Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plant City woman a guiding force at Tampa nonprofit for women in crisis

Amanda Wright, left, poses with clients of Alpha House of Tampa. Wright is a guiding force at the nonprofit, which services pregnant and parenting women in crisis and helps them avoid abuse.

Courtesy of Amanda Wright

Amanda Wright, left, poses with clients of Alpha House of Tampa. Wright is a guiding force at the nonprofit, which services pregnant and parenting women in crisis and helps them avoid abuse.

After enduring a rape that left her pregnant, the woman arrived at Alpha House of Tampa not just as a victim, but as a survivor determined to become a great mother and chart a better life for her son. Look no further than this inspiring story to understand why Amanda Wright finds time in her busy schedule as a legal assistant, wife and expectant mother to volunteer for the nonprofit. "She really tugged on my heart," said Wright, who lives in Plant City. "I saw in her eyes how brave she was. She still looked at her son and loved him regardless of how he came about."

It's this inspiring resiliency, combined with Christian faith, that has led Wright to become a guiding force at Alpha House, which services pregnant and parenting women in crisis and helps them break the cycle of poverty and abuse.

Over the past three years, Wright has emerged as a top volunteer, leading diaper drives, speaking at fundraisers, serving as a baby sitter and literally remodeling a donation room into a boutique.

For such efforts to come from a 28-year-old is somewhat uncommon, according to Alpha House director of development Cathi Hardesty. Teens often volunteer to gain community service hours to prepare for college. Stay-at-home parents carve out volunteer time during school hours. Seniors step up to remain active.

Connecting with young professionals, however, can prove more challenging as they focus on developing careers and starting families, unless you find a way to pull the heartstrings of someone like Wright, who marvels over how Alpha House lends strength to fragile souls.

"They build confidence in the girls," Wright said. "I love that about Alpha House."

The love began in 2008 when Wright attended the nonprofit's annual New Lives Breakfast. The heartwarming stories of how these women — some with no family support, some who have endured homelessness — overcame their hardships to create real promise in their lives inspired Wright to make a donation.

But something told her to do more. She says it was the Lord.

Wright says divine intervention guided her to initiate the diaper drive at the law firm Hill, Ward and Henderson, where Wright works. She arrived at Alpha House in an SUV teeming with Pampers and Huggies. But that was just the beginning. She soon began spending time with the women and extending simple acts of kindness, such as photographing the families in front of the Alpha House Christmas tree.

Then came the task of renovating the donation room. It's an important facet of Alpha House because many of the women arrive with only the clothes on their backs. The room was overwhelmed with clothes and needed organization. With the help of financial donations and other volunteers, Wright and her husband, Brady, turned the room into a mini boutique where the clients could feel invigorated choosing outfits.

In addition to her job and philanthropic work, Wright and her husband help in-laws Amie and Chris Cherp publish Overflow, a monthly Christian magazine available at Publix, Sweetbay and other local stores.

Wright said the reward for her volunteer work will come "when I meet my Father in heaven." Yet her work also is about connecting with the women of Alpha House on a personal level. She now serves as chairwoman of Alpha House's Artemis Guild, a young professionals' group that raises money for the organization. She would love to see more young professionals do the same.

"I would say look at the lives they've led, and then look inside themselves and see what they can do to help," Wright said. "If you really care about the community, it's important to build up the people you live around."

Ernest Hooper can be reached at or (813) 226-3406.

>> Fast facts

Upcoming events

You can learn more about Alpha House of Tampa by attending a Lunch & Learn session. Upcoming dates for the sessions are Feb. 24, March 10, March 24, April 14 and April 28. The nonprofit's annual New Lives Breakfast will be held May 6 at the Doubletree Tampa-Westshore, 4500 W Cypress St. For more information, call Cathi Hardesty at (813) 875-2024, ext. 1020.

Plant City woman a guiding force at Tampa nonprofit for women in crisis 02/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses


    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay


    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'


    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Rick and Morty returns on Sunday for a third season.
  4. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare


    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  5. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died


    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]