Meet our Specialist of the Month winner for February, Billy Coleman, an Out-of-School Specialist, from the Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan (BASWM). Billy has been a JMG Specialist for about a year and four months and has made a difference in the lives of the youth he serves. We asked several questions so you can get to know him better:
Why did you become a JMG Specialist?
My passion for coaching and advocacy grounded with my various skill sets aligned perfectly with the timely opportunity to facilitate effective vocational programming for BASWM/JMG student participants.
What inspires you about your job?
Assisting young adults in finding their WHY, passion, purpose, and talents utilizing a whole-child approach with a trauma-informed lens. Witnessing the transformation of students learning to learn and having fun doing so with project-based concepts amplified by student voice and choice.
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. (an event, a youth accomplishment, etc.)
My favorite memory was when our students won the 2022 Chapter Marketing award for their “Our Voices, Our Choices” video at last year’s Career Development Conference (CDC) and got national recognition from Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). Our students facilitated and modeled leadership: communication, teamwork and cooperation on a daily basis.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job?
Continuous learning of individuals' barriers to academic success is one of my greatest challenges. As trust and rapport builds, youth begin to open up more and you realize that many of their "barriers" are unable to be simply removed, but must instead be managed in order for success to be self-actualized.
Knowing that my BASWM Success Team may be the only positive adults that are currently present in many of the youth/young adults we serve.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth?
JMG provides students with effective alternatives to traditional educational/school environments in terms of teaching and learning. The individualized approach JMG offers aligns perfectly with BASWM's purpose, mission, vision, and values: "Our academy welcomes every student into a place where meaningful learning begins with understanding the student as a whole."
Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc. A couple random facts to get to know you better.
I enjoy remaining physically active as an ex-professional athlete, being outdoors with nature as much as possible, fishing, and spending quality time with my soon-to-be 6 year old daughter, Arielle.
Fun fact: 1996 Baseball America Magazine Pre-draft College Baseball rankings: #47 of top 100 Prospects
Nominations are open to ALL, including our employer partners! If you know a phenomenal specialist, we encourage you to nominate them as our March Specialist of the month.
Nominate a specialist who deserves to be recognized, here.