As announced last week, TownSquareBuzz.com is proud to present its first class of TSB's Heroes Hall of Fame, which we've been introducing over the past week. The honorees are in no order, they are simply deserving of recognition for their good works in the community. Today marks the fifth and final installment in our series of honorees for their good works during 2012.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Meet Shelai Mullins, our fifth and final inductee for the TSB Heroes Hall of Fame series. The quote above appears in the signature of Mullins' email correspondence, and building our youth for the future is exactly what Mullins is passionate about achieving in McKinney, Texas.
Mullins, who is a busy mother of two young girls, is the first juvenile case manager for the City of McKinney Municipal Court. She works with kids between the ages of 10 and 15 who come through the court system having been charged with a class C misdemeanor. These youth, thanks to Mullins', now have the option of doing community service hours, which Mullins believes can change lives.
"I've always known that I wanted to work with the youth, with middle schoolers," Mullins explained. "I've been through a lot in my life, and I have a lot of empathy. Many of the kids that I see, a lot of times it comes out that there are major issues in their families and we might recommend tutoring and try to address the issues at hand so they won't end up returning back in the system."
Believing that it is important for kids to have consequences for their own behavior, Mullins wanted an option that would provide learning opportunities for kids. Mullins said that when she began looking for possibilities other than having their parents pay a fine, she found that there were no services available in McKinney. Mullins explained that organizations within the city were reluctant to use kids who were in trouble.
Where there is a will, there is a way and Mullins didn't give up. She came up with a plan to apply for a grant that would provide the funding to start a community service program. "It became a mission of mine to find someone who would work with us. It became an education process," Mullins said, the passion for her crusade obvious in her voice.
“I really wanted to get involved when providers and people were turning kids away because they were criminals," Mullins said. "I knew there had to be a way, so I applied for a grant several years ago. We received the grant and that allowed me to start the community service projects, which I could supervise."
Today, the young people who are serving out their sentence are able to participate in community service projects throughout the community, including working on projects with Holy Family School, Habitat for Humanity, ManeGait and Relay for Life.
"I am honored and humbled and embarrassed (about being selected to the TSB Hall of Fame) all at the same time," Mullins said. Her husband, Ryan, countered with "awesome and well deserved!" and we agree.
Shelai, you had a dream and you pursued it until your dream became a reality. Where you were met with hurdles, you found a way around them for the sake of the youth in McKinney - for the sake of our future. You cared enough to make a difference. You are a community crusader, in the truest form. TSB salutes you.
Photos courtesy of Shelai Mullins
TSB Class of Inductees for 2012 Service:
Congratulations to our first-ever class of inductees!