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

Saturday, May 23
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
50-Best-Value-Christian-MBA-Programs-2015
MNU Named to Best Value Christian MBA List

MNU Named to Best Value Christian MBA List

MNU has been named to the 50 Best Value Christian MBA Programs 2015 list on Christian Universities Online.com. Coming in at 20 on the list, MNU joins…

Read More
Jonathan Babcock
KNU Program Brings International Experience to MNU

KNU Program Brings International Experience to MNU

MNU and Korean Nazarene University in Cheonan, South Korea, have forged an exciting exchange program enabling business majors from both universities…

Read More
Haiti 2015
Mission Trip Reveals Joy Amid Suffering

Mission Trip Reveals Joy Amid Suffering

Rather than take a well-deserved vacation during Spring break, sixteen MNU nursing students traveled to a Haitian orphanage that is home to 140 children. At Global Vision Citadelle Ministries…

Read More
Commence Family
Spring 2015 Honor Roll

Spring 2015 Honor Roll

MidAmerica Nazarene University recently announced its President's, Dean's List and Honor Roll for the spring 2015 semester. A total of 338 students qualified for one of the honors. All students in…

Read More
Revelle
Relationships Make the Difference

Relationships Make the Difference

With experience teaching AP language and composition, yearbook, graphic design, web, animation, video classes, 9th, 10th and 11th grade English, and coaching baseball and football--it’s hard…

Read More
Commencement 2015 MNU
Commencement 2015

Commencement 2015

The MNU class of 2015 graduated May 2, 2015 with 696 participants in the graduating class. Held in two ceremonies, one for traditional undergrad and one for professional and graduate students, the…

Read More
Cook
Every Gift Counts

Every Gift Counts

Annual Report 2014 From gifts of time and service to funding for scholarships and programs, we're grateful for each one. Read the 2014 annual report…

Read More
AcademicIcon
Message from the MNU Board of Trustees

Message from the MNU Board of Trustees

As Chair of the Board of Trustees of MidAmerica Nazarene University, I am publishing this statement on behalf of our board and myself. In the past four months there has been a wide variety of…

Read More
TreePlanting4-21-2015-10 2
Tree Planting Honors Memory

Tree Planting Honors Memory

MNU honored the memory of three women from the School of Nursing with a tree planting at the close of Community Chapel April 21. Professor Delia Pittman, staff member Mrs. Janine McReynolds, and…

Read More
Sports
Pioneers Continue to Bolster '15 Recruiting Class

Pioneers Continue to Bolster '15 Recruiting Class

The MNU Football coaching staff announced another batch of additions to the program...(click title for more)

 
Pioneer Fall in Thriller to Close the Season

Pioneer Fall in Thriller to Close the Season

The Pioneers dug out of a huge hole, but couldn't close in a 15-10 loss to LSU-Shreveport in an elimination game in the Opening Round on Thursday...(click title for more)

 
Pioneers Split Day 1 in Shawnee

Pioneers Split Day 1 in Shawnee

The 5-seed Pioneers defeated 4-seed Briar Cliff in the first game of the Opening Round, but fell to 1-seed Oklahoma Baptist in the night cap...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins
MNU Nurses Pinning 2015 Photos by Daniel Hawkins