Amanda Bergeron McFarland ’93
Today’s SJA Shining Star is Amanda Bergeron McFarland ’93. She is the Associate Director of Advocacy South and Family Based Services at Umbrella in St. Johnsbury.
Umbrella’s work in the Northeast Kingdom is focused on issues that impact women and families, including violence against women, early care and education for children, and gender equity. Their mission is to create a NEK where all people thrive free from abuse and oppression. Amanda has been with the non-profit organization since 2012.
In her role, Amanda oversees and manages the Family Room supervised visitation program, Kingdom Childcare Connection and Advocacy South. The advocacy program serves survivors, and children of survivors, who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking. Once the pandemic hit, Amanda worked hard to ensure that in-person and drop in services, as well as client visits by appointment, could continue through virtual services. She was able to successfully work with her staff to prepare for these changes and communicate them to their clients.
Despite the pandemic, Amanda had helped to make the following work possible: housing people in emergency and transitional housing, supporting them in court and through court procedures, providing virtual and in-person supervised visitation, and helping people to access child care during a challenging time.
Umbrella’s Executive Director Amanda Cochrane shared:
Amanda’s leadership and ability to think big as well as jump in with direct service herself has shown the type of leader she is. She is making a difference in our community by always leading with empathy and a deep sense of care for all clients we work with as well as for her staff. The empathy she exudes helps set the tone in the organization, which values the individual story of each person with whom we work. In turn, this way of being communicates to clients that we are there not only for them but with them as they meet some of the most difficult challenges they will face in their lives.
Thank you to Amanda for her leadership, flexibility, and compassion in serving our community and ensuring these important services have continued – all while shining the light on these topics to build awareness.