With some sadness and with wishes for much joy, Youth Emergency Service bid farewell to Veronica Dyson at the end of December. Veronica, a Philly native, spent more than 25 years with YSI working in programs for teens. Beginning with a girls group home on Spruce Street, Veronica worked with teens throughout the agency finally landing at Youth Emergency Service (YES).
“I worked for several programs at YSI, all having to do with teens,” says Ms. Dyson. Her work with YES began when it was at its original location on Ludlow Street behind St. Stephen’s Church. Here she cultivated her passion for working with teens and became a settling presence for those coming into the 30 day shelter. Veronica was the stabilizing force for many teens who came in resulting from a crisis or just couldn’t remain at home. Veronica’s longevity provided a welcoming face for those who may come for shelter more than once. Another result of her duration at YES was the association with agencies and programs throughout the city that she could connect and refer youth for a variety of issues.
Working with youth is not an easy job. If you have the passion and the perseverance to connect and support young people the job can be extremely rewarding. When asked what kept her motivated along the way she replied, “I don’t have children of my own and I guess these children became my family. When you have a real passion or drive for something, that’s what gives you the energy to come in and do your job every day.”
Veronica has many fond memories of her time at YES. She comments,”I’ve had former clients come back years later and share what they are doing. They are supervisors, teachers, child care workers, guidance counselors, lawyers, parents, you name it. That is the true reward in a position like this. To be here long enough to have former clients come back to tell you, with a certain pride, that they have made it and that they remember you. That’s what makes it worthwhile.” There will always be a place of appreciation and honor for Veronica Dyson at YES.