I grew up amidst the cornfields of Indiana, where my two wonderful parents modeled unconditional support—a trait I no longer take for granted—for my three sisters and I. During high school, I became involved with Inner City Impact, a ministry in Chicago, and became passionate about working with at-risk youth. I volunteered and interned with the organization while attending Taylor University for my Bachelor’s in Social Work. I moved to Chicago shortly after graduating to pursue my Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.
In 2011, after a year-long internship, I was hired as the Group Coordinator at the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, an organization providing legal and therapeutic services to clients involved with the Juvenile Justice system. I ran anger management and alternative to suspension groups in both public and alternative high schools.
In 2012 I left the Midwest, moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to my family. I obtained my Social Work License in the state of Pennsylvania and accepted a job working for George Junior Republic, providing intensive placement prevention and aftercare services. I spent the next 8 years providing community based individual and family counseling and case management for clients involved with Children & Youth Services and Juvenile Probation. Through my work, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best service providers and referral agencies in Cumberland County. I gained extensive clinical experience and first-hand knowledge, for which I am forever grateful. I am currently in supervision to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Pennsylvania.
During my years as a service provider, my love for working with at-risk youth only grew. I never cease to be amazed at the resilience of the youth I serve, and I love the energy and zest for life they bring to the table! But throughout those years, I often saw these youth struggle as they began to reach adulthood. Despite their strengths, much of their support would drop off after they turned 18. Past clients began reaching out to me for help months, or sometimes years, after successfully meeting their goals and being discharged from the program. It was clear that these older youth were in need of more extensive support and services to assist them into their transition into successful adulthood. Countless times my colleagues and I would say, “If only they had stable place to live…” or “If only they had a more supportive home environment…” Here at the Launch Pad, we no longer have to say, “If only,” but instead we are able to provide a solution to the problem. At the Launch Pad, we offer more than just a roof over their heads. We offer stability and support to empower our clients to launch successfully into the next chapter of their futures—and what bright futures we believe they will be!
I have volunteered as a youth leader with Resonate Community Church since 2015. You also might know me through those two great parents I mentioned, Tim and Mary Wheeler. After moving to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2006, my father, Tim Wheeler, became a co-pastor at Resonate Community Church. He worked for many years in hospice, and now currently teaches at Carlisle Christian Academy. My mother, Mary Wheeler, worked as the volunteer coordinator at Project Share, and is now the center manager for New Hope Ministries in Mechanicsburg.