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

Sunday, February 1
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
Student Parishoner2
Church Revived from the Brink

Church Revived from the Brink

They thought they might have to close its doors due to low attendance and a slim budget, but Drexel, Missouri’s Church of the Nazarene was not ready to give up. Now they are experiencing a…

Read More
ChocoRush2015
MNU is Site for 3rd Annual Chocolate Rush

MNU is Site for 3rd Annual Chocolate Rush

Here’s a chance to get some exercise, compete with other runners and enjoy everyone’s favorite treat, chocolate. The Chocolate Rush 5K and Half…

Read More
Beths Packaging
Designer Makes Gift Giving Better

Designer Makes Gift Giving Better

If you bought a gift card and gift card packaging at certain retailers over the holiday season, you may have seen alum Beth (Drege ’10) Laird’s work on display. The graphic designer works for…

Read More
MLK 2015-27
MLK Leader Scholars Honored

MLK Leader Scholars Honored

MNU honored its Martin Luther King Leader Scholars this week. Presented at the 9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Community Celebration, the students received certificates in addition to scholarships…

Read More
New MLK photo
9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration will be held Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., at…

Read More
Jane Martin
It's Never Too Late

It's Never Too Late

Acquiring an education is a feasible goal regardless of a person’s age. This is something MidAmerica Nazarene University nursing student Jane Martin believes with all her heart. Ret. LTC Ken…

Read More
ACBSPnewsroom
School of Business Announces ACBSP Accreditation

School of Business Announces ACBSP Accreditation

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s School of Business announced today that its programs of study have achieved accreditation by the Accreditation…

Read More
RWJF V2 2014-11Anari
Bringing Healthcare to Most Vulnerable

Bringing Healthcare to Most Vulnerable

Fredrick Anari wants to know his life has had meaning and the nursing profession is how he has chosen to pursue that passion. A student in MNU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)…

Read More
Quincy Foster
MNU Campus Community Condolences

MNU Campus Community Condolences

Mourning the Loss of Student Quincy Foster Jan. 2, 2015             The MidAmerica Nazarene University community is deeply saddened by the loss of…

Read More
Sports
Randall Gets Career High in Victory Over Culver

Randall Gets Career High in Victory Over Culver

Justin Randall put up a career-high 24 points and Nate Launius just missed a triple double in MNU's 88-77 victory over Culver-Stockton on Saturday...(click title for more)

 
Lewis Records 100th Win vs. Culver

Lewis Records 100th Win vs. Culver

Jon Lewis picked up career victory number 100 in just his 121st game in MNU's 79-76 win over Culver-Stockton on Saturday...(click title for more)

 
Welty Records Season High in Victory at Baker

Welty Records Season High in Victory at Baker

The Pioneers scored the first 7 points and never trailed as they completed a season sweep of Baker with a 75-60 victory on Thursday...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
MLK_2015-33 Bob Shands (left) accepts Martin Luther King Living Legacy award on behalf of his late father, Rev. O. Norman Shands, Jr. Dr. David Spittal, MNU president (right).
MLK_2015-27
MLK_2015-23
MLK_2015-18
MLK_2015-8
MLK_2015-6