Kelly Ingalls

Outreach and Admission Specialist
Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy

Q: How long have you worked here?
A: I’ve been working at the Washington Youth ChalleNGe Academy since January 2014.

Q: What do you feel are the greatest benefits to working at the WYCA?
A: One of the greatest benefits of working at the WYCA is the staff that I work with. Everyone is focused on the mission. Everything we do is a product of the mission and we are all committed professionals, who operate with a high degree of integrity and take personal responsibility for the youth in our care.  It’s wonderful place to work.

Another great benefit is getting know the youth that we work with. In my case, my job is to recruit these youths into the program. I do this by visiting schools, community centers, outreach organizations and other areas where I can locate at-risk youth who would benefit from the program we offer. It’s amazing to watch the transformation of these young men and women and to witness their success later in life.

Q: In what ways have you had an opportunity to grow new skills?
A: As a recruiter, my communication skills have improved. I can do presentations to auditorium size crowds, as well as a one-one conversation with youth and both groups will come away with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision about applying to the WYCA. Talking with youth about the tough stuff in their lives use to leave me anxious and concerned about saying the right thing, but I can now listen and interact with these youths confidently and can offer ideas, insights and advice about applying.  

Q: Which value do you need to embrace most in your job, and why?
A: Service. It’s all about serving the needs of the youth that are applying.

Q: What do you find most challenging about the work you do here?
A: The most challenging is getting access to the youth that need to know about the Academy.  Some school districts partner with us, others struggle. The Academy has no immediate access to dropped out youth in our state. We depend on our community partners, juvenile centers and other adults that work with these youths to introduce the Academy to them and get us involved.

Q: Do you ever think about the impact you have on youth you serve? How does that make you feel?
A: Every day. The personal fulfillment is a driving force in continuing to work hard every day, find these kids and show them what is possible for them. 

Q: Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
A: Parents. Unconditional love made it possible to be and do everything.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
A: They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Q: How do you recharge from a busy or stressful day?
A: Enjoy my family, eat a great dinner, play with the grandkids, watch movies, go for walks.  The joys are endless.

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