In 2015, HOPE Network awarded Amanda DiPalma the Edward Springman Educational Grant to complete her undergraduate degree in social work. Reading her profile in HOPE Network News, it wasn’t hard to see she has a passion for helping others. When we caught up this spring, I was eager to learn where that passion has taken her.
Unsurprisingly, she remains driven to serve families in need. In May, 2016, she graduated magna cum laude from Mount Mary with her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). She subsequently worked for a number of nonprofit and government service agencies. Over time, she narrowed her focus to children. For the past 2.5 years, she has been employed at a nonprofit program in Glendale. She is also enrolled in graduate school part-time at UW-Milwaukee. Amanda plans to finish her masters degree in 2021. With work, school, and of course, motherhood, Amanda is beyond busy, but she was kind enough to make time for a phone call.
A passion for children in need
Amanda’s enthusiasm was clear throughout our call but never more than when she was discussing her work with children. “I have a passion for working with children who have experienced poverty or trauma, any population who’ve been disadvantaged; that’s where my heart is,” Amanda tells me over the phone. Her current job gives her many chances to serve that passion. “I’m learning a lot about child development, what’s expected birth to three,” she says, adding that she enjoys “working closely with parents.”
Her most important role
Of course Amanda’s own experience as a parent helps. Her son Giovanni is now 10, in 4th grade – and doing 8th and 9th grade work. Amanda is reluctant to take credit for his successes. But she is eager to talk about her role as his flag football coach. This year, she coached 14 kids on Giovanni’s team through West Allis Parks & Recreation. She proudly describes Giovanni’s speed – “He’s quick, so nobody gets past him!” – and the team’s defense drills. Where they butt heads: Amanda insists on complying with league guidelines to rotate positions, but Giovanni is committed to being wide receiver.
When he’s not playing football, Giovanni can be found at the trampoline park, playing laser tag, riding his bike, or playing outside. He loves Spider Man and alternates between wanting to be a police officer, a You Tuber, or a football player. Amanda says she’d prefer to steer him toward engineering but that it’s most important for him to follow his passion.
Advice from Amanda
Her advice: “It’s more important to go to work happy than to make a lot of money and be unhappy. I wake up every day happy to go to work. Life’s too short. It’s good for other moms to keep in mind that you never get back that time with your child. If a job is not giving the flexibility of making up the hours or working with you, it’s not worth the stress. Nobody should ever make you feel bad for taking care of your number one responsibility.”
Paying it forward
Amanda continues to count HOPE Network as a contributor to her success. “Being a member of this organization has given me tons of opportunities,” she says. And she isn’t just saying it! Amanda continues to steer other single mothers she encounters toward HOPE Network.