For the past thirty-six years, Ameenah Starks has been a faithful La Porte County resident and community supporter. At the time, Starks was wanting to put her daughters into private schools, wanting a change of environment for them, and fell in love with the local community.
Currently, Starks works in a part-time position with the Drug Free Partnership of La Porte County, which is one of 92 county coalitions under the structure of the Governor's Commission for a Drug Free Indiana. Members include concerned citizens and representatives from any businesses or organizations interested in helping to solve problems caused by substance abuse and addiction in La Porte County. Starks has been a volunteer since 2006 until November of 2012 when she was offered a part-time paid position. She had been working for the Swanson Center, running an after school drug prevention program for children from the ages of 10-14.
When the Department of Mental Health decided to pull funding, Starks went back to school, working towards her Master's Degree in Business Administration, which she will complete in January of 2015. At the Drug Free Partnership of LaPorte County, Starks has many responsibilities. She oversees the treatment committee, justice committee, and prevention committee. She is also responsible for overseeing grants from the agencies that request money, making sure they turn in their quarterly reports, and making sure that they are meeting their objectives.
"I love being able to work with a group of professionals that are dedicated in solving the drug problems that we have in the community," Starks said. "This team of people that I work with are so wonderful. I am so blessed to be working with a group of people that feel just as passionately about this as I do."
When she's not working with the Drug Free Partnership of La Porte County, Starks volunteers her time with her former sorority branch, Sigma Gamma. She helps with different community service events, including working with the homeless shelter, March of Dimes, the Michigan City Area Schools' Back to School Rally, and helps with different fundraisers to raise money for scholarships for local kids. She also works with local teenage girls, helping them gain and nurture different leadership skills.
"I absolutely love working with local kids, helping them in whatever way that I can," Starks says. "I think that it's always rewarding when I'm able to volunteer and meet youth where they are and give valuable information that may help them or lead them in better directions. I absolutely love helping people. If I have the time and the can help, then I do. I volunteer anywhere they need help."
In any free time she has, Starks likes to read, ride bikes, and appreciates art and music. She is also getting back into making homemade jewelry to sell at local craft shows. The rest of her time is spent with her family and taking care of her children.