Remembering what you went through as a child can be a huge benefit when your career requires you to meet them on their level.
It’s something Alexa Ponce tries to put into action each day as a Youth Behavior Specialist at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s Elkhart Clubhouse.
Ponce was a Goshen Club kid from the age of six until 6th grade. That’s when school activities pulled her away, but she never lost her passion for what Club can offer.
“As a former Club kid, I know the importance of Club,” she said.
Now she works to make sure she’s the kind of example she saw in those formative years.
“I remember times when I had a meltdown at Club, and I want to be that calm adult who will help them through difficult times,” Ponce said. “I was a sensitive kid who was quick to cry. So, when I have those kids here, it’s very relatable.”
She loves seeing the different activities members can try and how that can spark an interest that can blossom into something bigger.
“Kids get to find their passion here because there are so many things to try. I love them coming back from art and showing me what they were able to create,” she said.
Her biggest accomplishments come when kids are struggling, and she can help them calm down to work through the situation.
“I’m around and waiting until I get a call and try to get a kid back to baseline, so they don’t have to send anyone home,” Ponce said.
She said Covid isolation has been hard on young people. Creating safe social situations for them is a big focus. Ponce said she wants to be a consistent face they can rely on.
She will get her Masters in Social Work from Indiana University in May.
“I’ve always been interested in the non-profit missions and after-school programming is so important,” she said.
Interacting with the members is part of her daily joy.
“My dad summed it up perfectly. He said, ‘You just want to play with kids all day.’ I can’t argue with that. I love my kids and I love my job. It’s great to be challenged — even after three years of being here.”