May has arrived and with it, we have two staff members celebrating their 1-year workiversaries with All-Options! First up is Amanda Pretlow-Lamm, Center Program Coordinator at our All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, IN. Amanda first started as an office support volunteer at the Center before transitioning into her full-time staff role as the coordinator for our Hoosier Diaper Program. Amanda has helped well over 150 families find support for their little ones’ needs, and its because of both her warmth and commitment to the all-options vision that she soon found herself also helping to organize our Hoosier Abortion Fund! Amanda is a direct-service superstar and we can’t believe how fast a year has gone by with her on the team. Read on to find out more about what makes Amanda tick!
Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you come to work at All-Options?
Well, I was born and raised in Hampton Roads, VA. We moved a lot within the area, but Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk all feel like home to me. I moved to Bloomington, IN in 2011 after undergrad to pursue a Master’s Degree in Russian History, which I earned in 2013. I stayed in Bloomington after graduating and got married to my husband, who I met during the first year of my Master’s program. I planned to move back east before I met him, but chose to make a home in Indiana. I stumbled upon All-Options when I was driving home one day. As I drove past, I became concerned that it was another CPC in town. When I got home, I googled it and learned that this was a pregnancy resource center that shared my holistic view of pregnancy and parenting support. I quickly sent in my volunteer application and started as an office support volunteer in the fall of 2015. I was hired on as the Diaper Program Coordinator last May!
What’s your favorite thing about the work you do here?
Being the Center Program Coordinator at All-Options PRC is a dream job! My favorite part of doing this work has been feeling like part of a larger community. All-Options is made up of bad-ass staff, board members, advocates, and volunteers, who believe in radical empathy, supporting people, and tearing down systems of oppression. I feel so lucky to do such important work with such amazing and passionate people.
Why is an all-options approach to reproductive health & support important to you?
The all-options approach is so important to me because it is rooted in the tenets of the Reproductive Justice framework. It recognizes that pregnancies, just like all life events, do not occur within a vacuum and cannot be separated from our identities, experiences, and perceptions and their intersections. The all-options approach offers unconditional support that affirms those intersections and makes space for the full spectrum of pregnancy and parenting experiences. That is revolutionary to me!
What’s your best All-Options memory to date & what are you looking forward to as we grow?
My best memory of All-Options happened last year, just before I was hired. I went to the CLPP conference at Hampshire College to represent All-Options. It was my first ever reproductive justice conference, and when I arrived I felt like I had finally found my place. I felt so welcomed and learned so much and met so many new people. I will never forget that feeling of realizing that I had found the community that I had been looking for for so long.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your All-Options colleagues.
I have an obsession with maps and weather, so watching The Weather Channel is a key part of my morning routine. It is both informative and relaxing for me.
What’s your favorite thing to do for fun?
I love to read Afrofuturist literature and listen to trap music.
If you could have any one person, living or dead, over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you make?
Harriet Tubman! If I had a “patron ancestor,” it would be her. When I picture her in my mind, she takes on almost superhero-like qualities. She literally put her body on the line in so many ways for freedom; and she was not just concerned about her own freedom, but also for the freedom of her people. She has become a symbol for me of all of the Black women who continue to put their bodies on the line to lead the charge for liberation. I would probably cook some kind of shellfish. We both grew up along the Chesapeake Bay, where my family goes crabbing every summer. I bet she’d love my auntie’s fried crab recipe.
If All-Options’ mission were achieved and all ppl had the support and resources they needed for pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption experiences, where would you want to give more of your time?
I would probably still be involved in some sort of activism or advocacy, probably around cannabis legalization or criminal justice reform, which both have such an integral connection with racial justice and Black liberation. I don’t think I could pull myself away from social justice work until we are all free.