We are excited to introduce Amanda Smidt, Chair of the Entertainment Committee for our 4th annual IGNITE the NITE. This is Amanda's first year involved with Boston GLOW and she has worked tirelessly to make this year's event the best it can be - overseeing the live music, production of our first-ever cornerstone video, and every detail of the overall event production. Not a small job for a newcomer, but she's done it with grace and a fabulous sense of humor!
Amanda Smidt is the National Manager of Alumni & Career Services at City Year, Inc. City Year is a national education non-profit powered by national service. Every year, nearly 3,000 City Year corps members commit to a year of full-time service in the country’s lowest performing schools as tutors, mentors, and role models to help students stay in school and on-track. She served in Rhode Island as a corps member for two years from 2008-2010, and then continued to volunteer on Alumni Boards in Rhode Island and Boston for three more years. (Click here to read a blog post detailing her graduation speech to the City Year Boston 2013 corps) When she returned to City Year as a staff member in July 2013, she decided to focus her volunteering efforts on a new organization, and Boston GLOW stood out as an incredible opportunity to support young, talented girls and grow her network of extraordinary women.
From a young age, Amanda has been committed to making a difference in her community. Through middle and high school, she focused her extra-curricular time on civically-minded projects, leading the community engagement committee on her Student Council and was a Wisconsin DECA State Officer as Vice President of Civic Consciousness. With DECA, she coordinated a statewide fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), raising over $55,000 during her term. Her passion for MDA continued beyond fundraising opportunities and she spent the next 7 summers volunteering at MDA’s Summer Camp. Through college, she worked with her sorority to raise awareness of victims of domestic violence and planned local events to raise funds for Nebraskans for Peace and LGBTQA organizations.
What experiences led you to where you are now?
Although my bio may look like I’ve always been working towards a career in non-profit, there were several moments when I decided to try something new and pursue a path I thought might be a better fit. However, every time I’ve stepped away from opportunities to improve a community, I find that I lose my passion. I feel happiest and most challenged when I’m working with non-profits; in fact, it no longer feels like work. It’s an amazing feeling to be part of something much bigger than myself.
What is your go-to for energy when you’re running out of steam?
I think it’s always important to make time for myself, \whether that means going for a walk around downtown without a to-do list or heading to a coffee shop with a blank journal. I’m currently studying much of the content in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, specifically taking time to reflect and finding my bliss. I’m also a firm believer that a good laugh is incredibly important for the soul.
Who is your female hero?
In college, I was introduced to the work of Audre Lorde. To me, her work is nothing short of life-changing. When I read her poetry, I feel like I’m finding power from within that I didn’t know I had.
“...and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.” -Audre Lorde, Litany for Survival