History

Since 2003, Amanda Block, under the auspices of INSPIRE Outreach, has provided personal advocacy, informational outreach and arts education to New Yorkers in need.

Inspired by the philosophy of Washington Square United Methodist Church where INSPIRE began, INSPIRE intends to serve as an evolving arc of refuge through personal empowerment and referrals.

Her advocacy and outreach take shape by connecting individuals to basic services, co-planning and strategizing with clients to meet life’s goals and giving friendship and emotional support along the way.  For people in search of artistic and spiritual nourishment, INSPIRE offers gatherings for those who feel the need to create but have neither the resources nor the forum to do so.

New York community partner organizations have included the Bowery Mission, Christ Church UMC, the Church of the Village, Fathers Heart Ministries, Ali Forney Day Center, the Antonio Olivieri Center, and Bellevue Hospital.

 

About Amanda Parrish Block

Many life experiences led to Amanda’s inception of INSPIRE Outreach.  A graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2000, she entered a career in marketing communications.  From 2000-2003, Amanda earned a Silver Mercury Award, a 2001 Sabre Award and her work was listed in the  Holmes Report Best PR Campaigns of 2001.    Based on her intern experiences at the White House (1997 and 1998) and at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (1999), Amanda longed to make more of a difference in the world.

One Sunday morning at the Washington Square United Methodist Church changed everything: she had a conversation with a man in line for the free Sunday lunch.  He asked her why she had a “boring” job in marketing when she could be using those same skills to help people.  Shocked and inspired, she ran home and drafted a business plan which combined advocacy with networking, and friendly support with actionable resources.

In March 2003, three months before she married her husband Michael Block, Amanda left her marketing job to lay the groundwork for INSPIRE Outreach.  Three months later, the street sheets were born.  Within a year INSPIRE evolved from mere advocacy to advocacy, referrals and life planning.

The men and women who came for help and moral support brought their stories with them– often on scraps of paper.  By November 2003 Amanda identified a need within the same community for creative expression and a monthly writing group was born.  Since then, INSPIRE has balanced the shared focus of advocacy, resource guides and creative encouragement.