Alpine mom who changed her life earns grant

Amanda Duffell rescued her­self from a life filled with terror and is now living her dream.

Soroptimist International of Alpine made it official on Feb. 5 by awarding Duffell a major share of $2,700 handed out in the organization’s 2019 “Live Your Dream Awards” program.

Duffell’s three young children applauded their mom as she ac­cepted flowers and praise in the Community Room of the Alpine Sheriff’s Station at 2751 Alpine Blvd.

“When I sent in the appli­cation I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Duffell, 30, of Al­pine. “It’s amazing. It’s incred­ible.”

Now working in an East San Diego County doughnut shop while attending San Diego City College, Duffel had earlier ac­cepted her Soroptimist award grant so she could catch up on her bills.

The “Live Your Dream Awards” help women who are the primary financial support for their families by giving them necessary resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.

Every year Soroptimist Inter­national groups overall invest more than $2 million in education grants to almost 1,500 wom­en.

Research shows that being a single mother without a college degree are two of the strongest indicators of poverty, according to the global organization.

“All of the six women that ap­plied (for Alpine awards) were very deserving and we tried to see that everybody got some­thing,” said President Kiersten Pinard of the Alpine Soroptimst. ”But her story touched us the most.”

Duffell turned her life around, she’s working hard and she’s going to college while making sure her children are in a good school, Pinard said.

“The award’s not just about her hardships,” she said. “It’s al­so about the fact that she has a very clear career goal and she’s on that path.”

As her two sons and daughter ages 6, 8 and 9, finished their re­freshments, Duffle briefly qui­etly talked about her troubled early years.

“It started when I was about their age,” she said. “I was taken away from my mom and put into the foster care system.”

When she was 13, she contin­ued, she moved to Mexico on her own to find her mother in Tijuana. She was able to contact her mom, Duffell said, but life in Mexico turned “horrible.”

“When I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease,” she said. “My oldest son was sick, too. It was hard. I was pregnant. My daughter was in foster care. My son was in Mexico. I didn’t have any fam­ily or friends.”

Duffell reached out to a medi­cal social worker in San Diego. Social workers at the University of California San Diego then helped her get into rehabilita­tion, she said.

They “gave me faith that I was worth it,” Duffell said, add­ing that she never wants her children to go through what she did.

Working full time now while taking 24 units at college, she said she plans to transfer to San Diego State University to con­tinue her education.

Duffle said she fits her sched­ule around her children’s needs. She added that she’s trying to teach her youngsters to stay in school and to like it.


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