Amy Jimenez’s love for high school students and hunger for social justice were some of the determining factors when she was deciding on a master’s program. As an intern for The Cove, a new project of Waco ISD intended to support the city’s homeless youth, Amy had the opportunity to mentor and work with students on a daily basis.
“I’ve always loved high school kids and I led Young Life all through college,” Amy said. “It’s just a crucial time in someone’s life, especially experiencing poverty.”
Amy studied international studies during her time as an undergraduate student, but after learning more about human trafficking and working at a camp for underprivileged teenagers in the summers, she knew she wanted to serve others with her work.
“I worked with [Kanakuk’s] Kids Across America for two summers, and that was the first time I worked with high school students in a leadership capacity,” Amy said. “That was also the first time I was exposed to kids who didn’t have the same opportunities as me, just because we were born in different cities with different families.”
The more she got to know the GSSW faculty, the more Amy came to understand both the practical and emotional aspects of the social work field.
“The professors invested in us, because they know and love this field so much,” Amy said. “They wanted us to be competent and shine a great light on what social work is.”
Amy’s internship with The Cove allowed her not only to work closely with high school kids, but also to see all the work involved in establishing a nonprofit. Working to get The Cove off the ground, she served with the student advisory committee of the project, using her community practice concentration to find out exactly what homeless teens in Waco need most.
“If we wouldn't have been involving the voices of students who have been homeless, we wouldn't have been successful,” Amy said. “We created a space for their voices to be heard.”
Amy’s love for students and for the work she does impacts her perspective of social work personally and professionally.
“The kids I work with are just kids with big dreams, even despite their circumstances,” Amy said. “If people can see what God sees in a person impacted by homelessness, they’d know they have so much to offer the world.”