Photo: Amara’s Scarlett Aldebot-Green (left), CEO, and Christina Pizaña (right), Capital Projects and Facilities Manager, standing outside Amara’s Pierce County office eager to begin master planning.
When Amara wrapped up the first phase of our Community Engagement Process where we directly engaged people with lived experience with the foster care system about how we could best leverage our undeveloped land in Pierce County, we had no idea a global pandemic was just around the corner, about to turn the world on its head.
If this past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that we’re an interdependent community that does best when we’re invested in the health and wellbeing of each other. And that’s exactly what our shared vision is for Pierce County – to bring together community to help plan and build a space that co-locates organizations and services that will help people heal and keep families together.
We’re excited to share that after pausing to navigate the obstacles this past year has brought, we’re ready to start the next phase – and we’ll need you with us.
Thanks to incredible support from Representative Cyndy Jacobsen, Senators Chris Gildon and Steve Conway, Pierce County Councilmember Marty Campbell, and the broader community, the Washington State Legislature granted $246,000 and the Pierce County Council granted $30,000 to Amara to fund our next step: master planning for the entire 29-acre property.
The master planning phase will include continued community input and engagement and will culminate in a plan that brings to life a shared vision for development, including property and zoning feasibility, options for multiple phases of constructions, and estimated costs for each phase.
To help lead this work, we have recently hired Christina Pizaña as Amara’s Capital Projects and Facilities Manager. Christina joins our team as a fierce advocate for historically underserved students, spending the last few years advocating for BIPOC students and students using special education services in public schools. Christina has a degree in architecture and has worked on a wide range of small and large capital projects.
In addition to this project, Amara continues to deepen our programmatic work with kids and families experiencing foster care in Pierce County and the South Puget Sound. In this past year, we have supported 90 kids and 102 families across our programs in Pierce County – Foster Care Services, Family Time, and Best for Babies. Our commitment to transforming the child welfare system into a network that supports family wellbeing in Pierce County is unwavering and we’re excited to continue this work with you.