Shannon is a lifelong Lawrence townie, proud to have been raised here by a community who cared and offered support throughout her youth, which was steeped in experiences of family violence and deep personal trauma. Without the community support offered by her neighbors, friends’ families, robust social services, and many wonderful teachers -- Shannon is certain her life would look different today. Thankfully, the Douglas County community planted early seeds of values Shannon now works to live by: justice, safety, and mutual aid.
Lucky to be educated by schools throughout Douglas County’s 2nd District, Shannon is a proud alumnus of New York & Broken Arrow Elementary Schools and Billy Mills Middle School where she got to know Principal Blackbird, who opened her eyes to the full and truthful history of Haskell Indian Nations University with education, cultural awareness and opportunities for service on their campus. She graduated Lawrence High in 2003, having served 2 years as Class President & Editor-in-Chief of The Budget during her senior year. During her time as a student at University of Kansas, Shannon served as a Resident Assistant at Hashinger Hall, a role that helped her lean into her natural empathy skills and an ability to lead by way of compassionate connection. Being an RA laid an early foundation for a career in social justice and advocacy work. She later moved to Brooklyn after spending 2 life-changing summers in upstate New York at Camp Fiver, which gave her the opportunity to learn what community building and empowerment could look like for ethnically diverse young folks who were surviving varied injustices in their home communities. As "LEAD" Program Director for the teen campers, she helped facilitate dialogue on equity & social responsibility in leadership. Shannon also loved teaching classic camp activities like fishing, canoeing, crafts, and environmentalism.
Shannon left for Brooklyn more eager than ever to explore the path of public service & was selected to be an AmeriCorps VISTA Member at an organization that provided a wide scope of supports to dense neighborhood communities. She also worked retail and childcare jobs for a few years before deciding she was ready to come back home in 2010, re-joining AmeriCorps for 1 more year, with a role based at the United Way of Douglas County’s Roger Hill Volunteer Center. Her favorite project from that time was developing the "Summer of Service" program where Douglas County youth signed up for week-long volunteer projects at agencies throughout the entire county. She became a volunteer advocate at GaDuGi SafeCenter (now the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center) around that same time, which sparked her drive to pursue a career in direct advocacy work with fellow survivors of violence. In February 2013, Shannon became Court Advocacy Coordinator at The Willow Domestic Violence Center so she could support folks navigating the legal system as a means to establish safety for their families. She had direct lived experience with our local systems, which she realized could be leveraged as useful peer support for others. Her role offers insight into the daily barriers & struggles of many folks navigating our systems, allowing her to help amplify survivors' voices more.
Outside of work life Shannon and her partner, Bobbi, enjoy making native prairie gardens together for local pollinators of all varieties. Bobbi, an Air Force Academy graduate, currently works at Cerner as a Software Engineer, and spends much of their time on woodworking projects and DIY home improvement. Together, Shannon & Bobbi are committed to supporting local community organizing efforts focused on racial equity and justice. And for a recharge, they love the opportunity to travel whenever possible ... often in search of epic hiking adventures.