Energetic and persuasive, Shay fills the Teen Resource Center at Neighborhood House with her boundless energy. Bouncing from conversation to conversation, engaging with youth who are entering the room after a long day at school, Shay relentlessly tracks down details about their days and looks for opportunities to make a connection.
Through constant reflection Shay has developed a unique youth-engagement philosophy, and works tirelessly to provide a lens through which teens can develop healthy self-image: “I want youth to understand their ability for self-advocacy. Many of our teens have grown up in circumstances where their ethnicity or socio-economic background is seen as limiting, and I want them to challenge negative cultural impressions and build leadership that highlights their personalities and individual skills.”
Not yet in her mid-20s, Shay’s involvement with Neighborhood House dates back five years ago to when she first enrolled in the Americorps program out of high school, and began working with youth on the West Side. Today, Shay coordinates our Teen Resource Center and the Comcast Digital Connectors program, an initiative teaching leadership and digital literacy skills to teens. Both programs are still growing, but she has big dreams for the youth “I want our teens to be successful, and I want them to pursue that success on their own terms.”