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This past week, one of my supervisors, Danielle, kindly offered a few minutes of her time to talk about her role with Amara. I’ll let her take it from here…
Please describe your position at Amara.
Danielle: As Amara’s communication manager I am overseeing all our external –online and printed— communications. An important task is to provide relevant and engaging information to couples and singles who consider pursuing adoption. I also work closely with our development team and support their communications with Amara supporters.
Why did you become involved with Amara? What do you see as the value of their mission?
Danielle: Four years ago, I was searching for a communications job in the art world (that’s my background). I stumbled upon a job ad at Amara and instantly knew that I wanted to help children find a permanent family. Amara strongly beliefs that every child should grow up in a loving, lifelong family. This is the only way for a child to make healthy attachments, grow, develop and thrive.
What are the main priorities presently for yourself and/or the overall Communications department?
Danielle: Priorities for 2012 are building out our social media presence, improving the usability and SEO of our website, reaching out to the African American community, and collecting real stories about children, adoptive parents, and birth mothers who made an adoption plan.
What types of barriers have you encountered to achieving those goals? How have you tried to overcome them?
Danielle: Resources—both financial and human—are always the biggest challenge. Working with interns and finding partnerships with external providers help me overcome these barriers.
How would you communicate the value of Communications to the greater mission of Amara?
Danielle: We know there are a lot of myths and misperceptions out there about children in foster care, the adoption process, and when you’re pregnant and in crisis. The value of communications lies in generating awareness, debunking myths, and breaking taboos through all kinds of communication channels. An example: more than 1,000 children of African American heritage are currently residing in Washington state foster care. We know that many (and perhaps even most) of these children can never return to their birth families because it is not safe. We learned there is a lack of awareness within the African American community of the need for adoptive families. With the support of three external parties, we created – at almost no cost – two sets of large displays and four sets of smaller table-top displays that illustrate the need for adoptive homes for African American children in foster care. These displays are now hosted by library branches, medical clinics, and churches in diverse neighborhoods to generate awareness and spark conversations in the community.
What is your vision for the Communications department in five years? Are there any projects you hope to have started planning or results you hope to have accomplished by that time?
Danielle: Five years from now:
– I want to have a very strong social media presence that fully complements our other communications tactics.
– I want to have established strong relationships with a variety of community partners throughout Western-Washington who can help us in our work (e.g. churches, businesses, other service providers).