We have a guest post today from Emma Miller. Though most people raised Amish end up joining an Amish church, a certain percentage for one reason or another do not. Here’s Emma writing about a new organization she’s started for former Amish:
I grew up Amish in a small town in Missouri, the 6th child out of 12. I have many fond memories of summer nights playing with my siblings and day-long escapades in our 40 acres of wooded property, catching tadpoles in the idyllic creek that murmured its way through. I was aware that there was a different lifestyle out there, but I was confident that ours was the best.
Then I turned 13 and finished my 8 years of education in the little, one-roomed school house down the road from my house. There was nothing left in my future except to stay home and learn the skills needed to be an Amish wife someday. Today I can value those skills but then I had a head full of dreams and I wanted to go to high school, maybe even college someday. I wanted to travel and learn other languages and meet people from all over the world. I don’t know where these longings came from, but as they say, the heart wants what it wants.
I left the Amish community when I was 16. My first few years were just focused on working and keeping afloat but when I turned 18, I moved to San Diego which is where I got my GED and started taking classes at the community college. It took me many years but eventually I graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Economics. I was so emotional on my graduation day; I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it!
I vowed to start a scholarship fund and a support network for other Amish people who decide to leave and go to college. I teamed up with a few other former-Amish students who have the same goal and we formed the Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund (ADSFund) and we’re hoping to award our first scholarship this June. Trying to get a GED on an 8th grade education and going to college without parental support is very hard to do. It is my greatest wish that this fund will be successful and be able to help those in need.
To learn more about ADSFund please go to ADSFund.weebly.com or contact me at emmamiller.adsfund.@gmail.com. We appreciate your donations and support.
Thanks to Emma for sharing with us today. She welcomes your comments and questions about the fund, or her background growing up Amish in Missouri.
Missouri Amish school photo credit: Beth Russo