The Caring Force Blog October Workforce Hero Spotlight: Amanda Townson

| Caroline O'Neill

The Caring Force is pleased to announce that our October TCF Hero Spotlight honoree is Amanda Townson, a Case Manager from Justice Resource Institute’s (JRI) foster care program for over six years.

JRI’s foster care program recently suffered the tragic loss of a foster parent because of COVID. The foster parent fostered two children, with one of them having lived at the home for 7 years. Amanda was instrumental in telling the children about the tragedy, transporting them to the services, and supporting the family, often times after work hours. Amanda has supported this family and many others and has held true to the JRI mission.

1. Tell us about your background. How did you decide to pursue a career in human services?

Reason one: My foster brother. Foster care has been a part of my life since birth, as my parent’s fostered for 8 years. My foster brother continues to be my hero and my role model to this day. Many days I think of him when I try and help serve and advocate for these kids in the best way possible.

Reason two: When I was 16, I went on a mission trip to Louisiana with my church. We went to New Orleans to help rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina hit. One night, I had the opportunity to go into the inner city and feed the homeless. The homeless population had tripled since Hurricane Katrina. I was encouraged to not only feed people I encountered on the streets, but to sit down and get to know them. I was touched by the people I encountered and how meaningful it was for them just to be acknowledged and heard by someone. I knew from then on that I wanted to live a life giving back to others and helping others along their journey.

2. What is your favorite professional memory?

It’s so hard for me to choose one professional memory that’s my favorite. I would say anytime I am able to spend quality time with a child outside of my regular home visits. We do special events throughout the year, such as a holiday party, trips to the zoo, trips to the movie theater etc. Those are the memories and the moments that make the hard days worthwhile.

3. The pandemic has been ongoing for more than a year. How have you coped with its challenges

The pandemic has been terribly difficult and painful, but at the end of the day, I choose to have faith in God that we will see an end. In addition to my faith, my family has always been my support system throughout every challenge life throws. I am also incredibly grateful to work with such amazing colleagues at the JRI. We work as a team and have continued to be creative in the ways we serve and encourage our families through this difficult time.

4. This question is from our September 2021 Workforce Hero, Johnathan Jamieson: How has human services, especially working with people with disabilities, affected your personal life?

I walked into social work with the goal to change lives, but in reality, the children and families I encounter every day have changed mine. Seeing the resilience of kids in the foster care system especially, amazes me every day and reminds me I have so much to be grateful for.

 5. Do you have a question for the next person we spotlight? 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Thank you so much to Amanda and all of our wonderful human services workers who bring joy and passion to work every day! We are so thankful for your efforts and for making the Commonwealth a better place.

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