In the Employee Spotlight we aim to recognize a Youth Service, Inc. employee making an impact in the communities we serve. Keshia Brunson is a supervisor for the Truancy Intervention and Prevention Services (TIPS) program and co-faciliator of the Parenting group.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I attended Lincoln University a HBCU for undergraduate and graduate studies. I am married with 6 children and 6 grandchildren. I have been working to support, empower and uplift people for at least 25 years.
Q: How long have you been working at YSI and it what program(s)?
In total I have been an employee at YSI for 14 years. I initially was a Delinquency Prevention Social Worker and then I became the supervisor. For the last 10 years, I have supervised the Truancy Intervention and Prevention Services (T.I.P.S) program. For the past 2 years I have also co-facilitated Parenting Groups.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges faced by you working in these programs?
Being able to work and serve families has many challenges. Systems are not kind to individuals who have less and may lack information. It hurts me to watch people suffer and be disrespected by systems. Lack of resources such as income, education, and housing is a major issue in Philadelphia. People need support and those in power do not care. Being an agent of change can be very challenging when those in power do not care.
Q: What do you do to overcome these challenges?
Working at YSI helps with dealing with these challenges because YSI is a client focused agency. YSI allows me to try and support the families we serve. Good leadership helps me also to deal with these challenges. I do not have to carry these challenges by myself.
Q: What is one of your favorite success stories during your time at YSI?
I have many success stories but I have one that resonates with me the most. I was working with a Hispanic family in truancy. The parents were separated, and the primary caregiver was the mother. The mother reported to everyone that the children were missing days at school due to the father not bringing the children back to her in a timely fashion. YSI reached out to the father, who was at this time residing in South Jersey, to address the mother’s concerns. Well, it was proven that the mother was not being totally honest, and the children were at risk of harm in her care. The father reported that he had been contacting Department of Human Services (DHS), the police, and the school staff regarding the safety of his children but due to the mother being dishonest to everyone about the father no one would listen to him. The mother’s boyfriend was selling drugs in the house where the children lived and she was not taking care of them. Being able to support the father with having a voice allowed the children to be removed from that environment. The children were then placed in the father’s care and were able to relocate to a very nice community in South Jersey. The school staff in South Jersey were informed about what the children experienced while residing with their mother. The staff put a support system in place at the school to assist the children as they transitioned. A DHS supervisor also visited their new environment and reported that it was a beautiful neighborhood and community for the children to grow up in. The father contacts YSI occasionally and reported that the children were doing well. The children are able to still have a relationship with their mother, as well as be safe, and attend school daily. The father was grateful for the support that YSI was able to provide to him.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working in this program and at YSI?
I enjoy working for an agency that is client focused. I am allowed to help people while working at YSI. My supervisors at YSI have good hearts and genuinely want to see people doing better in their lives. I have worked at other agencies in the past and the clients are the last of your worries. It was always about paperwork, money and funding from the powers that be.
Learn more about the Truancy Intervention and Prevention Services (TIPS) program here.