Upcoming Events:

logo blue and light blue text: Make Your Mark! Self-Advocacy ConferenceSeptember 27-28, 2018: Iowan’s with Disabilities in Action Make Your Mark Self-Advocacy Conference, Des Moines, IA. MOTFL will have a table at this event. Tammy Nyden is speaking on the panel, “Engaging in the Election Process.”


October 3, 2018 , 11:15 am – 1:00 pm. Noyce Building, room 1023., Grinnell College. Grinnell Prize Week Panel Discussion: Connecting Science and the Social Good. Tammy Nyden will speak about the importance of the humanities to inquiries regarding  social justice. She will discuss the Mothers on the Frontline story collecting methodology, which is based in feminist philosophy.  The MOTFL methodology is also inductive in nature and  grounded on the premise that important and often overlooked topics and potential research questions will arise when not held down by preconceived narratives that are necessarily part of traditional research methods. She will discuss how the resulting story archive can inform and complement more traditional qualitative and quantitative research, by revealing questions they have not been asking, but should.

logo: red & blue shield with white star. Text reads Justice Action NewtworkOctober 9, 2018 Iowa Justice Action Network “Justice: A New Narrative” Conference, Waterloo, IA. MOTFL will have a table at this event.

logo: two stick figures touching heart betweent them. Text: Please Pass the loveOctober 16, 2018: Please Pass the Love’s 6th Annual School Mental Health Conference: “Culturally Competent School Mental Health”, Des Moines, IA. MOTFL will have a table at this event.


October 26-27. 2018: Digital Stories for Social Justice Workshop: The School-to-Prison Pipeline, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA.

The workshop brings together leaders and aspiring leaders in advocacy and activism on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, all who have lived experience with this issue and provides them the training to be interviewers in their own communities. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to network with allies, share a healing atmosphere with people who ‘get it’, and learn from each other’s wisdom. Our time together will include sessions on the power of story work to heal individuals and communities, technical aspects of recording (equipment will be provided), how to use the archive to bring about positive social change, and self-care when engaging in this emotional social justice work. During the workshop, each participant will contribute to the archive by being interviewed and interviewing another participant.

Mothers on the Frontline is co-facilitating this workshop with three Grinnell Professors under the auspices of the Grinnell College Innovation grant: Stephanie Jones, Tammy Nyden, and Kesho Scott.

May 8-10, 2019 The School-to-Prison Pipeline Story Center Workshop. Grinnell College. Participants will create and produce brief videos based on their personal experiences with policies and systemic practices known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

logo: text reads: Story Center, Listen Deeply, Tell StoriesMothers on the Frontline will co-facilitate this workshop with the Story Center and professors from Grinnell College.

Past Events:

Monday, August 20, 2018: Storytelling and Stewardship:  Mothering at the Intersections of Mental Health and School Policy

The session will concentrate on the power of storywork for healing and advocating on behalf of our children. Focusing on the mental health of children and mothers, we will examine the intersections between social and emotional health/learning, and school/medical policies. We will discuss strategies for deciding what to share with whom, and how to tell your story in a way that leaves you and your family feeling whole and respected, while at the same time effectively advocating for your child’s medical and educational needs.

logo with abstract image of African continent overlaid with image of a women, plant, wall. TExt reads: Black Women for Wellness Presents August 20th, 2018 Power ForwardThis workshop is a session at the 2018 Black Women for Wellness Annual Reproductive Justice Conference: “Power Forward”, Los Angeles, CA.

Saturday, May 5, 2018, 12:30 pm:  Storytelling for Healing Workshop

As caregivers of children with special needs, we are always being asked questions about our child – from doctors, teachers, strangers, family, etc. The questions can often feel insensitive, hurtful, and leave us feeling fragmented. This constant barrage can make our children and us, as caregivers, feel invisible, because ultimately the questions are not about our wonderful children or our care-giving, but about diagnoses and behaviors – about ‘problems to be solved’.

This session will focus on the power of storywork for healing in caregivers. We will discuss strategies for deciding what to share with whom, how to contextualize your story in a way that leaves you and your family feeling whole and respected, while at the same time being a more effective part of your child medical and educational team.

logo: orange and blue, text reads: 2018 Together we can Conference, Saturday, May 5, Iowa State FairgroundsThis workshop is a break-out session at the ASK Resource Center 2018 Together We Can Conference at the Iowa State Fairgrounds  in Des Moines, Iowa. To register, click here. (Free for parents, guardians, family members and persons with disabilities. Childcare is available and requires a reservation with deposit. Child care slots fill up quickly, so make your reservation soon!

Friday, November 10, 2017, 10:15-11:45 am: Storytelling for Advocacy workshop

This workshop will discuss the power of the personal story to advocate for positive policy change. We will describe how people can become involved in the new Mothers on the Frontline Podcast project,  in which participants share not only the experience of living with or raising children with mental illness, but other intersections salient to the story they wish to tell. The session includes an activity to help participants practice effective storytelling.

Logo, text reads: NFFVMH National Federation for Children's Mental HealthThis workshop is part of the 2017 National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Conference, Orlando, Florida.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 7:30 pm: The Power of our Stories: Achieving Mental Health and Criminal Justice Transformation Through Women’s Advocacy

Members of the Essie Justice Group and Mothers on the Frontline will discuss the power and perils of uplifting the experiences of women in advocacy work. Panelists will explore the significance of bringing women’s stories into stigma-laden public debates, through a focus on advocacy at the intersection of mental health and incarceration. Leaders of Essie Justice Group and Mothers on the Frontline will discuss their methodologies and commitment to promoting healing and agency while avoiding voyeurism and further trauma in their efforts to leverage women’s stories to advocate for decarceration and the mental well-being of ourselves, children, and loved ones.

logo: Red laurel leaf with text: Grinnell College This Panel Discussion is part of Grinnell Prize Week at Grinnell College, Grinnell Iowa.


Saturday, September 9, 2017, 12:30 pm: Making our Stories Count: Advocating for Children’s Mental Health in Iowa

This session discusses the impact personal stories can make to change policy at the state level. It provides an overview of Iowa legislative initiatives currently underway concerning children’s mental health and discusses ways to get involved.

logo for Please Pass the Love. Heart with two stick figures touching it with text "Please pass the love"This session is part of the Please Pass the Love 2017 Iowa Parents of Children with Behavioral Health Conference, Des Moines, Iowa.