Every child wants to be happy and safe. Perhaps few people understand this more than Amanda Patterson, cooking director at Girls Inc., in Nashua.
Amanda was brought up in single-parent home by an abusive father. Girls Inc. was her happy, safe place where she could take part in fun activities and be with friends and caring adults. She thrived in the Girls Center program and won Girl of the Year in 2002 while attending seventh grade in Nashua.
“I am the type of person who has always wanted to give and working at Girls Inc. has given me that opportunity,” Amanda says. “It has always been a dream of mine to work at Girls Inc.,” she adds, noting that she gets to help replicate the amazing support that she received when she attended over 10 years ago.
Amanda first worked at Girls Inc. as an office assistant when she was 16. Through Girls Inc., she volunteered at Hunt Community when she was 17. Her passion for cooking started when she took two years of culinary arts at Nashua High North. She worked as manager at D’Angelo’s for five years and returned to Girls Inc. as a camp counselor. When the agency’s full-time cooking director opportunity arose last July, she jumped at it.
Today, Amanda prepares and cooks meals for the catering program and serves hot meals each night to the girls and their families. “As a young girl I often went to bed hungry. Now it feels so good to be serving hot meals to girls each day at Girls Inc.,” Amanda says.
“As an employee, Amanda is very dedicated and a hard worker. She is a pleasure to work with because she loves her job,” says Cathy Duffy Cullity, Girls Inc. New Hampshire CEO. “She told me she loves serving dinner to the girls because there were so many nights when Girls Inc. was the only place she was sure she would get to eat.”
An example of leadership and perseverance, Amanda takes pride in teaching girls life skills such as respecting yourself and others, and being helpful. With a business mindset and a heart of gold, Amanda plans to resume her studies at Hesser College in Nashua after having had to put them on pause due to family-related issues. She hopes one day to own a nutritional facility that specializes in improving the health of individuals with conditions such as ADHD and Autism.
United Way of Greater Nashua is proud to fund the Girls Inc. Burke Street Cafe program, which provides nutritious meals to the club’s members, and the Girls Center, which Amanda attended as a child. To support their work and other safety net programs serving Greater Nashua children, donate to the Community Impact Fund.