Amanda’s Career Journey
“I began my post-graduation days working in a school for children who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and struggled with verbal communication. I was a direct teacher to these children and provided them with learning in their natural environment to learn how to communicate and learn their educational goals. My next role was working at the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau in their Family Preservation Program - a program geared towards at-risk youth under 18. These youth were eligible if there was an imminent risk of them being pulled out of their home due to harm towards themselves or others, and our goal was to preserve the family and keep the youth safely in their homes. The Carroll County Youth Service Bureau then received a grant for Connecting Youth in Carroll County and the Director requested I transition to creating, implementing and working in this new program. I gladly accepted and am now the Engagement Manager for Connecting Youth in Carroll County.”
Working as a Connecting Youth Engagement Manager
“I serve 16-24 year olds who are not employed, not enrolled in school and/or are homeless. In my county there are 1,700 "disconnected youth" alone. My role is to filter referrals for eligibility, connect with these youth and provide them with intensive case management and goal setting to assist them as they pursue their GED, further education or employment. There are many barriers that get in the way of youth obtaining their goals so often it's starting at the basics, helping obtain ID, benefits and housing, and then connecting them to the various resources that can provide them with the outlet to achieve their goals. A normal day can consist of transporting youth to their various meetings, to attending county-wide provider meetings to coordinate services, to creating a task oriented goals list with a youth. My days are never the same!”
How has HDFS prepared you?
“HDFS is rooted in the Family Systems Theory and the Family Strengths Perspective. In my position in Family Preservation I often looked towards these models as the lens to view these families in. If this youth were to leave their home, how would this affect their Family System? At what point when you hear all of the things this youth has "messed up" can I find something that is a strength and reframe to these families the positives of this youth? I found that through my education in HDFS it was easy for me to find answers to those questions. Through my experience with creating genograms when I present families to our Agency Consult I am able to quickly create a picture of the family as a whole.”
How does faith interface with your work?
“Unfortunately my role is in a Non-Profit Agency. This means that I cannot speak of the Lord in my work. I can however connect struggling adolescents with faith based organizations and church's and youth groups. Young Life has been most helpful to connect struggling youth to. I pray for my caseload everyday on my way to work.”
“When you graduate you expect to land your dream job yet it seems like you're being denied left and right, don't become discouraged when you "don't qualify" and you "need more experience". It may take a little while but get connected to the field in ANY way you can and don't lose hope. I worked in a school for autism for 6 months before I was presented an opportunity in what I wanted to do. I had no desire to work in that field but it was a job and it was something on my resume. Ultimately I use those skills I learned there every day now and I am beyond thankful for that opportunity. I asked my current employer what got me the job over anyone else and she told me that since I did 3 internships during college, she was impressed that I showed initiative. She never even looked at my GPA. During the summer, get an internship, during the school year, get an internship. It is the best way to beef up your resume before you graduate.”