Youth Awards

Youth Awards

Youth Awards 2021

Peckham’s Youth Services & Offender Success division provides premier vocational and transitional services to youth and adults with histories of court involvement who face barriers to personal success.  During the 2021 program year, over 921 participants were served.  Out of those, we are recognizing the elite eleven for their outstanding perseverance and personal commitment to achieving their goals.  We are honored to celebrate their success. 

CONTENT WARNING: Some copy briefly mentions certain forms of abuse that may cause a trauma response. 

All-Star Award:

Presented to youth who have achieved significant milestones while demonstrating great character, perseverance, and precision.  This award is reserved for the highest performing students across all Peckham Youth programs.  Congratulations to our 2021 All-Star Winners!


Jasmine heard about the Right Turn program from a transitional housing program she was residing at after completing a substance abuse treatment program. Jasmine has faced numerous challenges and hardships over the years; however, she has remained hopeful for a better life for her and her children. Jasmine has overcome addiction, has been in and out of the court system, and was a high school dropout. Shortly after enrolling in the Right Turn program, Jasmine had two goals of earning her GED and obtaining employment. Through hard work and dedication, Jasmine proudly earned her GED and was hired on at TJ Maxx! Right Turn staff assisted Jasmine with obtaining her driver's permit shortly after enrollment in the Right Turn program. She has been getting behind-the-wheel experience driving with a volunteer through her transitional housing and plans to take her road test soon. Although Jasmine's three children are not currently in her care, they are the motivation she needs to move forward in accomplishing her goals. Right Turn staff is working with Jasmine to obtain her children's birth certificates and pay off past-due bills. By accomplishing these tasks, Jasmine will hopefully be able to secure housing and have her children come back into her care. Jasmine is looking into massage therapy school, cosmetology, or community college to further her education. Additionally, Jasmine recently published a book titled 'Journey's Out the Trash' about her life journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. She hopes the book can be used as a tool for others going through similar experiences. Jasmine continues to impress staff with her accomplishments towards meeting the goals she sets for herself. 


Troy enrolled in Right Turn in August of 2019. At the time of enrollment, Troy was incarcerated with an expected release date of November. Prior to his release date, staff discussed his goals and the steps he needed to take to achieve them. The day after Troy's release from jail, he was at the Peckham building with his mom and sister, meeting with the staff to discuss options. A week later, Troy attended an orientation where he worked on his Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP). Troy took several online tests to assess careers that would interest him and eventually decided a career in trades would be something he would enjoy. Troy enrolled in the NCCER Core Curriculum Trades Certification class on November 25, 2019, one of the career tracks offered through Right Turn. His attendance was outstanding, and he completed the certification on December 20, 2019. While attending class, Troy worked part-time at a local restaurant and actively applied for jobs within his desired field. In June of 2020, Troy was hired at Auto Lab as a laborer. On August 8, 2020, Troy celebrated his 26th birthday, but this one was different than previous years because it was the first birthday Troy celebrated in 8 years that he was not incarnated for. Troy is still employed with Auto Lab as an Auto Technician Apprentice. He is diagnosing vehicle problems, performing general maintenance, changing tires, and much more. Troy’s coworkers, who speak highly of his work ethic and performance, provide him with guidance both at work and outside of work. Troy says he is enjoying the work he is doing at Auto Lab and plans to continue his career in the automotive industry.


Micah is determined to create a better life for himself. Before coming to Peckham, he was involved with juvenile court at a young age and lived with his father who was struggling with substance use and maintaining a job. Micah was in Youth Career Academy in Genesee County’s (YCA-G) summer program last year and made so much progress in only a few months. While he was in the program, Micah completed his portfolio, became certified in OSHA-10 General Industry, and was Student Worker of the Month for July 2020. Micah was always very respectful of staff and peers and was motivated to get a job. Micah had work experience at Foutch’s Cloth Auto Wash where he started as a car washer. He did such an amazing job that he was hired as a full-time employee even before his work experience was complete. While working, Micah graduated high school six months early. Micah’s hard work has paid off. He recently told YCA-G staff that he has bought his own car and is now looking for jobs to become a car mechanic. After attending the program, Micah and his father were able to work on their relationship and his father was able to get a part-time job. Micah was not in the program long, but he has done an amazing job as a student and as a successful graduate. Micah is an All-Star because he has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come his way.



