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Amanda Hudson of Leslie receives WOD Scholarship

Amanda Hudson of Leslie, recipient of 2013 Women of Distinction scholarshipMany people allow themselves to be defined, even bound, by past events of their lives. It is often these same people who never seek to rise above their circumstances for the betterment of themselves or their community. 

Amanda Hudson has a “Be Better” attitude and her actions exhibit her desire to help others.  She has provided leadership, is an inspiration to others and sets a positive example.  For these reasons, the Women of Distinction Committee has selected her as the 2013 recipient of the scholarship, awarding her $1,000 to continue her education at North Arkansas College where she is studying to become a Registered Nurse.  Once she’s met this goal, she will advance higher to earn a bachelor and ultimately a master’s degree.

Hudson graduated from Leslie High School with honors and has been on the Dean’s List at Northark for multiple semesters.  She has been accepted into the RN program for the upcoming Fall semester.  The highly respected program at Northark has a waiting list and is known for producing graduates who score high on state and national exams. 

Her career goal is to open and work in a rehab facility in the Harrison area.

Amanda says, “I believe that people should never allow their past to define their future. The events from my past are a driving force for me to better not only myself but also others.”

Her parents divorced when she was just over a year old. As a result, her father developed a drug addiction that plagued him for over eighteen years. She reflected back saying, “During that time, my father chose a lifestyle over his children. I had to watch my family crumble into poverty. It forced my brother and me to begin working at a young age. We did everything from farm work to picking up cans and walnuts just to bring in extra money. In high school, I worked in the fast food industry to help my mom buy clothes, school supplies, and groceries. During these years, my dad was sporadically in my life. He would show up at random to a basketball game, call to demand a weekend with my brother and me, or write a letter from a jail cell.

“I cannot begin to put into words the pain it caused me to see my dad the way he was.  Watching him with his addiction and knowing firsthand the destruction and pain it caused his family was enough to show me what I never wanted another person to suffer. I set my mind to never allow drugs or alcohol to own me. I aspired to be an example for others to do the same. I am still a strong example of that today.”

Four years ago, a miracle happened in Amanda’s life. Her dad began his walk to sobriety. He was living in an Oxford House, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and had enrolled in the Drug Court program. When she saw his determination and dedication to these programs she wanted to help. “I dove head first into learning what the term “sober living” really means to an addict. At the same time, I learned how to make the new relationship I was building with my dad even better. Over the last four years, I have been working with all three organizations to help addicts not only become sober but stay sober. Because of my association with these groups, many people have come to me for advice and information to help a friend or family member of their own. It has allowed me to help the families and friends of addicts in ways I never thought I could.”

The events led to a life-changing realization, “This experience made me realize that this was something I was not only passionate about but something I wanted to continue doing. I realized I could take it to a larger scale. So I began working my way through classes at Northark.  In May of this year, I completed the CNA training and began working at a local nursing home. I was just accepted into the RN program and begin classes this fall. With my degree I will be able to work in a drug rehab facility. My hope is to have a local rehab facility open or in progress by that time or soon after. I also plan to continue working with Oxford Houses, AA, and Drug Court after my graduation as well.”

Amanda summed up her outlook on life “By bettering myself I can better my community. I hope to inspire others and continue to lead by positive example. I want to show others that change is possible and that there is always hope. The people of my community deserve to know that there is a way to help those who seem forever lost. By bettering myself, I can make a difference!”