Meet a DSAW Leader: Amy

My name is Amy Thomas. I am the newest edition to the DSAW state office and I am incredibly excited for this opportunity. I have the pleasure of teaching multiple classes every month for a wide variety of age groups and topics, which allow me to share my creative, authentic self.


I started my career on accident while attending the University of Iowa, where I studied Socio-Cultural Anthropology. I was volunteering at a coffee shop on campus that was run by individuals with disabilities. It was my job to offer support as needed. From there I went on to work for the Goodwill of the Heartland as a job coach and came to the realization I had found my place in the world. I am a bit of a dreamer and believe you should always enjoy what you do for a living, while giving back if you can.  I have been working with individuals with disabilities for over 18 years now- which is absolutely mind blowing. I cant believe how quickly time has flown by. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my experiences over the course of the last 18 years, I have to say one of my proudest thus far was the creation of Team Awesome. Team Awesome is a technical theater program for students with disabilities at Shorewood High School. The members work alongside the rest of the high school crew, at their own pace, to build sets for the high school productions, as well as running all technical aspects of the show. It is the first of its kind in the nation and although I have since left the program, it is still running strong.


I am the proud mother of three amazing children and one beautiful grandbaby. My oldest child, Hannah, has followed in my footsteps and works 30 hours a week in the same field. She spent her high school years volunteering for Best Buddies and Special Olympics.  My middle child, Sullivan, was born with an extremely rare craniofacial abnormality and has undergone over 16 major surgeries. He has just secured his first job experience with the assistance of DSAW-Family Services. My youngest, Jonas, is currently in the 7th grade and exploring new hobbies. He seems to be following in his father's artistic footsteps and enjoys drawing and designing. He has an amazing sense of humor and keeps us all laughing. My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and met back in college. He was in a theater production of Shakespeare that I was required to see for a class. I knew right away he was the one and inevitably it was our theater instructor who introduced us.

When I am not working, I spend a good deal of my free time advocating for human rights that include awareness of socio-economic inequities and social change, as well as environmental awareness. When I have down time I always spend it with my family. They are my world. We enjoy traveling, exploring new environments, arts programs, playing board games, eating out and always laughing and loving.