Each month, we’d like to highlight one of our awesome staff members by getting to know them better. Without their dedication and passion, our organization would not be what it is today! Behind every program is an amazing team that works tirelessly to serve our community’s at-risk youth, which in turn allows us to provide quality services unlike any other nonprofit in the Piedmont Triad. We appreciate all of our wonderful staff!
This month we’re kicking off our staff highlight at the Structured Day Program, an outpatient day treatment program for middle and high school students with moderate to severe behavioral problems. These youth receive academic, psychiatric, individual and group counseling to treat mental health diagnoses including ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, depressive disorder and mood disorder. They also receive full academic credit while they attend Structured Day, and participate in enrichment programs such as trips to the local YMCA, yoga and mindfulness, educational outings, and more.
Lashawna Kent is the Program Manager Structured Day. Many will agree that her spunky personality is not only contagious, but serves the program perfectly due to her uncanny ability to relate to the youth at the center while providing them with structure and support when they need it most. She is a favorite among the students that attend Structured Day, and can usually be found in her office with a few teenagers sitting with her and talking.
Let’s learn some fun facts about Lashawna!
How long have you been with Youth Focus?
What do you find the most rewarding part of your job?
When you see that a student has made some changes for the better. If one student out of a class makes a change that is an improvement, the struggle was worth it.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Not taking your work home mentally. I have to hit reset button at end of my shift to not focus on the problems that may have occurred throughout the day. Sometimes, the mental stress can drain the energy more than physical activity.
Who inspires you?
My father is my inspiration. He has always been a calming and encouraging part of my life. He would always say, “No child is bad”. He taught me to work hard, respect others, and not to be judgmental. His favorite saying was, “Treat others as you want to be treated, and education is very important but with the wrong attitude, you will create road blocks for yourself.”
What’s your favorite movie?
Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?
Nobody. I love my life. Good times and problems.
What is your favorite food?
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
What is your worst pet peeve?
Disrespect towards older people. I love older people. You can learn so much from them.
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Black. It is a mixture of the primary colors.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Africa. I have heard so many wonderful stories about the different countries there. My children have had the experience of visiting some of the countries in West Africa and I would love to visit also. I have tried some of the awesome food and I am curious how it will taste authentic.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
My family home in the country. I miss it. It was destroyed in Hurricane Floyd. I have so many wonderful memories.
What’s a TV show you never miss?
I love the Golden Girls. I watch it every night before I go to sleep.
What was your first job and when?
Burger King when I was freshman in college. My parents would not let me work in high school.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would be like Cupid. I would go around the world making people love one another.
What would you do with $10 million dollars?
I would buy a lot of land in the country. I would build houses for the youth and let them experience working on a farm with animals and learning about nature. I would want them to experience the pleasure of working for something and reaping the reward. For example, planting the food they eat.
Describe yourself in high school using only one word.
If you had an entire day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Read a book while sitting on a porch swing with a glass of lemonade.
Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they?
Heights. I do not like being up high on bridges, plans, or amusement park rides.
Name one thing on your ‘bucket list.’
Even though I dislike the thought of flying, I want to travel to different places. If God allows me to live to retire, I would spend my days traveling and meeting people from different cultures. I love learning about different beliefs, rituals, and behaviors of others.
If you could change one problem in the world today, what would it be and why?
Technology. I think technology is important but it is very dangerous. It provides too much access and makes society lazy. People depend on it too much and families are losing values. Convenience is not always better.
Thanks, Lashawna, for letting us get to know you a little better, and thank you for all you do for Youth Focus! We appreciate you!