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About Catherine Hughes
Hailing from a small town southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dubbed "the most boring town in Pennsylvania," Catherine Hughes is the daughter of two English professors. She is a passionate advocate, innovative storyteller, and community strategist.
Catherine is an international best-selling author and/or editor of multiple books including It's Going to be AUlright: Testimonies from Ausome Women Raising Ausome People, You Are Not Alone: Stories, Resources and Hope from Autism Moms, several books in the Made to Overcome series, Becoming an Exceptional Leader: Inspiration from 14 Accomplished Disability Changemakers, Mental Health DisABILITY: Perception vs. Reality (by Louis Bianco), From the Inside Out: An Autistic Person's Journey to Creating Inclusive Employment Opportunities (by Mary Nixon Hahn), and We All Belong: Musings on Inclusion, Acceptance, and Kindness.
Her long-awaited memoir, Imprisoned No More: A Mother and Son Embrace Autism and Journey to Freedom released in August 2020. She presented her father's poetry (Seeking Utopia: The Art, Poems, and Passages of John J. Tomko) on what would have been his 77th birthday (1/16/21). The release of both of these books (and all of her other projects) fulfill the promise she made to her father in his final days.
Catherine has managed a blog and social media platforms as The Caffeinated Advocate since 2018. If you were wondering about her caffeine of choice, she's always loved her Dunkin', but is now a sponsored "barista babe" for Coffee Over Cardio. Birthday Cake is her CoC java of choice. Who doesn't need a little caffeine and cake in their life, right?
In August 2020, Catherine not only released her memoir, but also founded The Caffeinated Advocate, LLC. She is the Chief Inspirational Officer (CIO), and offers a wide array of services as an author, editor, coach, consultant, speaker, and trainer. She is a Certified Master Life Coach, with certifications endorsed by Transformation Academy of Clearwater, Florida.
For over seventeen years, she has provided comprehensive support and passionate advocacy to individuals and self-advocates, their families, and surrounding natural supports throughout their communities. She considers herself a servant leader, one who cultivates, develops and maintains relationships with grace and grit in order to create, enhance, and promote services and programs that transform lives. On a personal level, her calling (not a career) allows her to give back some of what has so graciously been given to her family. She proudly serves as the Director of Family Support and Community Engagement at Achieving True Self, supporting families across the Northeastern U.S.
Living with her in that "boring" (ok, it's not actually boring) town and very much not boring household are Mama Betty, Christian, and their pets Callie, Cookie, Candie, Hannah, Maddie and Raven the Cats -- yes six cats -- and the one and only Abby Dog.
Connect with Catherine
The Caffeinated Advocate: www.thecaffeinatedadvocate.com
YouTube: The Caffeinated Advocate
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This book will inspire and motivate you to reflect on your personal experience, talents, and passions, to create a disability-focused offering of your own.
Becoming an Exceptional Leader is a resource for the disability entrepreneur. This is an intimate first-person account of each author’s personal journey through envisioning, creating, and growing a disability centered offering. Whether the author has a disability themselves or are motivated by a loved one with a disability, every author shares their individual motivations, challenges, entrepreneurial lessons, and important nuances related to a disability-related offering.
“Becoming an Exeptional Leader turns the every day into the extraordinary. These inspiring leaders’ stories lift up triumphs over trials and stimulate individual and collective action. This book inspires us to be not only better leaders but also better people.”
Brian A. Goldstein PhD, CCC-SLP
Chief Academic Officer/Executive Dean
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences San Marcos, CA
“I wish I had this book when I started my business. Not only are the stories inspiring, but Becoming an Exceptional Leader shares the steps and lessons to make moving forward easier.”
Disabled Veteran, Success Coach, Author, Speaker, Strategist
Mai Ling Chan
This was the day that she thought she would make it home to schedule an evaluation for her son before heading to work for her evening shift.
This was the day she thought she was on her way to getting answers about her son’s struggles.
This was the day that she thought she would soon obtain services that she believed he desperately needed.
This was also the day that her son was taken from her arms, and she was thrown in prison without bond.
These chapters detail her fight to clear her name while accepting her son’s diagnosis of autism, their pursuit of services and their new way forward.
These chapters share both trials and triumphs, along with some sage guidance and resources from The Caffeinated Advocate herself.
This is their long-awaited story.
Those who have been sexually violated often suffer the impact of the abuse for many years to come, sometimes even for a lifetime. Many lose their sense of worth, their identity, their purpose, and their voice. The brave twelve men and women who share their stories in this book made the decision to be SILENT NO MORE! They found supernatural strength to turn trauma into resilience, not just for their sake, but also for the sake of others.
Sexual assault in childhood or adulthood impacts not only the victim, but also the victim’s family and friends, and society as a whole. Relationships, families, and careers are impacted as well. In this regard, sexual assault is a public health problem that concerns everyone. We can all do something to stop sexual abuse in our communities, and help others to heal.
Through their powerful stories, they want their readers to know:
There is hope.
You are not alone; we are all in this together.
Help is available.
You can thrive in spite of what you've been through in your past.
