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I cannot believe my time here in Seattle has passed the halfway mark 😦 This past week by far was the busiest and by the end I felt like saying, “Okay, now we are getting started.” And, just as it feels as if we are getting started, I think everyone is realizing that sadly the plane back to Duke (for me, my last year there 😦 ) is just around the corner. But, gladly, there are still a few weeks and I hope they are as enjoyable as the first half of the summer has been.
When I arrived in Seattle and spoke with the Duke alumni, my co-workers or others who lived in this area, everyone would suggest certain delights I should experience before returning back to North Carolina. Wonderfully, this was the week were I was able to enjoy some of those community treasures. Many of which, actually came courtesy of Amara.
At Amara, I have spent a good portion of time working with the organization’s Communications and Development staff. Outreach is major focus in each department. I have been able to observe how Amara as a non-profit organization functions and how Amara tries to facilitate its outreach from all sides – outreach to donors who will aid in Amara’s mission, outreach to prospective adoptive families that will actually be working with Amara, outreach to the Seattle community that can create the awareness and action needed to change the current dynamics of Washington foster care, etc.
On Tuesday, I attended one of Amara’s Adoption Information sessions that are held for prospective families interested in learning more about the adoption process in general and furthermore, entering that journey with Amara as their advocate. I was extremely grateful that people were willing to share their excitement, confusions, concerns, fears, etc. with others who were also experiencing similar emotions. Seeing the beginning of the process on Tuesday night provided further context was great context for when I attended the clinical social worker meeting on Wednesday morning. The social workers meet altogether to provide updates on the statuses of the adoption process for the respective families that working with Amara. I had the opportunity to listen in how the adoption process proceeds and hear about the triumphs for the families who would now have children and children who would now have families.
On Thursday, Amara held a donor appreciation event at glassybaby (http://www.glassybaby.com). A glassybaby is a glass candleholder and the event was at their shop where guests could also watch the glassblowers make the candleholders. I was so excited to actual walk through the shop and see the ovens, instruments, etc. that are used to make their lovely candles and candle holders. At the event, everyone was touched and inspired by stories of those who had worked with Amara or grown up in foster care and I think appreciative of seeing how their assistance helps Amara in growing families. Aside from glassybaby, the event also featured Seattle gems like cupcakes from Cupcake Royale (http://www.cupcakeroyale.com) and ice cream from Molly Moon’s (http://www.mollymoonicecream.com). I love that not only are these treats delicious, but also that Seattle residents have such pride in them. These treats always come up when I ask for recommendations.
Outside of work, I also experienced another Seattle treasure in Theo chocolate (http://www.theochocolate.com). We DukeEngagers were able to tour the factory where the chocolate is made, and learn more about its development process. The vivid, wonderful smell from the factory has left me craving chocolate for days.
Treasures galore. While I enjoyed the yummy treats and experience of seeing glass blown, the best thing was seeing how outreach work leads to the touching stories that were shared at the donor appreciation event. I can only hope that in the future some of the work I have done with Amara this summer will also contribute in the creation of another one of those stories.
Thanks for your time,