/ 11.25.19 /

Amanda’s Story: What happens when you invest in a woman?

Amanda of Unshattered

Meet Amanda. She’s proof of the ripple effect created when you invest in a woman and empower her to take control of her life path.

When Amanda was a preteen, her family moved to a new town, where she was intensely bullied. Looking to fit in, she connected with what she calls a group of “party kids.,” experimenting with alcohol use and getting suspended often in the years to come. Amanda had her first child shortly after graduating from high school, and while she worked and attended community college, she also continued a “party lifestyle” that kept her in a downward spiral.

She was seriously injured in two different car accidents — one of which was caused by her boyfriend driving under the influence — which led to an addiction to prescription painkillers and eventually, heroin. “There are a lot of terrible things that go along with that drug,” Amanda says, “and I finally reached a point where I knew I needed help…otherwise I was going to die like this.”

Amanda went through one cycle of recovery and relapse, but in 2016, she went back into a treatment program. There, she worked at our nonprofit partner Unshattered, which takes women who are recovering addicts and teaches them a trade: crafting unique, handmade bags and other accessories from upcycled materials. “I’ve always been creative,” she says, “so that creative piece came naturally to me. I really thrived in there.”

Unshattered’s investment in Amanda has helped her stay sober, and today, she’s the company’s creative lead and production manager. While she’s paying that investment back to Unshattered and other women who join the program, gaining economic independence also empowers Amanda to pay that investment forward to her family and community.  It means she has a car and resources so she can be there for her three children, including a one-year-old son. “I have a home for my baby and a place to take my older children on visits. I can be trusted now. I do what I say I’m going to do. And I can provide my son with everything he needs.”

Amanda was also selected to participate in the Leadership Dutchess program, which prepares citizens to serve in leadership roles in their communities. Her ultimate goal is to someday own her own business.

What does “invest in women” mean to Amanda? “When someone believes in you and is willing to make an investment in you,” she says, “it shows you that you can have courage in the face of adversity.”