PPL's Family Supportive Housing is reserved for families who have been affected by complex challenges, including homelessness, disability, chemical dependency, or criminal background. In addition to rent subsidies, PPL staff provide intentional support services to help youth and adults restore self-reliance and pride.
As a Children and Youth Services Coordinator, Michael is integral to PPL's Family Supportive Housing programs. His work centers on supporting parents in supporting their children, helping youth navigate the school system, and training tutors that are part of PPL's Tutor-Mentor program.
Much of Michael's work in Family Supportive Housing focuses on developing social-emotional learning skills, which allows children to develop coping skills for triggers based upon their various histories.
Q: What drew you to working with youth?
A: I am a product of one-on-one help. I got that help through my sixth-grade teacher, Ms. Bookhart. If it wasn't for her, I would have fallen through the cracks like other youth. Seeing my friends go through challenges without support made me realize that in some sort of capacity, I wanted to help bridge the gap.
Q: Where do you find pride in your work?
A: Seeing a kid's growth both in the classroom and through the data we collect is rewarding. Sometimes when you're working with children, you don't get a chance to step back and see their actual growth, you get lost in the daily activities. But, when you get to go over data and see that, oh, they are improving, or they've made a grade level or two in reading-level growth, then it really feels like I'm making a difference.
Q: What would you like to see happen around your work in the future?
A: It would be great if there were youth coordinators specifically for a variety of ages: elementary, middle school, high school, and youth transitioning to adulthood. There are a lot of places and points for support that are missed, especially in certain developmental stages in a child's journey into adulthood. Our focus is on children who are falling behind in school and need support, but there are children doing well but could still benefit from additional support.
Thank you, Michael, for all that you do for PPL's youth and families!