Sheena Saffold is a Youth Development Specialist through our partnership with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. Sheena is passionate about the work she does and the youth whose lives she impacts every day. We asked Sheena 9 questions to get to know her better and learn what inspires her about her job:
How long have you been a JMG Specialist? 2 ½ years
What program/school? I work with students at Cody, Osborn, and Pershing High Schools as well as Randolph Career Tech in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Why did you become a JMG Specialist? One of my classmates from high school put a request on Facebook asking for volunteers for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent. I informed her I would love to volunteer and attend. I was so moved by what I saw at the event I told her I want to do this kind of work. She said ok apply, I did and, interviewed and here we are almost three years later.
What inspires you about your job? My job inspires me because every day I have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people. In all of my working years, I have not held a position that allowed me to help others in the way that I do in this role.
Recall a favorite memory about being a specialist. The memory that really makes me smile was last summer our Detroit Workforce of the Future Cohort youth were on a community project on Dexter assisting with building a bus stop bench. All the youth on the site were to rotate jobs, some did not want to assist with the bench, but I insisted that everyone take a turn at building. Once the students began taking turns building the bench, no one wanted to rotate. It felt really special to give the youth an opportunity to be exposed to carpentry, something they thought was boring. To me, this is what the job is all about inspiring and exposing our youth to new opportunities, and they enjoyed the experience.
What is one of the greatest challenges you face in your job? One of the greatest challenges I face is to help the young people believe they are capable of doing anything they put their mind to, regardless of the challenges they are dealing with daily.
What is one of the greatest highlights/joys of your job? My greatest joy is seeing my youth, I call them my babies, achieving their goals and overcoming barriers. This makes my heart happy especially when they call me just to say hello and see how I’m doing, that feels so special.
Why do you think JMG is so important for youth? JMG is important for youth because it helps those students who may need that little extra boost of confidence and reassurance. We as Specialists are able to spend one on one time with the youth and really get to know the whole student.
Share your hobbies. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to do DIY projects around my house, I also enjoy gardening during the spring and summer. I do have a pet, her name is Diamond and she’s a SPOILED BRAT. Travel is my passion, Pre-Covid I went on a mini weekend getaway every month. One day I plan to travel from Michigan to California in an RV, stopping at all the tourist sites along the way.