“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou
There’s only so much parents can do to shape their children’s lives. Sandra Swenson learned that the hard way, when one of her two sons followed the straight and narrow—while the other spiraled into addiction.
Sandy Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom struggles with addiction. Author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction,’ Sandy chronicles her journey through the place where love and addiction meet.
A vagabond since college, Sandy found community service opportunities wherever she moved. Between unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, and figuring out where her kids would attend school, Sandy volunteered as a first grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia; co-founded a volunteer group dedicated to providing life-altering medical care to orphans in India; and photographed cleft surgery patients for Operation Smile in Dharamsala.
As a member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase, Sandy created the Bistro Boyz – a program in which she and a team of Bistro Galz meet weekly with young men from the National Center for Children and Families’ Greentree Adolescent Program to plan menus, budget, grocery shop, cook, and share meals together. In 2012, the National Center for Children and Families awarded the Junior Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase the Spirit Award for Humanitarian Advocacy. In both 2011 and 2012 the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs awarded the Bistro Boyz program the Advocates for Children Award. And, in 2013 the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs — the largest philanthropic women’s organization in the world — nominated the Bistro Boyz program for their International Advocates for Children Award to be awarded in June.
Sandy lives in suburban Austin, Texas, where she has just finished writing her second book, to be published by Hazelden in the fall of 2017. Sandy is a voice for parents–particularly mothers–of children suffering with the disease of addiction, putting their thoughts and feeling into words. When she isn’t writing or speaking at venues across the US, Sandy volunteers at a local maternity home teaching the girls to cook healthy family meals. Sandy also loves to garden, read and travel.