By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
A lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, Amanda Grill has tutored kids in a homeless shelter, lobbied for pet licensing at an animal welfare organization, mentored incarcerated girls and teen moms, raised money for AIDS research and treatment, studied economic development, and educated high school students about how to change the world.
Now, Amanda brings her steadfast dedication to helping others and serving her community to her new role as director of NMCRS Parris Island. As a Marine Corps spouse for three years, Amanda has already lived in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Beaufort, South Carolina. “We met in Arizona, and after dating for six weeks, he said, ‘By the way, I’m moving to Virginia to go to The Basic School’” The couple dated long distance for a while and married in the Ranch House on Camp Pendleton in 2012.
In California, Amanda did consulting work, honing and enriching her writing and marketing skills while adding human resources, information technology, and training skills to her portfolio. “I love all of the skills I’ve gained,” she explained. At the same time, she was eager to return to the community service that fueled her. When she and her husband first arrived in South Carolina, Amanda spent her time caring for her father-in-law, who was ill. Later, she worked at the Voluntary Education office at MCAS Beaufort.
“I’d only ever interacted with the Society when I dropped off clothing at their thrift shop when we were stationed at MCB Camp Pendleton,” Amanda recalled. “But when I heard about this job I thought it would be perfect.” Past experience taught Amanda “how important it was as a manager of volunteers to support them and enable them to be successful. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get back into a nonprofit environment and use all my skills. I love how the Society focuses on not just fixing the symptoms but changing the dynamics of a client’s situation, and building that person or family’s capabilities.”
Amanda’s knowledge of, and excitement about, the Society has soared since she began in April. “The range of scenarios that the Society will help with has floored me,” she said. “For example, I learned from the information and referral person for child and youth programs here on base, that they had no day care providers who had openings. The Society can offer eligible clients a loan – up to $600, to get themselves set up as home day care business. That’s the only home business we can support—the only home business allowed on military bases. I suggested the recruiter should market our service and that the Society can help with inspections and completion of paperwork, opening on-base day care businesses to take care of more military children.”
NMCRS Parris Island is a relatively small office, supporting the small military community at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. When Amanda arrived as director, there were only six volunteers, one of which recently PCS’d. “I’m very excited about reinvigorating our office and seeing things with a fresh set of eyes. I want to get our office better- aligned with Society policies and practices and teach our volunteers to use the great technical tools the Society has developed.” Amanda hopes her infectious enthusiasm will bring in new volunteers and clients.
“I’m putting a plan together to do a big publicity push. I’m going to meet with the military leadership of our local commands and partner with people I met when I was working on base,” Amanda said. “I want to talk to commanders about prevention and early intervention, to help people know what their options are. Problems we see that could have been solved with $200 two months ago are now $1000 problems.”
So far, Amanda’s energy is generating excitement. “Our client-service numbers are picking up a little bit. Volunteers are happy with the changes. We’re all getting along well and having a lot of fun, and helping as many people as we can.”