It’s probably a safe assumption to make that those who work in Oakland Schools have a special place in their heart for helping youth.
JobLink Manager Margaret Kelley is no exception to that rule. In fact, Kelley recently received the 2017 Champion of Youth Award from Oakland County Youth Assistance, for the work she has accomplished helping local children.
According the Mary Schusterbauer, chief of Oakland County Youth Assistance, each year, “the Oakland County Youth Assistance Coordinating Council gives the Champion of Youth Award to an individual who has helped to further the mission of youth assistance throughout the county.” According to its website, the goal of Oakland County Youth Assistance is to “strengthen youth and families and to prevent and reduce delinquency, neglect and abuse through community involvement.”
Schusterbauer said Kelley earned the award for many reasons, but two main examples of her commitment to youth recently stood out. First, Kelley helped move Youth Assistance’s Ready to Work program from “idea to implementation.” Second, Kelley provided support to a Plug into Your Future program put on by Youth Assistance, which allows mentors and mentees to visit a variety of work sites to explore career paths. Kelley volunteered to allow the groups to come in for career assessments at her Job Link site.
“We are so appreciative of her willingness to share her expertise with us,” said Schusterbauer. “In the past couple of years, her assistance has been invaluable.”
“She’s great, she’s super supportive’” said Anna Torres, youth assistance caseworker in Avondale and Pontiac school districts. “Anything we need, she is there able to answer questions.”
Kelley, who has worked at JobLink in many different positions since 1994, said she was surprised when she given the award. JobLink is a Michigan Works! Agency, which assists job seekers with achieving the skills they need to be successful in today’s workforce.
“I definitely was very honored to be considered a champion of youth. For someone else to recognize that – I was tremendously honored,” she said, adding, “I didn’t do this by myself. There’s a whole bunch of us. It is not a one man show at JobLink.”
Kelley said she has always been drawn to helping youth, especially those who don’t have much of a support system.
“I really love working with the youth and feeling like you really are making a difference,” she said. “I enjoy giving them those life experiences that can make a change for them. It’s a very rewarding career that I’m lucky to be a part of. “
Sarah Davis is a communications specialist with Oakland Schools. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org