When we don't talk about what troubles us, we increase stigma. When we don't talk about mental health, we reinforce the message that "we can't talk about it” - and that couldn't be further from the truth!
When we don't talk about mental illness, we increase the shame that people feel - shame caused by stigma. When people feel ashamed of their challenges, they don't seek help. When people don't seek help, bad things happen to them and to the people who love and support them.
It's time to break the stigma, one story at a time!
In our homes, let's talk about it.
In our schools, let's talk about it.
In our civic clubs, let's talk about it.
In our congregations, let's talk about it.
In every community, let's talk about it.
The next book in the Made to Overcome series unites a group of women who serve with love and demonstrate resilience beyond measure.
Within this collaboration, thirteen powerful women share deeply personal stories about caregiving for loved ones who have experienced illness, are diagnosed with disabilities, and/or struggle with complications from aging. As coauthor Kirsten Peterson shares in her chapter, they bravely "lead (their families) with nonstop energy, grace, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and absolute UNCONDITIONAL love."
These women, like coauthors featured throughout the Made to Overcome series, continue to rise above their circumstances, and are determined to help others do the same. Sit back, perhaps grab a warm beverage and a soft throw blanket, and absorb the wisdom and strength of this incredible tribe.
From his younger years, to his days as a graduate student studying literature, to his middle and senior years, he wrote verse, as well as hauntingly beautiful letters. He even sketched and painted. He so yearned to be published, but, during his lifetime, he only saw one poem in print -- in a college magazine. His work, though, deserved to see the light of day.
In this book, his beloved daughter presents many of her father’s works for all the world to share. Indeed, dreams do come true.
"Four days later, our family said . . . Goodbye." Some hurts, they hurt us for a moment. Some hurts haunt us forever. It brought me joy and more than a bit of pain as I read and reflected on the words of a beloved father and husband as his devoted daughter immortalized him by sharing his words with the world. John’s words take us from, “somewhere in the land of lost dreams,” to ‘what a place to celebrate birth.” I have often felt that the bipolar people of the world hurt harder and love deeper. John’s words take us into the deep end of the reflection pool. Rest in peace, John Tomko, as we reflect in peace.” -- Greg Wooley, father, friend, and fellow sufferer, author of Rise and Shine poetry
"We all have a need to belong. We all want to feel included. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and to feel connected to others in meaningful ways." ~ Chou Hallegra, MA, bestselling author, speaker, trainer, life coach, diversity/inclusion consultant.
"Prejudice, discrimination, and lack of cultural competence are still rampant within the health care system, and unconscious bias among professionals often results in misdiagnosis, inaccurate treatment, and distrust in mental health providers." ~ Karima Leslie, Black author, wellness expert, and spiritual life and business coach.
"Advocacy and perseverance are about being humble and empathetic enough to know that we all can rise to the occasion." ~ LeAnne Salazar-Montoya, Ph.D., educational administrator, author, and consultant.
"Change happens when we recognize that each child has something important to contribute and that making space for each child’s personhood will undoubtedly and positively influence the greater majority." ~ Dana Hall, author, and licensed clinical professional counselor.
"As women not only do we need to stand together but we need to continue to bring forth all the changes we face and find solutions together. It’s our time now." ~ Erin Montgomery, journalist, author, editor, and founder of Flourish Magazine.
Without discounting the challenges, the pain, and all the losses, the authors of Made to Overcome - Chronic Illness Edition openly share how they are finding meaning, purpose, joy, and peace despite chronic illness. The chronic illnesses that could have ended their lives have become their motivation to live. Through their health struggles, they have become resilient, more compassionate, and superheroes in their own rights. Many have founded organizations, sparked movements, and created other initiatives that are shaking up our world.
Although their stories and personalities differ, they are unified in their message. They have one hope and one goal only, and that is to remind everyone to never give up no matter what circumstances they are enduring.
No matter what cards you have been dealt in this life, no matter what illnesses you are experiencing, you are made to overcome! This message resonates through each chapter in this book, and its truth will not be silenced.
We are rising above chronic illnesses, and so can you!
“ My challenges do not have to be a negative thing anymore. I can use my experiences to help others.” Domonique Jackson-Rodriguez, Author
“ We need to be mindful of our own personal mental health so we can, in turn, support those we love and care for” Tracy Loken Weber, Author
“ I want to live in a community when I no longer fear inaccurate perceptions. I want to prove that I am more than my diagnosis.” Louis Bianco, Author
You haven’t heard theirs.
Ausome Women. Ausome People. Ausome Stories.
This collaborative anthology was created to provide a platform for mothers of loved ones living with autism to share life struggles and lessons learned that will encourage others. Our authors provide real stories, advice and resources that will help readers achieve personal goals and take action. We want our readers to feel inspired to be bold, not be afraid to try non-traditional approaches, and not fear the diagnosis but rather embrace it and rebuild their lives.
We hope that after reading this powerful book, readers find strength and feel less alone in their journey.
If you are a single parent, the stories in this book will give you hope and strength to keep moving forward. If you are not a single parent, these stories will inspire you to never give up no matter the challenges. You will also learn a thing or two about how you can support single parents near and far. The tips provided in this book will help any parent and family thrive despite the challenges.