The Professional (aka the official bio)
Amanda Michelle Jones (AMJ for short) is an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW), engaged scholar, and youth worker who has dedicated her life to collaborative change-making with youth experiencing housing instability. Amanda Michelle feels this is connected to fighting for social justice overall, because all youth need strong communities to support their development. Having been trained and tested in designing, managing, and evaluating social services programs in the field, she is currently working toward a Ph.D. in social work at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include LGBTQ youth homelessness, youth participatory action research (YPAR), sociopolitical development, positive youth development, trauma recovery, and youth activism. AMJ’s ability to connect with people of varying perspectives & facilitate social change stems largely from her life experience and partly from her education, including an A.M. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, an M.S. in Human Services Administration from the University of Baltimore/Coppin State University Collaborative, and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Amanda Michelle has also completed the Danya Institute/Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Leadership Institute and holds certificates in Mentoring Program Coordination (Maryland Mentoring Partnership), and Nonprofit Leadership (Montgomery College). In her (mostly imaginary) down time, AMJ enjoys singing to her dog, attending concerts, documentary film and photography, and being irreverent on Twitter.
Names have meaning…
[Latin] worthy of love
[Hebrew, fem. Michael] “Who is like the Lord?”
[Hebrew, var. John] Yahweh has been gracious; God has favored; gift of God
I spent a lot of my life exploring various avenues of “self-fulfillment”. During the course of my journey, I realized that there really is no such thing as “self-fulfillment”. No; to truly accomplish anything worthwhile in life, a person must seek the advancement of others. The seemingly elusive state of “self-fulfillment” is inevitable when we aim to nurture (love) others. This is why I claim no religion but love.
Considering what I’ve learned, I find it interesting that all three parts of my name have something to do with God, or qualities of God. I hated my name for years, until I looked up the meaning. I finally asked my mother about her choice and learned that her desire was for me to always feel loved, believing that the only eternal source of that love is God. She didn’t know about our last name, but I’m glad she kept it, as the three together make a wonderful story. Once I pieced everything together, I began a journey to discover and fulfill what I believe is the destiny spoken over my life. This destiny, albeit “only” three words, I have found is really the story of my whole life: everything I do is about living the love & grace that the Universe has bestowed upon me.