Moms Making Waves: Every Kid Matters to This Social Worker

"Every crisis presents opportunities for growth and the chance to make a difference in the world."

By Joyce Shulman January 1, 2019

Who she is:

Lori Madrid, mom of two, two-time cancer warrior, and founder of Everybody Matters.

How she's making waves: 

Lori founded her not-for-profit in Arizona to arm emotionally vulnerable kids with critical coping skills by matching them with social work interns. 

“We are simultaneously helping kids and building the next generation of committed, engaged, and fired-up social workers," she said.

Why she did it: 

“As a social worker, I saw so many kids falling through cracks and families that weren’t in the position to get them the services they needed," Lori said. "As a professor, I saw talented college students with so much to offer, anxious to get robust real-world experience, and bring their academic studies to life.”

The ah-ha moment:

Lori was working with a young girl who had endured unimaginable trauma. She sought to get her the help and support she needed. But Lori faced every roadblock you can imagine in working to offer the child services.

“Driving down the road away from yet another place that would not give this girl services -- even though I had raised the money to pay for them --  I was so angry and so frustrated," she said. "And then I had this idea!"  

The work:

Everyone jokes about “cloning themselves." But Lori decided to actually kind of do that.

"I decided to train interns to provide social work using my specific method and in year one, 14 interns provided services to 235 kids. In year two, 15 interns served 435 kids," she said. "And this year -- smarter and better still -- we have 38 interns and are on track to help more than 1,000 kids. We will see them face to face over 10,000 times.”

The surprise: 

“My goal was to the help the kids, but the hidden gift is the training of the interns," Lori said. "They are fully engaged and developing their skills. But more importantly, they see the tremendous impact their work has on the most vulnerable kids, and their commitment to that work is beyond what I imagined. Truly, we are helping to build the next generation of great social workers.”

What's next: 

She’s moving beyond Arizona because, she said, everybody matters. There are lots of kids in lots of communities who need help. 

What she does on 'those days':

Despite confronting some of the worst of human behavior and managing “at least one  major crisis a week,” Lori doesn’t have any of “those days.” 

“Yes, we see horrible things," she said. "But we are able to help, and in every crisis there’s an opportunity to do something new, to learn a new approach, and make a significant difference. I don’t focus on the horrible because I’m already looking for the solution.”

The kids who keep her going:

“These kids are so brave and I have a deep respect for them," she said of the kids her program helps. "Every moment I feel so grateful for this opportunity to make their lives better and, in turn, they do the same for me.”

Learn more about Lori and Everybody Matters.