Meet Our Community Partners: Gwen Heatley

The CYC is fortunate to offer our programs to students all around the city of Grand Rapids; however, we would not be able to reach those kids without the help of our community partners, like Gwen Heatley who helps us run Media Team out of Harrison Park School. For three years, Gwen has been the Career/College Pathways Coordinator for the Challenge Scholars program.  She brings wisdom and light to the kids’, all while having fun. Read on to see what Gwen has to say about education and adventure.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Harrison Park?

Our families. We have amazing families that have taught their children the value of hard work, respect, and to appreciate educational opportunities, so these children come to us with a foundation that makes them eager and receptive to learning. Many of our parents are working two or three jobs, and making personal sacrifices, to make these opportunities available to their children. I honor that.

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Princess DianaWe had children at the same age, at the same time, and I would often wonder how our lives were different or the same. I know she had dreams of making the world a better place for her kids, just like I did. I think, in some ways, she fought a harder battle to realize those dreams than I had to. Meeting her would help me appreciate my own perspective, and experiences, as far as making the world a better place for children. 

What’s your definitions of “adventure”?

Being free of fear. I tell our students that it takes a lot of courage to try something new. Most of us operate from a fear base: Fear of being embarrassed, fear of making a fool of ourselves, fear of getting in trouble, etc. “Adventure” is setting aside that fear and opening yourself up to the possibilities. For some people, that means standing in front of a room and talking, for others it’s climbing a mountain. It’s whatever means to that person, but it’s an opportunity to push the limits. 

***

Thank you, Gwen, for all the amazing things you do for Harrison Park–and the kids in Media Team!