Mandy Ketcham

Today we celebrate Mandy Ketcham! YWCA Yakima is on a mission to empower women. #52women52weeks was created to celebrate and highlight the amazing women & #SHEros in the #yakimavalley. We are proud to share more about Mandy..
If you could not work for a year, what would you do? There are so many things I would do with my time; volunteer at my daughter and grandson’s school. Spend more time with the ones I love. Teach classes about Dementia and help families through this difficult journey. I might travel the world with my family and learn how others live.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? Go for it! Go for your dreams, they are never too big, start small, get to know those around you and build a support group, ask for help, put in the hard work; it will always pay off. And…….Believe in yourself!
What makes you happy? What makes me happy is my family. It sounds so cheesy but it’s true. I was a very young mom and in an abusive household. Many people told me that I would amount to nothing because I was a teenage mom. This has made me truly appreciate my husband, kids, grandbabies and my in-laws, they all love me for whom I am….flaws and all.
How do you measure success? It’s not about money or possessions, it’s all about how I make a difference in this world. Wither it be making a difference with my kids or when I hear that I was referred to someone because I helped them through a very difficult time and that I made a huge difference in their lives, this is what success is; helping others!
What historical event inspires you the most? I thought about this question in depth and even processed it over with a friend. There have been many global historical event that have inspired me to change the way I think, do things in my life and how I see others around me, BUT, there is one personal historical event that has inspired me and has changed my life forever. I became a teenage mom at age 16, was pregnant my entire Junior year and a single mom my Senior year, living on my own while my boyfriend (baby’s dad) was in the Army. I was told there was no way I could graduate on time because I had failed 10 classes my first 3 years of school; going to summer school and taking extra classes, I ended up graduating with extra credits and was able to graduate on time. This is the historical moment that has inspired me the most. It inspired me to be better, do better and show my son that nothing is impossible to overcome.
Have you ever had an ah-ha moment? And if so, what did you learn from it?
My recent ah-ha moment was when I was processing the above question with a friend and realized that I don’t have to be ashamed of my past and by sharing “my story”, of growing up in a very abusive household, it could be beneficial not only for someone else who is going through a similar journey but it is healing for me as well. Not too many people know about my story because I was always ashamed of how I grew up. I now know that it is a privilege to be a survivor and to be able to talk about my story and to not be ashamed of it.
Here’s a short version of my story: I grew up in a very abusive, mentally, physical and sexual, household. In the 3rd grade alone I was in 3 or 4 different schools/states, because my mom was always running from something or someone. As a teenager my sisters and I finally stood up to a man that was taking advantage of us and he was removed from our home but it seemed that my mom could not live without him, so here we are again, moving so that he could follow us and move in. At 16 I ended up pregnant and by 19 having 2 kids under the age of 3, then becoming a single mom at 20. I have survived, thrived, cried, thought that the world would end but my boys have always been my world and I worked hard for them. I wanted to make sure they did not have the life I did growing up. I now have an amazing husband, a daughter (10yrs old), my 2 boys and 2 wonderful grandbabies.
Life is hard, work is hard is hard, but not going anywhere in life is so much harder.

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