Professionalizing the out-of-school time field is essential to increase practitioners’ knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they may positively affect the quality of programming that is delivered in the afterschool hours. City of West Palm Beach – Gaines Park Community Center Counselor Vickey Wright took advantage of Prime Time’s scholarships to attend classes at Palm Beach State College to gain knowledge on the best ways to mentor, coach and share with youth. She pursued Prime Time’s non-credit pathway, first taking the Foundations of Advancing Youth Development Principles course and then moving on to complete the School Age Professional Certificate and Staff Credential.
“I am grateful to my manager, Lynn Highsmith, who allowed me time to take all of the courses to help at work and my biggest cheerleader, Supervisor Frank Verney, who also helped me to understand the benefits of becoming a director because he is an excellent director.” – Vickey Wright, pictured below.
After two and half years of working in afterschool, Wright continues to love working with children and seeing them learn through different programs and activities.
“They keep you young!” – Vickey Wright
With these great achievements under her belt, Wright continued to take additional coursework toward the Director Credential, which she earned in January 2022. Wright stated that meeting this milestone better prepared her for many different types of interactions with youth. She stated that as a result she is a better counselor, teacher and mentor to the youth.
“I want to thank Elisa Moro [Prime Time’s career advisor], who would walk me through what I needed to do to achieve the Director Level 1 Credential and who is giving more directives to this day. I am also grateful to Nicole Tarsia [Professional Development Scholarship and Incentives Specialist] for helping me through the scholarship process.” – Vickey Wright
“Ms. Vickey is a great mentor to the youth with whom is works. I have observed Ms. Vickey facilitate Restorative Practice Circles with her youth. In one of the circles, she provided the opportunity for the youth to solve a group problem together building trust, respect and a sense of belonging. Ms. Vickey helped the youth feel safe to share, learn to take turns and provided an opportunity for each youth to have a voice.” – Yolanda Adams, Quality Advisor, Prime Time Palm Beach County