Personally, I initially saw my work at Amara as very daunting in the long run. Amara, formerly Medina’s Children Services, is a nonprofit that works to find permanence for every child in the form of a forever family.
Last week, I was prompted to think about what would it take to create a society in which Amara’s services are not needed. I struggled with envisioning this hypothetical world for several reasons. First, Amara does more than foster care. They have the Emergency Sanctuary, which is staffed by trained volunteers who care for children just removed from their families due to suspected abuse or neglect. In addition, they provide nonjudgmental pregnancy counseling, informing clients of all opportunities available to them, including adoption, abortion, and parenting. More recently, they launched a child-centered court initiative to add an amendment to the Washington State constitution to better protect the child’s interests throughout his or her time in Washington courts. (A more detailed description of these services are offered on their website.)
DukeEngage challenges us to consider how civic engagement becomes a part of our Duke degree. Although this blog post cannot offer a solution to the question of “What can we do to make Amara’s services unnecessary in our society?”, it does encourage me to take advantage of the remaining six weeks to search for that answer. There is plenty more for me to learn about Amara’s work and the role I will play in serving this community. As I mentioned at the beginning, my time in Seattle is short. However, as we clearly articulated in our “Group Norms” on the first day, what is learned here leaves here. Specifically, this summer is a piece of my larger Duke education. It is a crucial part of my instruction, perhaps the most important part: how I use what I learn to serve others and enhance my community. Here’s to the next month and half of living and learning in Seattle and all the lessons in store for us.