We are proud to announce that Amy Knop-Narbutis, a 6-year Casa ESL teacher, has been selected for Leadership Austin‘s Emerge program! This inspiring program provides leadership training and collaboration opportunities for emerging community leaders in Greater Austin. In 1979 Leadership Austin was founded—by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC)—with the mission of providing leadership training to those with a passion for Greater Austin.

Leadership Austin offers emerging community leaders a unique opportunity to be part of a group that has come together to develop professional leadership skills and learn about the issues affecting Greater Austin. Emerge helps young professionals identify “the leader within” while developing skills and building relationships that lead to high impact. Emerge participants will strengthen their network and increase the diversity of their circle of influence in order to collaborate and benefit Greater Austin.

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We spoke briefly with Amy to learn more about her involvement at Casa and Upbring, two nonprofits she is passionate about.

  1. Describe your experience volunteering at Casa:

I teach weekly ESL classes to recently arrived refugees and immigrants in the Austin community. I’ve sustained this regular weekly commitment for the past 6 years. My goal for students is to improve conversational literacy and life skills by orienting them to topics such as how to apply for jobs or find an apartment in Austin. Graduates have gone on to attend ACC or pursue successful independent careers. As an ESL instructor, I am responsible for developing lessons, leading classes, and occasionally mentoring assistant instructors. I am trained in the English Forward curriculum offered by the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas. Before Casa Marianella, I taught biweekly classes with Eastside Community Connection and Foundation Communities.

  1. Describe your position  at Upbring and what the organization does:

Upbring, the new Lutheran Social Services of the South, is a children’s services nonprofit that provides services ranging from foster care, adoption, supervised independent living, residential treatment centers, shelters for unaccompanied youth, charter schools, and Head Start. (Additionally, Upbring provides disaster response for the Southwest region and operates community health clinics in the Lubbock area). Upbring’s mission is to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities. The vision is that guided by faith, education, and action, communities will be free of child abuse. As Upbring’s research analyst, I lead the development of all statewide thought leadership efforts. This includes developing white papers and longitudinal research projects with external partners; leading an initiative to improve outcomes-tracking and performance management; finding and integrating best practices from research into existing services and advocacy; and hosting an annual research conference.

We are very proud of Amy and we can’t wait to see what she will achieve in the future!