Jonathan Mangano is a Domestic Violence Counselor at Families First. Originally from Minnesota, he is the eldest of four boys and the son of a bible scholar-father and a counselor-mother. As a matter-of-fact, it was his mother that influenced his earnest interest in becoming a counselor.
“My mother gave me a compliment one day when I was younger,” shared Jonathan, “she said I had a way of diffusing situations and helping people—I had a way of getting to the root of an issue. She is a counselor and that meant a lot coming from her.”
And Jonathan never looked back, receiving degrees from Lincoln Christian University and Indiana Wesleyan University. He did an internship at Families First in the Chemical Dependency program. Toward the end of his internship, Jonathan sat in on his first BIP (Batterers’ Intervention Program) class and the rest was history. He got in touch with Families First again and specifically asked for an internship with the Domestic Violence team and a few months later, was hired on as a BIP education counselor, his first full time role out of graduate school.
The BIP is an education based program that makes victim safety its primary priority, holds offenders accountable, and promotes a coordinated community response to domestic violence. The goal of a BIP is to provide men who use violence with the opportunity and skills to change the behavior, beliefs, and attitudes that support their use of violence against intimate partners. It can be challenging to work with men not yet free of the mask of masculinity, but Jonathan knows he must be patient, as a shift in believe doesn’t come until weeks after their initial meeting, sometimes week 20 of a 26-week course. In his courses, he prioritizes consistency. He must always offer unconditional care for his group and the prioritization of victim safety.
Some of the resources that Jonathan uses in class include Brene Brown’s TED Talks on vulnerability and the 2015 documentary, “The Mask You Live In” which is examines the vary narrow view of masculinity in American culture.
Outside of work, Jonathan keeps things simple and authentic. He enjoys spending time with his wife, spoiling his Corgi named Shuffles, and keeping up-to-date on the latest sports news and statistics.
When asked about his hopes for Families First, Jonathan expressed his desire for Families First to always be continually improving, always considering best practices and always asking, “Who else can we serve?”
That sounds about right.