Meet Donna: Youth and community development


"Being able to get the help when I needed it and the access to my advisor is why I recommend WMU to anyone who wants to come here."

  • Why did you choose the youth and community development major?

    I chose the family's science major because I wanted to work more with families. I wanted to be more in the community. So this major was solely the focus of having that connection with the community, being able to be of service to the community and be more involved in the community with families and youth or young adults.

  • What has your experience been like in the program?

    My experience has been really good. Specifically because I have learned more of how to work with families of different backgrounds and cultures. Also understanding how to work with families and being able to to just understand where they might be coming from.

  • hy did you choose the criminal justice minor to pair with like your degree?
    I chose the criminal justice minor because I was trying to go into understanding more of the youth part of it, which is why I'm here at the juvenile center. And I wanted to work with youth in a different setting, which most people did not hear about, which is the juvenile part of it. And I figured criminal justice was something that I can work with.
  • What's your experience been like with faculty?
    My experience with faculty has been really good. I would say I've gotten a lot of help when I needed it. I've gotten a lot of good advice from my professors, my advisor, and it has been really, really helpful because even for my criminal justice minor, I had to talk to my advisor and she referred me to the Criminal Justice Department where I had to understand what I was getting into.
  • Why did you choose Western Michigan University?
    I chose Western because I have friends that have went here and WMU had put out the youth and community development major just before I started.
  • What is your role as an intern at the Berrien County Juvenile Center?
    So currently I have the role of a youth specialist. A youth specialist is someone who works with the youth directly. So, for example, I'm here during their school day. I'm going to be here in the class with them. I'm going to be the one who will be able to direct them on what they need to do and what they need to not do, what they need to focus on. We also have our focus program, which is we focus on risk management, the focus of basic social skills. So those are some of the things I do here. I work with the youth and we talk about their experiences and how they can learn and go back in the community and
    be model youth and be able to give back to the community and not come back here.
  • How did WMU help you get your internship?
    Two of my professors that I had last year really helped me get my internship, they were some of my references because I had developed connections with them.  
  • Are you interested in working at a juvenile center as a career?
    I would say very, very interested in making it my career because when I applied for my internship, I had no idea rehabilitation was this big part of the juvenile center. And when I started learning about it, that's when I decided to do my internships here. And my experience has been really good, I can see the impact that we have on youth.
  • Why would you recommend Western?
    I would recommend Western to other people because of the experience that I've had. Being able to get the help when I needed it and the access to my advisor whenever I them. I would recommend the program because it has beenreally, really good and had my classmates have been supportive. Having professors that are supportive, that would be something that I know a lot of student need it. I would definitely recommend for that reason.

Youth and community development at WMU

The youth and community development concentration within the family science and human development major, prepares change agents to transform communities through an intentional investment in youth via interdisciplinary coursework and community-based experiences. This concentration invites students to critically examine youth within the context of families and communities and how individuals and organizations can address social inequalities, organize effective learning environments, and develop skills, competencies, and practices that promote human flourishing.

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