Amnoni Myers ’14: A Voice for the Voiceless

Chat with Amnoni Myers ’14 for a few minutes and you’ll most likely hear the motto she lives by: “You can’t let your past dictate your future.”

Abandoned at birth, Amnoni became a ward of the state of Massachusetts and grew up in the foster care system. She is one of fewer than 10 percent of foster children who has earned a college degree—and she’s on a mission to change that statistic.

“I credit my story of survival to my faith in God and to my mentors that saved my life,” she says. “I’ve been determined to break my family’s generational cycle of abuse, abandonment and neglect. I want to show others that they can do it, too.”

So Amnoni earned degrees in social work and sociology from Gordon, and went straight to Washington, D.C.—the hub, she says, “where you can make things happen.” Amnoni was selected for the esteemed Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Foster Youth Internship program, an opportunity for former foster youth to gain policy experience in a congressional office and be a voice on Capitol Hill. She worked with Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa on child welfare issues.

Amnoni developed a policy report focused on trauma-informed care training for foster parents, which she presented to Congress and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The majority of youth who enter the foster care system, she argues, have experienced some type of trauma—in many cases, repeatedly. Without proper training, foster parents often unknowingly perpetuate past trauma.

The White House was impressed by Amnoni’s policy report and offered her a spot in their highly competitive internship program. There, she worked with Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant for the President. One of Amnoni’s signature contributions was her involvement in the White House’s “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” (TODASTWD) event. She explains, “There are plenty of jobs where kids get to go to work with their parents, but foster youth don’t have that opportunity. They’re left out.

Amnoni 6“This was the first time the White House had expanded their day to include foster youth and disconnected youth into the program.” Working as a liaison between the White House and D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, Amnoni played an integral role in bringing foster youth to join the sons and daughters of the White House staff for TODASTWD. Because of her success, Amnoni was asked to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama at the event.

“It was an experience I had never imagined having. Just being able to see the kids’ faces in the audience who wouldn’t have otherwise had this opportunity was just so cool,” she says.

“When I think back even a couple years, I never would have imagined my life to be the way that it is,” Amnoni reflects. “Gordon has been an integral part. The lessons I learned—not only through the academics, but also through the social scene—were key. I took advantage of all the opportunities not only to grow, but to give back.”

From day one, Amnoni soaked in every opportunity to serve and lead—from Orientation to residence life, outreach, and study abroad programs in South Africa and San Francisco. “Gordon was my building place. I was able to grow not only in my faith, but I grew intellectually, socially and emotionally. It’s been a safe haven for me.”