experiences so far has been her work with this year’s Investment Team, a group that selected SDSVP’s two new Investees who help children facing life-threatening challenges.
A native of Carlsbad where her mother owned a dance studio, Mandy left home in 1996 to go to Texas Christian University, which Charger fans will recognize as the place where another prominent San Diegan – LaDainian Tomlinson – attended college. In fact, football was one of the things that attracted Mandy to TCU: It was a small school that nonetheless fields a Division 1-A football team.
At TCU Mandy was on the dance team and earned a degree in Deaf Education before coming back to California. For the next several years she worked in the deaf community at the National Center on Deafness at California State University Northridge and LAUSD.
Introduced to the deaf community by an aunt who was an interpreter, Mandy loved her work but saw an opportunity to return to San Diego with SDSVP. She remains involved in the community, however, with friends. Mandy is part of a group that travels to Big Bear annually for scrapbooking. “It’s like silent weekend,” she says. “Everyone is signing. No one is talking.”
At SDSVP, Mandy does a little bit of a lot of things, ranging from handling the database, web site and intranet to the newsletters, events, the annual report and administrative chores. “My favorite part of the job is getting to interact with Partners,” she says. “They are such brilliant people who want to make an impact and create social change. It is very inspiring to see them at work.”
When not working, Mandy continues to dance (ballet, jazz and hip-hop) and spend time with her dog, Rylee. “She’s a spaniel mix and a rescue dog,” says Mandy. “She is my baby. She is with me all the time.”
That will change for at least a couple of weeks this September, when Mandy heads to Kenya to work with the deaf and abandoned street children. Long interested in the East African republic – she sponsors a boy there and exchanges letters with him throughout the year – Mandy is in the process of raising $3,000 to pay for the two-week trip. “Kenya has always had a special place in my heart,” Mandy says. “So when this opportunity came up I knew I had to go.”