May 17, 2023

Friends - Central Oregon: Amanda's Story of Resilience

When Friends of the Children selects a child for our program, we promise to stand by them, no matter what.

A promise is a promise. Friends of the Children Central Oregon doesn’t make promises it can’t keep. When we select a child for our program, we promise to stand by them, no matter what.

Amanda was part of our first cohort of children when we opened in 2017. Her bright eyes and sunny disposition were contagious, and she lit up at any opportunity to learn something new. You would never know the trauma she had experienced. From being homeless to entering foster care three hours away, her positive outlook never changed. Her resilience guided her every decision to look past the hurt and focus on the good. One constant she could always look forward to was her time spent with Friend/Professional Mentor Colleen. During her time in foster care, she and Colleen would use FaceTime to stay connected.

A year later, Amanda returned to the Central Oregon area but to a place that was unfamiliar to her. With a new home and starting a new school, she struggled to make new connections. Colleen jumped in to support the challenging adjustment. When they talked about Amanda’s hopes and dreams and when she feels the happiest, without hesitation her love for animals came up.

There is a local Humane Society not too far from Amanda’s school, so every Monday she and Colleen volunteer, feeding and walking the dogs. Through their time there, the staff learned more about the Friends model and really enjoyed getting to know Amanda. “She has such a gentle heart and really connects with the animals that are timid or scared,” a staff member mentioned.

“Friends of the Children gives me opportunities to try new things and visit new places. I love that on some days I don’t have to go straight home. I get to spend time with Colleen and we do lots of fun things together” says Amanda.

As Amanda prepares to enter middle school in the fall, she shares how Colleen has helped instill the confidence to never give up and try her best. “I do better in school now. I’m comfortable around her and know I can share anything with her. She’s a true friend.” Amanda fondly shares.

“From the beginning, I knew she was a super sweet girl. Now she’s grown into this super kind and loving human with a passion to better animals and other people. I’m really proud of her.” Friend Colleen shares.

Amanda embodies such resilience and curiosity. Our younger program kids look up to her and staff can see just how much she has grown. We love seeing her aim high, reach her goals, and look forward to watching her future unfold.