Meg Wallace launched the Amberley Collaborative in May 2018 to cultivate caring communities in Waco, Texas, and beyond.
Before moving to Waco and returning to school to pursue her Master’s in Social Work (Baylor University, 2018, with a specialization in public dialogue strategies), Meg worked as a freelance writer and editor while raising her two daughters in Chicago’s fabulously diverse Roger’s Park neighborhood.
In multiple encounters with disability and family dissolution over the years, Meg learned that strong professional services are worth their weight in gold, but they can also be expensive and difficult to access, and they are limited in scope. She formed the Collaborative to strengthen natural support systems—to equip individuals and groups to walk alongside their neighbors who are facing challenges, to embrace them as full members of the community, and to support them as they advocate for their own well-being.
In December 2018, the Amberley Collaborative board of directors was established, the Collaborative applied for nonprofit status, the website was launched, and working groups were created to explore next steps.
In 2019 and 2020 the mental health working group surveyed leaders of 23 faith communities to learn about mental health in Waco-area faith congregations, published the findings, and designed an online continuing education course called Mental Health in Congregations, to be offered through McLennan Community College. The course launched in January 2021. During Covid the Collaborative also hosted online Congregational Care Conversations, published a Covid How-to-Help page on the website, and offered clear face masks for sale.
Plans are under way to address accessibility in digital communications, improve community knowledge of financial instruments available to people with disabilities, bring disability voice into local government and community organizations, and develop listings of community resources on the Amberley Collaborative website.