Since starting the program, Xzavier has shown up every day and comes in with a great attitude. He is always willing to try his best to be successful. Xzavier was also the only student who had perfect attendance during the virtual learning piece of the program. He was present in every session while keeping up with his work at home. Xzavier has completed his portfolio with 4 different Give Backs, several Talent Tours, Lunch & Learns, a work experience, and 3 classes with Mt. Morris. Xzavier also received the Student Worker of the Month award for both January 2021 and March 2021. Xzavier is very respectful and has not had any issues getting along with his peers. Xzavier had his first work experience at Absolute Home Health & Hospice in Grand Blanc. Xzavier worked there for 6 weeks as a Volunteer Administrative Assistant where he was responsible for filing paperwork, talking to the hospice center’s partners, making phone calls, scanning and faxing documents, creating new templates on the computer, and assisting the social workers with anything else they needed. Xzavier is going to be part of YCA-G’s new pilot program with NorthGate because of the respect he has portrayed while in the program. Xzavier will be the first student to try out the new OJT program with the potential to be hired as a full-time employee. Xzavier is an outstanding student!


Nate joined the Youth Career Academy of Ingham County (YCA-I) team as a 15-year-old who struggled with truancy. Nate began his career at Peckham working in the kitchen and was one of the most reliable students to work in his position. He maintained his job until COVID-19 prevented him, and he immediately threw himself into learning the jobs on the production floor. During the summer of 2020, Nate volunteered to participate in our online program, without a referral from his JCO. Nate has portrayed many great personal and vocational qualities. He is kind to all staff and peers and goes out of his way to help others. Nate’s attendance has never dropped below 80%, EVER. He has never received a corrective action for a behavior issue, and has not received any new charges or had any police contact. Nate truly is a student who is more than worthy of being recognized for all his hard work and perseverance. Last year, Nate successfully completed the Trades Academy. This year, he finished his driver’s education courses and obtained his driver’s license! Both years, Nate earned Worker of the Month recognition multiple times, setting a great example to other students in the program. He continues to be a reliable, responsible, and outgoing young man who has taken advantage of all that YCA has been able to offer him. His consistency throughout his time in this program has been astounding!


Footprints alpha gem:

Footprints is Peckham’s residential program for girls involved with the 30th Judicial Circuit Court – Family Division. The Alpha Gem award is given to the brightest success over the past year. The recipient of this award is selected for her determination, her successful transition back into the community, and the shining example she sets for current and future girls in the program. 


While Alyssa was a resident at Footprints, she was able to rebound in school, completing NINE credit hours with Ingham academy, which was a huge improvement for her as she was not attending school prior. Alyssa was a positive peer role model while at Footprints. She was often observed motivating and uplifting her peers to do better and was a good friend to all the other residents. Alyssa was at Footprints during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic came a lot of changes at Footprints, including limited home visits and online schooling. Alyssa handled every obstacle with positivity and grace. She additionally made resident of the month while at Footprints and successfully completed the Footprints program in May of 2020. After completion of the program, Alyssa began Peckham’s YCA program, where she continues to be successful. 


phoenix award:

Presented to youth who have experienced significant challenges and obstacles and still persevere to reach their goals with grit and pure determination. These award winners continue to move towards their goals while using their resources and having a positive & respectable attitude in the face of adversity. 


Derrick started programming on Tuesday, April 6th, and has had near-perfect attendance since. Derrick shows initiative and has a great attitude. He has participated in many give-back opportunities such as Flint water drives, making tie blankets for youth, military youth give back, building birdhouses for the elderly, and volunteering at the Devoted Barn. He has worked very hard on completing his MI OSHA certification and his GED. Every day at the program, Derrick is making strides toward his goals of being off probation, completing his GED, and obtaining a job in construction. He reports he is the youngest of three and has two older sisters to whom he looks up to. Derrick will describe his family as one of hard workers and says he was “raised right”. He reports his father's death is what caused him to make poor choices leading to being on probation. Derrick says he wants to do better and be like the man his father was. Derrick has many goals that he wishes to accomplish and getting off probation is his number one priority.

AnthonyG photo


Anthony joined the Youth Career Academy of Ingham County (YCA-I) program just months after experiencing the devastating loss of his father. During the first few months, Anthony displayed some unruly behavior that was addressed by staff. He struggled to pay attention at work, wandered around the building, and lost phone privileges multiple times. Anthony completed many behavior chains and had a difficult time accepting responsibility for his actions. Anthony did not open up to staff much at first. He eventually agreed to meet with a counselor once a week to talk about life and grief. Along with therapy, Anthony began building stronger relationships with his peers and talked about hanging out outside of school. He also built more trusting relationships with staff, realizing that they were not going to give up on him. Fast forward 8 months, and YCA staff collectively agrees that Anthony has been the most-improved student this year, hands down! In September, he started at a low point losing his custodial parent, navigating a tense home/family life, and lacking a positive social circle. By December, he had earned Worker of the Month! Since then, he has continued to maintain his consistency and further develop relationships with staff and students. His behaviors may show a night and day difference, but his humor and ability to make people laugh have remained the same. He learned every job on the production floor and shows up on time consistently. He has become extremely dedicated and deserves to be recognized for his growth this last year!


