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Dec 07, 2017

Employee Spotlight—Shelly Harryman

Shelly Harryman has been a dedicated Youth Care Specialist at Oak Bridge Youth Shelter in Washington since 2002. Oak Bridge Youth Shelter provides 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter with services accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for youth ages 9-17. In November, Shelly received her 15-Year Service Award from Janus. When discussing what has motivated her for the past 15 years Shelly says, “I have a passion to advocate for youth. We are their only hope.”

In her current position at the shelter, Shelly juggles many roles. One of those is managing all aspects of food procurement and meal preparation. As the food purchaser for Oak Bridge Shelter, Shelly understands budgeting and how important it is to stretch money. To help manage the rising cost of food while still keeping meals balanced and tasty, Shelly maintains an ongoing partnership with local businesses, securing food donations. She works with restaurants and businesses like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Starbucks and Olive Garden scheduling weekly food pick-ups that supplement meals. In addition to meal preparation and food shopping, Shelly enjoys teaching youth about food and nutrition. Shelly created a game called “Meal of Fortune” which teaches youth food safety, nutrition and meal preparation. “The kids have fun playing the game and they learn how to make a meal with limited ingredients,” says Shelly.

In October 2016, Shelly added another role to her duties— On-Call Support Specialist —providing guidance and support to other Youth Care Specialists. Shelly created documentation for new staff that provides details on intake procedures, client screening and exit protocol. She also created documentation on managing and administering medications to youth. She is vigilant in staying on top of any medication issues that arise with our youth in shelter. For example when young people who have medical conditions requiring complex medication management, such as Type 1 diabetes. She ensures that these youth have everything they need to manage their condition. This has been a huge asset to the program, as Shelly has prevented many youth from requiring hospitalization due to ill health.

Shelly brings to her position vast experience and understanding of special needs, helping to create a caring and productive environment when working with our youth. This includes how to interact with educational systems, how to address developmental needs and how to create structure that will soothe youth who struggle with emotional regulation. Shelly also works with the Oak Bridge teacher from the Evergreen School District to help youth earn school credits.

In addition to her fulltime job at Janus, Shelly has been pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development at Warner Pacific College in Portland where she hopes to complete her studies within the year.

In her personal time, Shelly raised three children with special needs and is now raising her three grandchildren. Although she lives a very full and active life, Oak Bridge is still a priority to her and she devotes her complete attention to her job and the youth while she is at work or on call. Says Shelly, “I want to be the voice that is not heard.” Thank you Shelly for 15 years of serving youth who benefited from your unique care and support.

For more information on Janus’ Washington Programs, please click here.

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