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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kelley Hollie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelley Hollie. 

Hi Kelley, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My father was in the Air Force and I was raised overseas growing up primarily in Greece, Japan, and England. We left the USA when I was 2 years old and came back just before 7th grade. My parents always instilled in us a love for learning and to do well academically. My mother was instrumental in instilling a love of adventure and stepping outside of my comfort zone as a child. I did Girl Scouts, loved backpacking and camping, participated in choir, and loved to read and write. My mom, in particular, was really supportive of all of my interests and told me constantly that I could do whatever I wanted to do. 

I graduated high school and went to a private college out of state. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I stayed another year to complete my master’s degree in Social Work. Following graduation, I moved to the UK to work in child protection. I stayed in the UK for nearly 9 years working, traveling, and enjoying life. 

I came back to the USA in 2013, met my husband through e-harmony.com, and got married in 2015. We have two small children (3yo & 18month old) and I work part-time as a therapist and teaching at Grand Canyon University. I am in the process of applying to Ph.D. programs. I hope to study sociology & Black Studies or Social Work. My research interests center around liberatory practice, decoloniality, autism, and trauma. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My son is developmentally delayed and has high inclusion and access needs. He is really sweet and clever and affectionate, but definitely does things in his own timing. Having a child with special needs was not what I anticipated but I would not change it for the world. Loving him and raising him has changed so much about how I think about inclusivity and disability in our society. It has made me a fierce advocate for him to be given the same opportunities for connection, belonging, and acceptance that other children enjoy. We spend a lot of time at Phoenix Children’s Hospital – at one point, he was seeing 13 different doctors – so that definitely has put life in perspective in terms of what I stress about and what I am grateful for. Having a neurodiverse child means that I have to live very much in the present and really CELEBRATE the small victories and blessings. I adore my son. He is my hero and I am so honored to bear witness to his rising. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a jack of all trades when it comes to being a Social Worker. I am not licensed clinically but I have clinical experience and am trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities. I have a lot of work experience in mental health and trauma work. I’ve worked in Child Protection, adoption – including overseeing international adoptions for several years – and foster care. I am a strong advocate for abolishing the child welfare system which is also known as the family policing system. I am passionate about ensuring that children in the foster care system receive effective and practical therapeutic services to address their trauma which includes the trauma of entering the foster care system. I am someone who wants to see transformative, systemic change happen in our institutions and culture in order to uplift marginalized communities and promote equity and racial reconciliation. 

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I’m much more emotional and sensitive than people tend to realize. I follow my instinct and really am a person that trusts my gut. I trust my body and what it is communicating to me about other people or boundaries or interactions. I think people see me as someone who is really confident and outgoing – they are often shocked to learn that I am a major introvert! I can be around people and be the life of the party but I have to go away and be by myself in order to recharge my emotional batteries. 

I am starting a podcast called “The Curious Outliers” with a friend of mine named Hayley Mendez. She is training to be a Social Worker and we hope to explore Social Work, race, culture, liberatory practice, and scholarship in our podcast. I will also be chronicling my Ph.D. journey through this podcast and discussing the realities of parenting. 

Contact Info:

  • Email: thecuriousoutlier@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @thecuriousoutlier
  • Twitter: @mrshollie2015

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