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Paula Ford Amador
I grew up in rural Southwest Virginia and pursued my higher education at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, where I received a BS in Psychology. I have spent my career in service to the general public in non-profit agencies and businesses in each community where I have lived. My experience includes mental health counseling, social work, client advocacy, office management and supervisory experience. I have been blessed with mentors and leaders in my career who were also excellent role models and teachers who taught the value of seeing and treating people as individuals and adapting your style to meet clients and employees where they are before showing them the road map towards change and personal growth.
I lived in the Roanoke, VA, area for almost 22 years before returning to my home town 5 years ago due to family illness. This time here in rural Virginia has been the hardest time of my life thus far. I have experienced extreme personal struggles with the economy and employment, which is what lead me to the AmeriCorps Program. Without the program, I would have been completely unemployed and my family would have struggled even more so than we have. Through this experience I have completely been able to identify with clients that I have served, more than I ever desired to do. I know what poverty feels like because I have experienced it while I have lived here. I sincerely hope this experience will lead me to a more stable place in my life, for the sake of my family more than myself.
The activities that I have participated in while serving as a Client Advocate have exposed me to fund raising, community resources, social services programs and the leadership development program in my community which I completed in 2011. Through that program, the Horizons Program, I learned the economic and government infrastructure of this community. That alone has helped me be more proactive in the community on issues that need to be addressed and how to get our voices heard in a receptive and effective manner.