Donor profile: Amy Roloff

Amy Roloff
Fans of “Little People, Big World" will recognize Amy Roloff, whose family appeared in six seasons of the popular TLC reality show. Since the series ended in 2010 (new specials will return in October), Amy has devoted much of her time to her Amy Roloff Charity Foundation.

The foundation’s recent golf and auction fundraiser, “Starry Night, Summer’s Day," donated part of the proceeds to Providence Child Center.

What are you, Matt and the children doing now?
We are doing well. Matt and I are going through certain changes, seasons of life, as we face one of our oldest kids moving out of the house and out of state for school. (Meet the family.)

Jeremy is attending college at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.; Zach is attending Portland Community College and will transfer next year; Molly is a senior in high school and applying at colleges; and Jacob is a freshman at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

Matt continues to make our farm a great place to visit during October for pumpkin season and other ventures. As for me, I continue to do motivational/inspirational speaking all over the country. I’m promoting my first book, and devoting time to my heart – the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation – which helps kids facing life challenges. I have some goals for the foundation, which I’m excited about.

Do you think your show changed the public’s perceptions about little people?
I think we really did. We thought, wow, what an opportunity we have to positively change perceptions about dwarfism, and maybe other physical disabilities. Others may now see us as people who have a lot more potential and capabilities than they thought.

You could have leveraged your celebrity in lucrative ways. Why did you decide to start a charity?
The word “celebrity” still confuses me, and I’m not always sure how to handle it. I want to use what celebrity I have to do something positive and make an impact on people’s lives. Life is not about how much more I can get (I have what I need), but how much more I want to give back.

I chose to give back to kids facing life challenges. What I hope people realize is that founding a nonprofit is a business; it’s a nonprofit business, but it is work. It’s work that I love, and so far I’ve been successful. And I have a fantastic team.

I haven’t given up on the opportunities given me through “Little People, Big World,” so there are still things I would like to do; there’s still more to come.

Growing up in Michigan, how did you picture yourself at 47?
One thing I never thought is that I’d be on a TV show that is shown all over the world. I never thought I would be speaking all over the country and overseas. I never thought I’d be a founder and president of a charity foundation.

I thought I’d be a mom, watch my kids grow up, go to school, graduate, travel and help out in my community – a pretty low-key life. And here I am, blessed with four wonderful kids, married to an entrepreneur, and doing more in my life at this time than I would have thought. It is a wonderful life – challenges and all.
What was the best day of your life?
When I gave birth to Jeremy, Zachary (my dwarf son), Molly and Jacob. I have been blessed.

If you could do one thing over, what would it be?
Get a teaching degree and go into teaching.

What about you would surprise people?
My voice is bigger and deeper than one would think. I’m short, but not petite. I’m more shy than I would like to be. I still get nervous when I speak in public, and I’m quietly competitive, although not necessarily in sports.

What’s the smartest thing anyone ever told you?
I have value, have a purpose and there is a reason I’m here, even if I or others don’t see or believe it. Those three words – value, purpose and reason – are the foundation of all I do.

Why did you choose Providence Child Center as one of your charity’s beneficiaries?
I wanted my charity foundation to be a part of helping these kids reach their full potential, no matter who they are or how long it takes. The kids at Providence Child Center have value, purpose and there is a reason they are here.

I just want to thank everyone from Providence Child Center who supported the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation this year at our event. I truly appreciate all of you and what you do to support kids facing life challenges.