Amy Osburn, Vice President and Director at Hilltop Neighborhood House, was born and raised in Valparaiso. From a young age, her family played a big role in bringing her passion for helping people to life.
“It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, and after my family helped me realize my true passion, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Osburn said.
She then went on to graduate from Purdue University West Lafayette with a degree in early childhood education and exceptional needs. While at school, Osburn met her future husband, who also happened to be a Valparaiso native. The two moved back home together after graduation and decided to start a family.
While attending Purdue, Osburn first started getting involved at Hilltop. She would work part-time at Hilltop while she was home for holiday breaks, and when a full-time position opened after graduation, Osburn jumped at the opportunity.
Some of her daily duties include overseeing Hilltop’s early childhood education program, development of curriculum, Hilltop’s food pantry, after-school tutoring program, and more.
“I love seeing the kids’ personalities come alive. I spend time with kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. They’re at the age when they don’t know how to be anyone else but themselves, which I think is just amazing,” Osburn said. “It’s fun to watch them master their own challenges and make their own discoveries, and it makes going to work a daily adventure.”
Osburn has two children of her own – 3-year-old daughter Ayla, and 10-week-old son Colson. Both are just down the hall from her at Hilltop during the day.
While Osburn absolutely loves what she does for a living, she admits to having challenges sometimes. When she begins to feel overwhelmed, she remembers the advice her CEO at Hilltop told her before she went on family leave – “nothing changes if nothing changes.”
“Balancing full-time work while also being a full-time mom is difficult at times, but if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to embrace this type of change and keep moving,” Osburn said.
She mentioned that ‘mom guilt’ is a very real feeling, and while it is hard to cope with, it only motivates her to succeed at Hilltop.
“I think that moms can be very hard on themselves, and I’m lucky to have an amazing support system that includes my family and work family. But I think that all moms still face a little bit of mom guilt,” she said. “It’s hard being at work while wishing you were spending time with your kids. It’s a hard separation, but this makes me want to succeed in my position at Hilltop, so I can create a program that parents will feel comfortable with when they leave their kids at Hilltop during the workday.”
Her advice to moms is simple: “Ease up on yourself and take it day-by-day. Don’t forget to care for yourself first, because if you can’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for your children as much as you would love to,” Osburn said.
She thanks her mom for setting such a great example for her throughout her life and for always lending a helping hand.
“She’s always been such a supporter and advocate of mine. She’s always encouraged me to do what my heart wants me to do, and she’s an amazing role model,” Osburn said.
In her free time, Osburn and her husband enjoy walking around downtown Valparaiso with their children and visiting Butterfly Meadows and ValPLAYso.
“I love Valparaiso because it’s like one big family, and I really didn’t realize this until I left and came back. It’s such a unique place, and everyone is very giving to one another. This type of community is hard to find,” Osburn said.