Through leadership, we inspire those around us to influence critical outcomes on behalf of Michigan’s young people. This month we would like to highlight the specialists who received the Living Our Values Award for Leadership at this year’s professional development conference. In the nominations submitted for these winners, there was consistent language including dedication, expertise, support, and an exceptional level of care for staff and young people. These two individuals wear many hats including teacher, parent, coach, mentor, advocate and trusted role model. This comment summed it up: They are leaders by nature and they inspire us “to transform the lives of students who deserve the change to be the success we know they can be.” Congratulations to Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) Specialists, Corey Sterling and Cheryl Irvin.
Meet Cheryl Irvin, Specialist for two years in the Great Lakes Bay region; Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw
Why did you become a JMG Specialist? JMG helps youth to know that they are whole exactly the way they are, and that their opportunities are many.
What inspires you about your job? It is inspiring to see youth find success and get excited about their future.
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. I loved to see all of the Dream Boards last spring that our youth created. They inspire me to continue to build connections and broaden opportunities.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job? One of the biggest challenges is youth not believing in their own capacity to do amazing things. They have felt failure in many aspects of their lives and they feel hopeless. JMG helps them to see hope. This is a great program that should be in all high schools in the nation.
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job? The people. I am inspired by the people. The building of hope and perspective is amazing.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth? JMG gives youth opportunities and hope. It builds their awareness around the capacity to be successful in their lives.
Share your hobbies, do you have any pets, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love cardio. I dislike running but love to find a good HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class wherever I am. I have a dog named Aussie. I started to learn how to fly a few years ago and hope to someday become a pilot. I long for adventure and love finding the good in the world.