Amy Amador has lived in Southwest Detroit for the last twenty-five years. She has worked at non-profits and is an active member of her community. Today I got to sit down and interview her.
One of the things Amy likes about nonprofits is how they can quickly and directly respond to people they serve. She also appreciates the grassroots organizing that’s been present at different nonprofits she’s worked at. For ten years, Amy served as executive director of an organization that supported women pursuing their GED’s. Amy talked about meeting people where they are at and the importance of removing barriers for their participants by providing meals or transportation.
One thing she noted in the difference between working for the city as compared to nonprofits is how needing to depend on other departments can slow things down. Still, she said that Bridging Neighborhoods, especially because of how it’s sort of an appendage to the city, is very nimble, and she is proud of that.
When I asked her how to stay motivated during non-profit work where you are often up against deeply-rooted systemic issues, she talked about the importance of focusing on the long-term, and also relishing in your victories, even if small. I love this message, but also think that the changes Bridging Neighborhoods makes are huge. I think the ability to impact someone’s everyday quality life for the better with a new home or home repairs is really amazing.
When I asked her about how Detroit has changed in the last few decades, she noted that Detroit it doesn’t really feel like a small town anymore. You used to be able to go out to eat and see lots of people you know, but it’s not really the same anymore with all the new people coming in.
In terms of positives, she said there is more housing and more restaurants, and that city services are better now that the city has more money. She also said that African-American people are now in higher level positions in the private sector.
I have really enjoyed learning from Amy and the other people working at my site. Most of them live in the area, and they all care a great deal about their community.