Photo: Amanda Reuter

DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight— Amanda Reuter, Executive Director of HOPE DeSoto Long-Term Recovery Group, Chaplain Candidate in the U.S. Army Reserve, and Ministry Director at First Baptist Arcadia

Posted on May 15, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24

Editor's Note: The Patterson Foundation believes in the power of collaboration among individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve shared goals. By working together towards common aspirations, they can not only strengthen themselves but also their communities, shaping a better future. DeSoto County Ahead serves as a prime example of this collaborative approach, where community members learn from one another, share experiences, and collectively grow to build a more robust, resilient community. Explore our first DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight featuring Ashley Coone, co-founder and CEO of Links2Success, here. View our second DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight featuring Carrie Fuller, founder and owner of Grants on Point, here.


As a part of The Patterson Foundation's work with DeSoto County, The Harwood Institute's Catalytic Community Guide Program in DeSoto County is an intensive program for community members who desire to guide their community to create lasting change using Harwood's approach. Catalytic Community Guides are local community leaders trained in the Harwood approach and positioned in the community to help people adopt a mindset and a practice that enables them to step forward, take action, create meaningful change, and unleash the potential of their community. Five DeSoto County community leaders are participating in this transformative 12-week course.In this month's newsletter, we spotlight Amanda Reuter, who embodies hope in everything she does.

Amanda Reuter is currently a chaplain candidate in the U.S. Army Reserve, where she provides religious support to soldiers, integrates religious support plans into unit operations, performs chapel duties, provides counseling and training, and provides hope in crises. She is also the Ministry Director at First Baptist Arcadia and serves as the Executive Director of Hope DeSoto Long-Term Recovery Group, a nonprofit that works with community partners to rebuild homes and provide hope after a disaster. Amanda believes that providing hope is the common theme through all of these opportunities, and she embodies that in the work that she does each day.

When asked what she sees as the impact of this project on DeSoto County residents, Amanda said, "The spark for positive change happened after Hurricane Ian ripped through DeSoto County. When the residents of DeSoto County pulled together to assist each other in response and relief efforts, a spark of civic faith flickered. The Patterson Foundation and Harwood have helped to fan the spark into a flame of positive change because of their exactness in the restoration of civic culture and civic faith. Participating in the CCG Course has enabled me to see survivors and helping agencies as leaders of positive change, proving that a chain reaction of dynamic community rhythms is possible." 

Amanda also reflected on the value of participating in the Catalytic Community Guide Course with the Harwood Institute. She shared, "The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation's CCG Course is like an extensive university class. There is instruction, collaboration, reflection, and homework with actionable outcomes. The value of participating in the course is receiving a quality, professional, and relevant education in leadership and civic culture. The Patterson Foundation has generously paid for the cost of the course for the participants. The value of participating is seen in the change of mindset, language, and behavior of each participant. Since taking the CCG Course, I have been much more thoughtful in how I conduct board meetings with Hope DeSoto Long Term Recovery Group and how I show up to other meetings and small groups of which I am a part. The CCG Course is invaluable!" 

We are excited to continue to see the growth in these community leaders as the Catalytic Community Guide Course continues and look forward to the impact they will have going forward.

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