Since her term with Teach for America, Amy Witt has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Chicago Public School children and their families. She dedicates herself to helping children build self-confidence and develop a greater understanding of the conduciveness of physical fitness and learning as the Development Director of Chicago Run, a non-profit organization that operates and supports youth running programs. She realizes Chicago Run's mission of closing the achievement gap and advancing education for children in Chicago on a daily basis.
Amy's staggering work ethic carries over to her involvement in the Jewish community. A board member of Repair the World, Amy understands the importance of exposing Jews to service opportunities that take them out of their comfort zones in an effort to recognize the responsibility of assisting others and ensuring the welfare of all people.
Pays the bills:
Development Director at Chicago Run
On the side:
Board Member of Repair the World, University of Michigan and Chicago sports fan
Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
An enthusiastic passionate Chicagoan, dedicated to service, family and friends.
Peppermint Patty from Peanuts
How do you Jew in Chicago?
I love celebrating the Jewish holidays with my extended family. I grew up making matzo balls and cooking brisket with my grandma and mom. My involvement in the REALITY Israel community, a joint venture between Teach for America, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Samberg Family Foundation, has helped me connect my dedication to service with my Jewish values on a much deeper level. As a Repair the World board member, I've been working to help bring the Read.Write.Repair Campaign to Chicago in order to mobilize Jewish Americans as volunteers, to advance literacy and achievement for all children.
I am passionate about ensuring that all children have equal opportunities to attain an excellent education. I am also dedicated to instilling the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle in Chicago children through my work at Chicago Run. International issues are very important to me as well, stemming from my involvement with Seeds of Peace as an American delegate when I was younger. I'm passionate about Chicago sports and Michigan Football and can't wait to see the Cubs win a World Series one day!
How do you give back?
Through my work at Chicago Run, I'm dedicated to helping bring physical fitness programs to high need Chicago Public School students in an effort to combat childhood obesity and instill in children the importance of goal setting and the benefits of being active. We currently serve over 13,400 Chicago children. As a board member of Repair the World, I'm also dedicated to mobilizing American Jews and their communities to give their time and effort to serve those in need. In addition, I am inspired daily by the students I taught during my time as a Teach for America corps member in the South Bronx, New York. I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure their success in high school and beyond. I also believe it’s important to give back financially and I make sure that I give whatever I can to organizations that are near to my heart.
Fill in the blank: If time and money were limitless, I would:
I would start my own nonprofit organization and support other nonprofits doing effective work to enhance opportunities for children. I'd ensure that all children in Chicago have the opportunity to engage in Chicago Run programs, thereby eliminating our current wait-list of schools. I'd give whatever was needed to provide leadership opportunities to those deeply engaged in the movement to end education inequity and support their various organizations. I'd also support organizations that are making major strides to advance issues related to health, human rights, the environment, and international conflicts. Another priority of mine would be to travel with my family and friends, as there are endless places I'd love to explore and little I enjoy more than spending time with those who are most important to me. Getting season tickets for my family and friends to Bulls, Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Michigan games would be a great bonus, too.
Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
I hope it's an inspired community that is dedicated to the values of tikkun olam. I strongly believe that service has a transformative way of bringing communities together and forging strong relationships between people. Given the longstanding history of education as a primary value for Jews, I truly hope and believe that the Jewish community will have helped further the effort to end education inequity in Chicago and elsewhere.
Me in 10 years:
I hope to be leading a nonprofit organization that bridges gaps between communities in Chicago and mobilizes others to volunteer. I hope that my career and my free time are spent as a leader in the movement to ensure that all kids get an excellent and enriched education. I also hope to have a family of my own and provide my children with the same supportive, loving, fun, and value-driven childhood that my parents provided for me and my siblings.