Thistle Farmer and Magdalene resident (soon to be a graduate!), Lydia Macklin, is also a published author. She has been in a variety of different magazines and newspapers, including Nashville's The Contributor. Thanks to one particular article Lydia wrote about her experiences, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Racquel Hatter, contacted Lydia and asked to set up a meeting with her.
Lydia shared her story of meeting with the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner Shalonda Cawthon, and Customer Service Assistant, Sumita Banerjee:
We met for an hour about my aritcle that I wrote in The Contributor. She is trying very hard to change the structure of the department and meeting with different people to get views on what works and doesn't work in the system. We discussed how we can remove the stigma attached to recieving services from the department -- something to fight the myths that surround the type of people that receive assistance. She asked detailed questions about how the department could improve. We discussed about reducing the amount of paperwork involved in applying, and possibly allowing updates online. We asked each other a lot of questions. She was very friendly, and was truly interested in how she can improve the Human Services Department.
We're so proud of your accomplishments, Lydia!