In the Employee Spotlight we aim to recognize a Youth Service, Inc. employee making an impact in the communities we serve. J.D. Harris is a Community Outreach Worker in Youth Service, Inc.’s Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a Philadelphia native who graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2011 with a Liberal Arts degree. After graduating college I worked in the human services field for several populations before making my way to YES and the youth in September of 2017. I am passionate about serving the youth and assisting in the progression of their growth. The level of satisfaction that I get from youth success stories here motivates me to continue to be a resource for them and their families.

Q: How long have you been working at YSI?

I have been employed at YSI for 2 years and have maintained different roles since being employed. Initially I was hired as a shift supervisor during after school hours, and directed daily operations during this time. I maintained this position for a year before making a lateral move to become a community outreach worker in the Runaway Homeless Youth program for YSI/YES. In my current role as a community outreach worker, it is my goal to be readily available to assist youth and their families in need by providing or referring resources that are necessary for the progression of family reunification.

Q: Why do you think these programs are important?

I believe programs such as these are important because of the systems that are put in place to assist youth in need. Systems such as the safe place initiative, give youth the ability to identify designated businesses in the community that can assist when they are in danger or in need of adult assistance. In addition to this I believe the RHY program is important because it offers an opportunity for families to work out their issues by utilizing our resources over a 21 day time frame to assist them.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at YSI in this program?

The thing I enjoy most about being employed here at YSI are the success stories that our youth encounter after departing from our program and when they come back to share those experiences with us. Being able to reflect on their time of hardship and seeing their growth is especially rewarding for me given that in some cases we are the youth’s last option for assistance. Being accepted to college, obtaining new employment opportunities, and starting small businesses are all examples of the success stories that I observed during my tenure here thus far, and I look forward to more!