Amanda Andere has answered her community's call to service.
Andere, 31, is the executive director of FACETS, a nonprofit aimed at aiding families in need and ending homelessness, as well as serving as the apartment owners' representative on the Board of Directors.
That means days that start at sunrise and sometimes end at midnight. Andere says she is up for the challenge because she is giving back to her community.
Andere is a 1998 graduate of Herndon High School. She earned a B.A. in political science at James Madison University, and a Masters of Public Administration on nonprofit management at George Mason University, where she also teaches in the university's non-profit management program. Prior to joining FACETS three years ago, Andere served as the Vice President of External Affairs and Community Resources at and worked on Capitol Hill.
Andere attends in Reston, where she is active in the Young Adult Ministry, teaches Sunday school and is a co-chair of the Evangelism Ministry.
Reston Patch spent five minutes with Andere recently.
Reston Patch: What drew you to working with FACETS?
Amanda Andere: I worked on the Hill, but I did not like it. I knew I wanted to work in my community. [Reston Interfaith CEO Kerrie Wilson] encouraged me to come back and work in my community. There is a lot of need here.
RP: What does FACETS do?
AA: We open doors for people in need, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and end the cycle of homelessness. We work with three affordable housing communities. We offer support services and access to medical and dental care.
We are a countywide agency and we are smaller than Reston Interfaith. It speaks to the need here that many nonprofits are working on similar issues.
RP: When people think of the suburbs, particularly Fairfax County, they often don't think of poverty. But there are issues here, obviously.
AA: Suburban poverty is an issue partly because of the huge cost of living here. Many people need to work several jobs. There are people who are chronically homeless. There are people who are one bill away from disaster. There are people living in the woods - a lot of them are veterans. They are working, and yet they can't afford to live.
Affordable housing is a huge issue.
RP: Why did you want to serve on the RA Board?
AA: Housing is one reason I became involved with RA. Metro [which will open its first Reston station in 2013] will have some effect. It is going to create some area where people are priced out of housing.
My main concern is what will happen when people are priced out? There is some great affordable housing that will be included in new construction, but it's not for the chronically low income. Communities like Reston's Cedar Ridge will always be there. I am concerned about what will happen to market rate communities such as Fairway Apartments. What is going to happen to those communities?
I want to be able to engage renters in the community, make them realize they have a voice that will make a difference.
RP: What are some of the key ways you can have an impact representing apartment owners and engaging renters?
AA: I am working with them to communicate what is going on. Some of the owners did not even know they could vote for an RA candidate. I was concerned about the fees going up [$25 for a total of $565 annually in 2012] as some of them are the most impacted. But I also see the value. I would like to see residents take advantage of the pools and amenities.
I am concerned about what an increase in housing is going to do in general. Wiehle Avenue is going to be the terminus for a while. How is that going to impact us as a liveable, walkable community? What can we do to educate people about the benefits of walking, biking and working with developers to plan unique things?
I am concerned about keeping up what we have and keeping amenities, like the Dogwood Pool that is about to be renovated, accessible to that community.