Melissa has been working at South Hadley Girls Treatment Program for the past 8 years. She has had a lifelong desire to work with children and make a difference in their lives. She became involved with juvenile justice when her husband was working with justice involved youths; when he made her aware of the opportunity to do the same, she “jumped at it!” With five sons of her own at home it’s no wonder she was eager to work with the girls. The girls in the program have affectionately nicknamed her MK.
Dave Crowley, PbS coach, had this to say about Melissa: “She runs a very comprehensive family oriented program. She is an outstanding leader!” Melissa states that working with PbS gives her the ability to compare data to see where improvements are needed as well as highlight where staff are doing well.
Melissa motivation comes from being a part of the girls’ lives (even if only for a short time) and watching the positive relationships that form between the clients and the staff. Her most challenging issue is discharging girls from the program to home lives that may not be conducive to continued treatment.
One of Melissa’s favorite work accomplishments was when she worked with a young mother in the program; together they met weekly for parenting classes. After the program the mother moved into a transitional living program and received her high school diploma. She continued her education and obtained her nursing assistant license. Recently, Melissa and other staff members attended her wedding! The former client continues to call and stop in to see them at South Hadley.
South Hadley was also a winner of the 2015 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award! Thank you Melissa for your commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of your own and congratulations on being selected as the September 2015 PbS person on the month.
Melissa King at the PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Awards Ceremony
- Written by Allison Lamie
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