Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

December 30, 2013

Lifelong student champions Mancelona education

TRAVERSE CITY — Amy Burk had an idyllic childhood in the rural outskirts of Flushing, where she lived next door to her grandparents’ dairy farm.

But at 18, Burk’s life fell apart when her parents divorced, which caused her to cut short her college career. At 20, after a year of community college, she married a U.S. Marine and moved to a military base in North Carolina. At 21, she had twins — the first of the couple's four children.

Now Burk, of Mancelona, is devoted to removing barriers that prevent kids from finishing school, and to preparing them for future education. She is executive director of Communities In Schools of Mancelona, and oversees prevention and intervention services to students and families with a primary goal of increasing graduation rates in Mancelona.

“We typically say we’ll do what it takes,” from providing school supplies, tutoring and bully prevention assemblies to offering warm winter clothing, recreation and enrichment opportunities, said Burk, 43.

The self-described "small-town country girl" leads by example. She faced her own barriers to education but managed to go back to college when her third child was 2, shortly after her husband’s tour of duty ended and the couple moved to Traverse City.

“I still had that education itch in me,” said Burk, who in 1997 earned an associate degree in applied science from Northwestern Michigan College. “I knew the girls would grow up and I would be out seeking a job. I wanted to make sure I was a good candidate for whatever job came up.”

That job came along the next year at the Mancelona Family Center, a sort of one-stop shop for Mancelona area social services. Agencies and services include a health department dental clinic, a women’s resource center, child and adolescent health services, child and family services, and Catholic human services.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl