canada africa partner reservation Local Moms Uplifted by North Idaho College Center for New Directions

Local Moms Uplifted by North Idaho College Center for New Directions


COEUR d’ALENE — Amanda Harris wears many hats: childcare worker, college student with plans to become a teacher, single mother of two wonderful children.

People often ask how she manages it all.

“I don’t really know how to do it,” she said. “I give all the glory to God.”

When Harris began her educational journey, she had recently completed a rehabilitation program and knew her life needed to change. She wanted to grow as a person and set a better example for her children, 11-year-old Elwood and 2-year-old Hannah.

“I had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment and said, ‘I’m going to school to become a teacher – can you help me on this path?’ she said. “I think he helps me every semester.”

Harris, 35, has since graduated from North Idaho College and is now a student at Lewis-Clark State College. She looks forward to becoming a teacher and helping children develop into successful young people.

“That’s something I’m passionate about,” she said. “The best place for me would be working with children and being that supportive adult. Some children don’t have that at home.”

There have been challenges along the way, but she has overcome them and continued to move forward.

“I have a lot of support and positive role models in life,” she said.

Some of that support came from North Idaho College’s Center for New Directions, which is designed to help single parents and displaced homemakers achieve their educational and career goals.

“These women are so impressive,” says director Louisa Rogers. “They overcame such hardships. They have often experienced abuse. They haven’t given up. They show their children what resilience is and what hard work looks like.”

Many of the women Rogers meets through the Center for New Directions are solo-parenting while working full-time and studying for a degree or certification that will help them provide for their families.

Each woman’s life story is unique, but Rogers saw how they all had things in common and many felt isolated as single parents. Rogers helped them connect and has seen strong friendships blossom.

“There’s a really cool community of women who really lean on each other,” she said.

Rogers sees it firsthand. The Center for New Directions hosts family events where she meets the children of the women who receive support from the program.

“Their children admire and love their mothers because they see how hard they work,” Rogers said. “(These moms) go on to do great things with their lives and they are raising children who see the value of hard work and sacrifice.”

When a mother perseveres and succeeds, she also uplifts her children.

Harris spoke proudly of her children. Elwood is growing quickly and she is excited to see him start high school.

“He’s a really good boy,” she said.

Hannah is an outgoing toddler who enjoys going to the park with her mother during her homework breaks.

“She’s a little social butterfly,” she said.

Above all, Harris said she wants to be a supportive influence in her children’s lives and set a good example for them.

“I hope my children learn that they can follow their hearts and dreams at any point in their lives,” she said. “If they fall, they can get back up.”