Meredith had been looking to do a year of service in order to help hone her skills and find her place in the realm of youth development. “Getting the leadership from Deanna [Reed] [OTRC Program Director] and Brent [Holsinger] [OTRC President & Founder] has been really helpful,” she says. “We get to work with youth still; it’s not like we’re just sitting in an office every day,” Meredith added. Shaquela agreed that the highlight of their time with OTRC is being able to be hands on in the schools, interacting with the children, and participating in the leadership aspect of programming.
Shaquela first got introduced to the prospect of working with On the Road when she started to near the end of her time at Boys and Girls Club. Shaquela has been working with Brent since OTRC was Beyond the Bell. Meredith and Shaquela both worked as Team Leaders before they started their full time positions. “That amount of development he’s given me…has really helped me grow,” she says. “I’m basically gonna follow him wherever he goes,” she added with a chuckle.
Shaquela is a Harrisonburg local, having grown up here and attended school at Harrisonburg High. Meredith is from the Valley also, but was born and raised in Strasburg and moved here after graduating from Eastern Mennonite University this past May.
“This is the kind of area that I’d like to stay in…non-profit, working with kids. It’s just been really enriching,” says Meredith about her major and the connection to her current job with OTRC.
“I’ve been doing youth development for a really long time…probably about…eight years,” Shaquela says. She starting working for the Boys & Girls Club here in Harrisonburg as junior staff at age sixteen, and continued to move up from there. “So I’m pretty set in stone with working with youth,” she said with a smile.
“My favorite part about this job is all of the outreach that it offers us.” Meredith enjoys getting to talk to parents and volunteers about On the Road as an AmeriCorps member. “Getting to tell people about what we do on an everyday basis is really exciting,” she added.
“I’m getting a lot of inspiration from my coworkers, Brent, Deanna,” Meredith said about her word, which was “inspirational”. “And also from the kids. Every day…we help these kids succeed.”
We are so stoked to have Meredith and Shaquela as a part of our team! Catch them when they're not out and about in the schools - they would love to say hello and talk more why they're on the road!