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Shannon works her 'dream job' at YMCA

The bright summer sunshine just seemed to give the kids participating in the YMCA’s Summer Power program in Shoreview some extra positive energy – and Shannon Meehan was enjoying leading them in various morning activities at the Turtle Lake Elementary School location.

Shannon is excited to be working at her “dream job” as a YMCA program staff member working with young children enrolled in this YMCA program.

Shannon was originally hired in December 2014 with the YMCA’s School Age Care, an after-school program at Valentine Hills Elementary School in Arden Hills. Shannon is spending the summer months working 20 hours a week with kindergarten through fourth-grade kids. She engages them in play, arts and crafts, reading, and outdoor activities. 

“At the end of the school year, the Y asked us all to tell them five places we’d like to work for the summer and then matched us up where they needed us the most,” Shannon explained.

“I really love working with the Summer Power program with a small group of kids. Then in September, I will move to another YMCA after-school program.”

Shannon came to Rise’s Community Integration Program (CIP)-Coon Rapids in February of 2012, and after working in clerical and production jobs, decided she wanted to pursue a career in child care. Customized Job Developer Sarah Kohl-Leaf assisted Shannon in her career planning and job search. Sarah also follows up with Shannon as needed to ensure all continues to go well on the job. 

A few years ago, Shannon volunteered at a day care center and says, “That cemented my wanting a career working with kids! I love being able to help them develop and learn. I think they really respond to me.” 

“Shannon never gave up on her goal to work with children,” said Sarah.  “She had many interviews that did not develop into employment, but Shannon kept her chin up and kept moving toward her goal.  

“Her employment at the YMCA has given Shannon a chance to flourish in a career for which she has a real passion. Shannon is learning, growing and increasing her independence through her job at the YMCA. I am so proud of her!”

In addition to a weeklong YMCA training session for the special summer program, Shannon says she has learned a lot this summer from her supervisor, Site Director Bryant Richards. “He has taught me some really good ways to keep everything positive and how to have the kids listen to me. He lets me know when I'm doing a good job and it makes me feel good when he gives me a ‘thumbs up.’”

"Shannon is a hard worker who strives to improve everyday and actively wants feedback on how she is doing,” said Bryant. “She has a great amount of pride in what she does." 

Doing so well on the job has helped boost Shannon’s self-esteem and confidence in other areas of her life, too, she said. “I want to have a long-time career working with kids with the YMCA.”

A 2004 graduate of Irondale High School, Shannon enjoys scrapbooking, caring for her cat, and babysitting her two-year-old nephew; she is most excited to have a niece on the way.

This article appears in the September 2015 issue of the Rise Reporter.