Changing Lives and Working Toward a Dream

Oct. 27, 2013 - by Katy Ward

Changing Lives and Working Toward a Dream

 
Changing Lives and Working Toward a Dream

Amanda (Wilson ‘11) Leoni          Major: Sociology   Minor: Music

Amanda Leoni is investing a lot of time and energy to eventually fulfill her ultimate calling.

Even before college, Leoni had her sights set upon working in the field of adoption. She chose to major in sociology, with a minor in music.  After graduation in 2011, she decided to further her education at the University of Missouri- Kansas City (UMKC), with a master’s degree in social work.

“I think that MNU helped me gain a better sense of direction in my life,” Leoni said. “I wanted to take my education to the next level. Social work is a lot like sociology but it is also much different; it is much more holistic in learning how to help people.”

While she was MNU, Leoni went with a missions’ team to Africa, which confirmed her interest in adoption. Her future plans include starting a career in child welfare, then moving on to international adoption and community development.

Leoni already has a jumpstart when it comes to experience in child welfare. On top of her studies, she completed an internship with Jackson County (Mo.) Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), serving as an advocate for children in the foster care system.

The Jackson County CASA website describes an advocate as “a trained community volunteer, sworn in by a judge or commissioner, who is appointed…to advocate for an abused and neglected child.”

Leoni’s roles as an advocate are extensive. She visits each child monthly in order to monitor progress, attends court hearings to stay involved with each child’s case, and is present at family support team meetings during which parents discuss the progress of the case. She must also develop a course of action with the attorney who serves as guardian ad litem for each child.

Leoni says the work she is doing through her internship is opening her eyes to a new world. She knew little of what actually goes on behind closed doors, and has become aware of many harsh realities. She feels the full effects of working in such an intense environment.

“Sometimes I come home and am completely emotionally exhausted from reading reports about what has been done to kids or how they are struggling,” she said. “Now that I know about it, I have a responsibility to make people aware that child abuse is prevalent...we can’t just act like it’s not there.”

Although her responsibilities take a toll on her, Leoni also says it is encouraging to see the positives that result from child welfare services. Witnessing children who are adopted or families who turn their lives around to get their children back are among the highlights of her work.

Leoni believes that MNU provided a good foundation for her future. She learned many theories that have been reemphasized in grad school, giving her a head start and resulting in a solid basis of knowledge. Despite this, Leoni does feel that she has grown tremendously since she graduated.

“Because of how much exposure I am getting, my world has been turned upside down,” she said. “In a lot of ways I feel like I am a different person.”

Leoni says the Jackson County CASA served about 900 children this year alone and is looking to expand to 1200 in the upcoming year. They are in great need of volunteers to help support this vision. If you are interested, call Karrie Krumm at (816) 984-8204 or visit http://www.jacksoncountycasa-mo.org

 

MNU News

Thursday, June 30
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
Kyle Ford
Pursuing God’s Call: Diving into Dentistry

Pursuing God’s Call: Diving into Dentistry

Would you ever think that a radio advertisement could lead someone to discovering their calling? That is exactly what led alum Kyle Ford (’13) to…

Read More
81427390F111
Second Career Choice Was Easy

Second Career Choice Was Easy

As a university, MNU is finally old enough to have alumni who are considering or have entered a second career. When Joe Ledbetter (’81) decided it was time recently to retire from a 25-year career…

Read More
Grittman Davis VBall
Coach Puts Communication Degree to Work

Coach Puts Communication Degree to Work

Though she played college volleyball, coaching a team wasn’t at the top of her list when Britney (Grittman ’14) Davis was deciding on a post-college career. However, after being admitted to the…

Read More
CY 3
Hard Work, Discipline and Confidence Pay Off

Hard Work, Discipline and Confidence Pay Off

“It’s funny how the game of football can make a difference in someone’s life,” says Corey Young ('14), an MNU sports management…

Read More
Mabee
Unique Partnership to Provide College Experience to Developmentally Disabled

Unique Partnership to Provide College Experience to Developmentally Disabled

Lakemary Center and MidAmerica Nazarene University are partnering to meet the needs of students diagnosed with certain developmental disabilities…

Read More
Brady Braatz
Braatz Named Chaplain

Braatz Named Chaplain

MNU President David Spittal announced the appointment today of Rev. Brady Braatz as MNU University Chaplain.  Braatz is a 2001 graduate of MNU with a bachelor’s degree in business…

Read More
300 Leaders Expected for PALCON

300 Leaders Expected for PALCON

MNU is one of three locations for the Church of the Nazarene’s Pastor and Leaders Conference (PALCON) this summer. The gathering for clergy “on the front lines of ministry” is an opportunity…

Read More
Relentless2016big
Summer SERVEteams

Summer SERVEteams

MNU SERVEteams are hitting the road this summer, traveling the MNU region to serve in churches, camps, District Assemblies and more. Together the groups will serve at 38 different events.The 19…

Read More
Eick Chicago School
Calling to Counseling

Calling to Counseling

Natalie Eick (’12), sociology/psychology major, found her mission field within the walls of her graduate program in the clinical psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology,…

Read More
Sports
Jordan Eckley & Jason Jones Earn National Honors

Jordan Eckley & Jason Jones Earn National Honors

Two Pioneers were listed among the 2016 NAIA Baseball All-America selections, announced by the national office...(click title for more)

 
Lee Dobbins Named Head Softball Coach

Lee Dobbins Named Head Softball Coach

Director of Athletics Kevin Steele has announced Lee Dobbins as the next head softball coach at MNU...(click title for more)

 
Track & Field Speed & Power Camps

Track & Field Speed & Power Camps

The purpose of these camps is to give athletes from ALL SPORT BACKGOUNDS instruction on movements to develop speed and power within a track and field setting...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich
MNU Commencement 2016 MidAmerica Nazarene University Undergraduate and School of Professional & Graduate Studies commencement ceremony 2016. Photos by Dan Videtich