Meet our Specialist of the Month winner for December, Leah Alexander, a Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Alternative Specialist with Peckham Inc at Ingham Academy. Leah has been a JMG Specialist for one year and has made a huge impact in the lives of the youth she serves. We asked several questions so you can get to know her better:
Why did you become a JMG Specialist?
I became a specialist because I am passionate about helping youth realize their full potential, and I believe JMG is a great catalyst to do so!
What inspires you about your job?
The youth I work with inspire me! I love to hear success stories from my students, or anytime they apply what they learned in class to a real experience.
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. (an event, a youth accomplishment, etc.)
This past Leadership Day had to be my favorite memory of being a specialist. I was so happy to see my students just being kids and having fun. Most of my students have a lot of responsibility so it’s rare that they are allowed to just be and exist without having to worry about something. Leadership day was much needed for me and my students.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job?
One of the greatest challenges I face in my job is the school environment that I teach at. It’s very restrictive which makes it difficult to deliver the full JMG model, however I’m no stranger to challenges. I use the restrictions as an opportunity to get creative! Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I choose to focus on what can be done!
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job?
One of the greatest highlights of my job is being able to teach my students things I didn’t learn at their age. It’s truly a joy for me to be able to expose them to things such as career exploration and financial literacy.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?
JMG is important for youth because it fills a void that often goes overlooked. Many schools focus on preparing students for graduation, but don’t provide enough education, resources, or awareness for life beyond high school. That’s where JMG comes in. I love that JMG meets youth where they are and prepares them for their future one step, or should I say competency at a time.
Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc.
I’m a boy mom! I have a six-year-old son named Prince. We enjoy traveling, watching movies, and cooking together.
I also like to read, watch documentaries, and learn about different cultures. In another life I could have been an anthropologist!
A couple random facts to get to know you better.
I was born and raised in Lansing, MI.
I attended Western Michigan University where I majored in Communication Studies and doubled minor in Race and Ethnic Relations.
My son’s birthday is two days before mine. He’s December 12th and I’m December 14th. He is the best birthday present ever!
During my senior year of high school, I won my high school’s beauty/social pageant. I was Miss Everett 2009. I still have my sash and tiara!
Nominations are open to ALL, including our employer partners! If you know a phenomenal specialist, we encourage you to nominate them as our January Specialist of the month.
Nominate a specialist who deserves to be recognized, here.