#PeopleofNEI: Irene, Executive Director of Amani Family Services

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI

This week's feature:

Irene (center, surrounded by her staff) is the Executive Director of AMANI Family Services that work with immigrant and refugee families in the community to promote safety, encourage personal growth, and foster a spirit of belonging. Her mother is American and her father is Italian. She was born in Venice, Italy and came to Indiana University on a scholarship. She has a degree in International Diplomatic Science and a minor in Sub-Saharan African History. She now resides in Allen County and is also a wife and mother. "Allen County is our focus. We work with immigrant and refugee families that include abused or neglected children, crime victims, substance abuse, or referrals by community corrections. We also work with families looking to improve their lives or anyone that is an immigrant or refugee that needs counseling services or needs help making ends meet. I am very proud of our work here. It’s hard to describe the emotions that go on when you work with refugees. There is a sense of camaraderie. When you come from overseas and don’t have family nearby, you have to lean on each other. You have to count on your friends and the relationships you establish if an emergency happens or if your car breaks down. This is where I’m meant to be. It’s a mission and not just a job. I have a phenomenal staff and work with a great team of people. I try to support them however I can. Last year, we served over 1,000 individuals. Immigrants are people like anyone else. Even though they have extraordinary lives and situations that brought them here, they can become a victim like anyone else. Our community has benefited from immigrants that help keep Allen County relevant. Immigrants have given us a positive population growth and we have been blessed by having them here. Most immigrants simply want to create a decent life and work hard just like everyone else. If we weren’t here to be a bridge and help advocate, I don’t know who would be here for many of these people in these situations. I have found that if we take time to connect with others, we can find a very rewarding experience from helping others. #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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