Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Fred Myles.
A native of Kalamazoo, Fred or “Mr. Fred” as the students know him around Hillside Middle School, is in his second year as a Youth Development Worker (YDW) with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo. Fred has a wide range of interests, from college sports, to movies, traveling, and collecting toys from the 1980s. He also happens to be cousins with Carl Myles, retired Principal from Kalamazoo Central High School.
As a Youth Development Worker, Fred, like his title implies, develops the strengths and talents of youth by involving and empowering students in their own growth. “I’m accountable for the students we have each day, facilitating the daily schedule for the students we have enrolled in the program.” What Fred loves best about his job? “I love seeing kids opening up and wanting to be successful.”
Alright, Mr. Fred: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
What is something interesting you’ve recently learned?
I guess I’ve always known this but it’s only in my later years that I more fully recognize this: be accountable. Nobody but you can be responsible for yourself. And it’s important to focus in on something, to be responsible.
What one thing would you tell somebody who is considering being a Youth Development Worker with Communities In Schools?
Have patience. This work takes tremendous patience. Results with kids aren’t immediate. I see myself as a seed planter. The results may come at the end of the day, the week, the year, or even thirty years from now. All I know is I’m planting a seed. Someone else is watering that seed, and eventually someone else will see that child blooms. I just may not be the one to see it.
What are you currently reading?
Miracle Boys by Jacqueline Woodson. As part of CIS After School, I facilitate a book club every Thursday. Right now, we’re reading Miracle Boys. I’m enjoying it and it’s great to see so many of the students enjoying it. Some of these same students didn’t want to do the book club, refused to participate at first, but then after giving them a choice, letting them know that if we do this for half an hour then we can incorporate something they want to do, well, that helped. And now they’re reading and enjoying it. That’s gratifying.
What’s your favorite word right now?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’ve kind of already done that. I went to school for marketing and advertising. During the day I run my own marketing business, and then in the afternoons I come here to Hillside to work with the students.
Behind every successful student is a caring adult. Who has been your caring adult?
My wife. She is supportive and she also holds me accountable. This benefits me and my business.
Thank you, Fred!
Our kids need more Youth Development Workers, enthusiastic and energetic individuals like Fred, to step up and serve in an after school setting (Monday through Thursday) and in our CIS Think Summer program. If you or someone you know might be right for the job, go here.