Ami’s Story – By Launa Lea

How Ami — a refugee, a mother, a vibrant member of our community — found her home at FamilyWorks through playgroups and by building relationships with the family advocates at Seattle’s only family resource center and food bank.

When meeting Ami, people are struck most by her positive attitude.  She’s always smiling, energized and generous with her words.  Most people wouldn’t, couldn’t imagine the level of trauma she’s been witness to, and I got curious about her.  What’s her secret? When I asked her this, she laughed.

I work in hospice you know.  I hold the hand of those who are approaching death.  What I’ve learned is: Only kindness matters—that’s a person’s legacy.  Everything else dies with them. 

Ami fled from Somalia when she was just thirteen.

You couldn’t walk the streets.  Young women were being raped.  There were no police, no jail…I remember when I heard that the girl I grew up was killed in rebel crossfire.  She was going to get bread.  That was my best friend.  People were carrying guns, killing their neighbors; these people with guns were a tiny minority, but they took over.  I asked, “Why? Why? Why?”

Ami has four children.  She works, and is studying to get into a social work program. Ami also volunteers regularly.

That was modeled for me by my mother.  She taught me about community.  I live in her memory, and her legacy of love lives through me. Community, its strength, is the only thing that stands between chaos and stability. Being in community heals people.  That’s why I got involved.  I want to be someone people can count on.  I never want to forget that life is an opportunity.  It’s a blessing to be in it and every day is a chance to be remembered, through kindness.

Ami found FamilyWorks while visiting the library.

I was in a new a country. I was so lonely.  I was still learning English, but I found my community there. They didn’t all look like me, but they supported me in that rough time and I wanted to give back. That’s how I ended up volunteering at the food bank. You know you’ve found your place when you can give and receive in a meaningful way.