Volunteer Spotlight: Amanda McGrath

AmandaMcGrathPic (2) By Lauren Goodwin

Amanda McGrath is a full-time volunteer, something a lot of us are incapable of doing. Every day, she commits to her volunteer efforts, helping someone in need and generally getting involved in her community. Amanda and her husband come from the U.K., moved to Scotland for a while, and then transferred here to Houston a little over 2 years ago. Back in the U.K., Amanda worked a full-time job that was rewarding, yet stressful. Still, she didn’t feel like she was making a difference back home, so when they moved here, she decided to devote herself full-time to giving back by volunteering with various organizations from Read Houston Read to Child Advocates starting in January.

Amanda has always been a volunteer and was instilled the passion of giving back to others less fortunate from her mother, who used to volunteer for Save the Children in the U.K. Even while working full-time back in the U.K., Amanda found the time to volunteer for thrift shops in her neighborhood and even raised money to cure cancer by having bake sales, for example. “I love reading, that’s why I chose [connect4literacy]”. Amazingly enough, she volunteers with several of our literacy partners such as HISD and Friends of the Houston Public Library. She is also a Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Young Professional Group member. Amanda also volunteers with Refugee Services, which is a social service agency dedicated to resettling and providing services to refugees and other displaced person fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, and/or political opinion.

Amanda’s schedule is filled 4 days a week with volunteering efforts. Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, she gets an early start working with students in the Read Houston Read program for 2 different HISD schools, then heads to the Friends of the Houston Public Library warehouse organizing books for them and doing book sales. She devotes one full day a week to Refugees of Texas and then picks up different volunteer opportunities during the week. She likes to keep herself busy and she loves giving back to the community, it’s a great combination. Amanda reflects on the time she’s had with Refugees of Texas saying that, “I’ve met a lot of different people, different cultures, and different backgrounds. The last two weeks I’ve been working with people from Iraq”, where she learned new things about their religion that she didn’t know.

“While not working full-time, I feel more like I want to make a difference and give back by getting my hands dirty”, Amanda refers back to working with Friends to stuff and organize boxes of books. Starting in January, Amanda will be training and studying to becoming a court appointed child advocate volunteer where she will be assigned one child and one case worker to meet with their school, their parents, and/or guardians. The Child Advocates program is a 12 month stint and Amanda will be held accountable for being this child’s voice, what a huge fulfillment. We wish Amanda the best while training for the advocacy program and know she will do a great job.

We thank Amanda for her commitment to helping others less fortunate and for loving literacy so much that she instills it in the younger generation. Congratulations Amanda on being our Spotlight Volunteer and thank you for your continued support in the fight against illiteracy.