Frontline Worker Spotlight—Amanda Coderre
Amanda has come a long way from a person who experienced homelessness to someone who helps our unhoused neighbors. She receives high praise from various supervisors who have so many good things to say about her character and willingness to step up.
What is the trajectory of her story? Amanda first came to the agency in 2019 as a participant in our PAID program—an endeavor to improve her situation. PAID is an 11-week paid internship, career exploration program for young people aged 18 – 29 who are looking to find a career path that is interesting to them. Amanda did internships with a Health Home Team and our Visitation Center. Both of these programs help families work towards improving their situation regarding house, home and family with support and advocacy services. Amanda has the distinction of being able to view services from both sides—client and service provider.
“I have been where they are. I can understand and empathize because just a few years ago I was walking the same path. I was homeless, in shelters and programs, you name it! I have taken the same steps that many of our clients must take to obtain stable housing. So I love that I can not only help support those going through these changes and barriers, but be walking proof that they, too, can overcome the challenges life brings.”
After her internship, Amanda was hired to do transportation for the Visitation Center, then was moved into an administrative position there. Then COVID hit.
Amanda looks on the bright side of the pandemic. When asked what changed for her— “My whole life! Professionally and personally! Due to COVID my need at the Northern Rhode Island Visitation Center was limited. Transportation was on hold as they temporarily shut the center down and my admin work was very limited. Being a single mom of 2 little ones there was no way surviving off unemployment would do.”
To keep working, Amanda took the opportunity to provide transportation for clients and medication deliveries in our Community Support Program. She put natural supports in place to keep her young family safe. “My little ones had a great vacation to grandma’s house in New Hampshire during this time so I could keep them safe and still be out in the world providing support for those struggling during these hard times. Though it was hard leaving my babies with grandma for weeks at a time, they knew what mom was doing was critical for us. FaceTime became our best friend during this transition.”
But other programs needed help too. “The ASU needed a transporter for a short time and I filled that position, as well. The ASU Team was so welcoming and supportive. I knew nothing about their partners or programs, but with any questions or concerns that came up, someone was always willing to support me.”
By now Amanda Coderre was being seen across programs!
“I was open to anything to keep me working and active, and jumped on any and all opportunities that were thrown my way."
This included Tappan House, a residential program established in partnership with Communities for People to assist with youth needing placement while waiting for COVID testing. This was a fast moving program with lots of demands. By proving herself time and time again, Amanda was given more responsibilities.
“By the end of my transition out of Tappan House I was site supervisor for the program and reported any and all activity back to the Child Welfare Director, Mark Cote. On June 1st I transitioned over to FCCP as Mark has helped me grow in so many ways as an individual and encouraged me to see how much responsibility I can hold."
Amanda says her experience at Tappan House stands out for her.
“Housing these struggling teens was most direct—they lived with us. Some for a few hours to a day some for a few months. Daily there was something needed for these young people—whether it was medication, support for interviews or school work, or even personal care products. I was honest and direct with them and they respected that. We had one specific kiddo who reached out to the house many times after discharge to check in, telling us what she was doing and where she had gone or even just to say hi. Another came back for a second stay and the comfort of a familiar face helped her transition go that much smoother. To know that as a stranger to these kids, I became a comfort to them, is a blessing in itself. I know a positive impact was made on them, and even if it was a small positive, it was a positive and that’s all that matters to me."
The PAID program certainly helped her find a career that she’s excited about. When asked if there are any work days that stand out for her, she says…
“Everyday! There is not a single work day that I have said, ‘I don’t want to get up for work today’ or ‘I don’t want to be here.’ Those that have had the opportunity to work with me know that sometimes I’m a little too dedicated. They will joke and laugh with me, asking what excuse I came up with on a day off to even show up; or why that email had a response from me on my vacation. It’s just who I am. This is me and what I do. People and communication are everything. Every day is a stand out day. We are working with human beings. No day is the same. No conversation is repeated. Each day is a memorable one. Whether it was a good day, a hard day, a hot day, or a celebration day. Each one holds a dear place in my heart. I learn every day from what I do here in this agency. It only helps me become a better person by helping where I am needed."
What has changed for Amanda in the last few years?
"As COVID was a hard time for everyone I remained positive, hopeful and pushed through, knowing personally I needed this change to make my home life that much better. These professional opportunities keep me grounded in my home with my little ones. This agency has allowed me to put my babies first and enjoy being a mother and caretaker and support my family. Now I don’t question if a bill is going to get paid or if I have enough gas in my car to get to work. The amount of support and dedication that my supervisors have poured into me speaks for the agency as a whole."
It seems a lot of people have seen something in Amanda. Patti Corbett, Family Care Community Partnership (FCCP) Northern Region Manager recommended Amanda for this story. She said, “I am so impressed with Amanda and so glad she has had the opportunities that she’s had, and that some many CCA staff have invested in her development. I thought her story would be a good staff spotlight.”
Currently, Amanda is a Housing Support Navigator in a shared position between the Family Support Center and the Family Care Community Partnership (FCCP). Amanda is also working on her certification as a Peer Specialist.
What does she say about her new role?
"Currently I am in trainings to increase my knowledge to support clients with any housing obstacles they may be facing. As we all know, housing is a major, ongoing struggle for many at this moment in time. We are in such a standstill nationwide, let alone statewide. With that being said, within my everyday work my ultimate goal is to be a light of hope and peace for individuals during these frustrating times. I might not have all the answers and, obviously, I cannot provide everyone with homes, but I can be the ear to listen and the light to point individuals in the right direction."
From PAID internship to van driver, to admin support, to residential supervisor, to housing navigator… Amanda Coderre has had quite a year. On behalf of our staff and clients who have benefited from her dedication, hard work and adaptability, we say “Thank you.”