Give Light So Youth Can Shine
“Give light, and people will find the way.” – Ella Baker
Will you help us “give light” to the children, youth and families Youth In Need helps every day? Our end-of-year appeal should be in your mailbox this week, and your support will help those without critical resources build their own future and find the way to success. Whether it’s through quality early childhood education, a warm bed and an open heart at our emergency shelter, or one-on-one counseling for an at-risk teenager, Youth In Need delivers critical services in our community.
But we need your help . . . now more than ever. Give light so that youth may shine! Make an end-of-year gift online today.
Celebrating Big IDEA Honorees, Employee of the Year and Staff Anniversaries
Each year, Youth In Need celebrates staff and their contributions to the agency’s success with an employee appreciation event. It’s a chance for staff to come together and enjoy an afternoon of fun and fellowship. While COVID prevented us from gathering in person this year, we still found time to celebrate our Big IDEA honorees, Employee of the Year and staff service anniversaries virtually.
Congratulations to Big IDEA honorees Carrie Williams, Matt Fanning, Mikhail Pressley and Mary Kessler, Employee of the Year Heidi Hubbard and 72 employee service anniversaries that total 600 years of service!
Big IDEA Awards
After Youth In Need’s beloved former CEO passed away in 2017, a group of staff and Board volunteers decided to recognize Jim’s life of service with a an annual award for staff who exemplify Jim’s attributes of Innovation, Dedication, Excellence and Advocacy. The second annual James A. Braun Big IDEA Award was given to Carrie Williams, Health Manager in the Early Learning Programs; Matt Fanning, Child, Youth and Family Therapist; Mikhail Pressley, Residential Youth Care Worker at the Emergency Shelter; and Mary Kessler, Senior Director, Early Learning Program Partnerships, who passed away in June.
- Carrie Williams, Health Manager in Early Learning Programs: Carrie’s nominator said Carrie has “transformed the Early Learning Programs health services by using her towering strength of forming positive and open relationships with others…to navigate needs and break down barriers.” Because of Carrie’s persistence and partnerships, many more children are now getting needed preventive dental care. When COVID-19 hit, Carrie sprang into action and has been a guiding force in developing Youth In Need’s safety protocols and supporting staff with grace and humility.
- Matt Fanning, former Child, Youth and Family Therapist: A dedicated and excellent clinician who is always on the forefront of “what’s new” in therapeutic practice, Matt generously shares his knowledge and resources with his colleagues. Matt has been a strong advocate for social change and ending systems of oppression since childhood! During his time at Youth In Need, he helped clients and staff of color process through trauma with kindness and warmth.
- Mikhail Pressley, Residential Youth Care Worker at the Emergency Shelter: Mikhail, along with our other Residential Youth Care Workers, have worked on-site providing in-person services throughout the pandemic, in extremely challenging circumstances. Even in non-pandemic times, it takes a special person to work in “chaos and crisis, with youth that come and go quickly.” Mikhail “leads by example, and she’s passionate and hard-working every time she steps in the door. She can see the humanity in each and every young person, and accepts them all, simply for who they are.”
- Mary Kessler, Senior Director, Early Learning Program Partnerships: This honor is awarded to Mary posthumously. Mary developed the Child Care Partnership program into something truly phenomenal. She exemplified the word “partner,” treating her colleagues as equals and allies. She was devoted to her team, and was easygoing and fun, but she never lost sight of her mission in life: The young children we are honored to serve. Mary was tireless and passionate, and her passing in June leaves a hole in our program and in our hearts.
Employee of the Year
The Board of Regents selected Heidi Hubbard, Counseling Services Supervisor for Lincoln County, as the 2020 Employee of the Year. Heidi’s nominators describe her as someone with perseverance and dedication to the agency and the clients she serves; someone who excels at hard work and commitment to collaboration; someone whose work has been instrumental in expanding critical services; and someone who is caring, giving, open, hard-working, humble and willing to learn. While the award is usually presented at the annual employee recognition event, this year it was awarded with a small, socially-distanced group who surprised Heidi with her award.