Taylor has experienced significant trauma and does not come from a supportive home life. When she began programming, she was timid, untrusting, and would never smile. However, at each week of programming Taylor started to grow and trust her peers. She completed two certifications, one in Customer Service and another for a 10-Hour OSHA certification for Culinary Arts. She completed 7 classes with Mt. Morris, transitioned to the Ignite program once she was dismissed from probation, and graduated from high school. Taylor is only 15 years old and was able to obtain employment at A&W in the community. Taylor completed her portfolio and led an art experience for other students. She worked very hard to achieve all her short- and long-term goals. She continued to meet regularly with her mentor and still attend RAMP programming. She completed the Embers 12-Week program as well. Her supervisor stated that they made great progress in the studio on projects that would have otherwise been difficult to accomplish without Taylor. Taylor displayed exceptional personal growth during her time at programming. She learned to advocate for herself, was goal-driven, and made more prosocial choices. Throughout all the adversities she faced, Taylor was willing and determined to do better for herself.

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Though the difficult times this past year, Mohammed could have decided to give up. Instead, he took it as an opportunity to thrive. Mohammed was one of the few students who have remained responsive to the staff, active in events, and willing to learn and take on new responsibilities. In December of 2020, Mohammed had a meeting with his counselor at Waverly to discuss him falling behind in his classes. Online schooling presented many challenges for Mohammed because he is not only responsible for himself, but he is also responsible for taking care of his younger siblings at home and making sure they are on task with their online learning throughout the school day. Along with this, Mohammed has other household responsibilities to assist his mother who has limited mobility. After the meeting, and realizing he was falling behind, Mohammed adjusted his school schedule, spending more time online each day. Mohammed’s hard work paid off, and now he is set to graduate at the end of this semester. In addition to working hard in school, Mohammed obtained a job at Wendy’s and works up to 40 hours a week. Mohammed participated in the CDC last month in the competitive interviewing event, successfully turned in his FAFSA before the priority deadline, activated his TIP scholarship, and is working on applying to MCTI (Michigan Career and Technical Institute) as well as LCC. He also is attending the JMG virtual graduation later this month. A year and a half after entering the program, Mohammed is employed, close to graduating, and working on his post-secondary plans!


Zachary started in the JMG/WIOA program in 2016 while attending Potterville High School, but the program was discontinued and shortly after, Zach dropped out of high school for personal reasons. Zach lost his mom, then his grandmother who took him in after his mom passed. After some years of absence, Zach was still facing many challenges but was motivated to get his life on track. Zach wanted to work and return to school to finish his high school diploma however, Zach did not have any personal documents that were necessary for starting a job or school, nor did he have a permanent address. Trying to obtain these documents during the pandemic was extremely challenging for Zach. He met with the staff multiple times a week, made phone calls, and did research to finally get all his documents. He then began working and looking into options for school. Zach had a few part-time jobs throughout the year and now is working full-time at Peckham in Environmental Services. Zach has a schedule planned to graduate within the year 2021. Zach is incredibly motivated and manages to stay positive even with many barriers still in his way. He is a great example of someone who does not make excuses but makes things happen.


Mentor of the year award:

Presented to mentors who have dedicated themselves to meeting, supporting, and encouraging their mentees beyond expectations. Mentors play a critical role in the lives of the youth in Peckham programs. To have mentors like the ones receiving this award is inspiring and worthy of great applause. 


mike mahaffy:

Mike Mahaffy is currently a Peckham employee who has been a mentor for almost 5 years. It does not matter who he is matched with because the outcome is always great. His current Mentee is Eric who is in the Mentor Lansing Program. Both Mike and Eric like playing video games and Mike has created a solid relationship. The mentor match started in November 2020, and they have been going strong since. Mike has made a safe place for Eric to open and share things with him which has been helpful in Eric’s growth. Mike’s kind and caring way make him a great mentor.

Ken Fuentes:

Ken Fuentes is currently an Operations NCO for the Michigan National Guard and his mentee is Zach. Mike is currently a mentor in the Mentor Lansing program. Ken, having two children on the Autism spectrum, was a perfect fit for Zach. Ken has created a safe place for Zach to share his story and has been a strong influence on Zach’s well-being by listening to him and giving sound advice. Ken has gone above and beyond and made a major difference in Zach’s life.

ken mentor
Cathy Mentor


Cathy Gant is currently a Marketing Representative for IGT Corporation and her mentee is Taylor in the RAMP program. Cathy is a sweet, soft-spoken person and has such a positive impact on Taylor. Taylor struggles with self-esteem because she does not have support in her home environment. Taylor has the habit of being negative because of the negative influences. Cathy has encouraged Taylor and shown her she can be positive. Cathy started by giving Taylor an assignment to find one thing a day she could smile about and the very next day, Taylor reached out and told Cathy how she found the thing to smile about. Subsequently, Taylor has blossomed and is encouraging others. Taylor is a sweet young lady who just needed someone to cares about her, and Cathy has done that and more. She is truly a great mentor.