We are excited to welcome Miriam Prichard as our new Associate Director. Until now, Miriam has been a valued volunteer, but she recently assumed the position of Associate Director. We look forward to what Miriam can do to make theplace2b a stronger program that will improve the lives of the students we serve.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in DeWitt, Iowa where my parents were both high school teachers. They also still run the movie theater in town. After high school, I took a whirlwind tour of Midwest colleges and earned a Bachelor’s in General Studies from The Franciscan University of the Prairies. I then went to Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, to pursue a Master’s in Divinity. It was through my internship there as a chaplain at the juvenile detention centers in St. Louis that I realized my calling in working with kids who are considered at-risk. I left St. Louis and moved back to DeWitt. I completed my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Western Illinois University in July of 2011.
What do you like most about working at theplace2b?
I love seeing the kids grow in small ways. In the seven months I’ve been a volunteer, I’ve watched the kids become more open with their own stories and more trusting of the adults and one another.
What are some future changes/improvements you would like to see at theplace2b?
We need to welcome more kids at theplace2b. We have great resources for the kids that will make a big difference in the lives of kids we serve.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Right now I’m spending a lot of free time knitting. It’s something I’ve done for the past ten years, but I am working on a new project with a deadline. I like to play the piano. I also spend a lot of time with my family and friends.
Tell us about some high points in your life so far.
My life has been a journey filled with unexpected adventures and blessings. While living in St. Louis, I began rock climbing as a favor to a friend and ended up loving it. Getting to the top of the wall was, and still is, one of my proudest moments. It was also in St. Louis, as a seminary student, that I experienced how powerful community can be. As a result, I have worked intentionally to build strong relationships with my friends and family. These relationships are definitely the best part of my life. Graduating with my Master’s degree is a high point in my life as well because it allows me to do the kind of work I love.
Compare your teen life to the lives of the teens we work with at theplace2b.
Unlike some of our kids at theplace2b, my basic needs were always met when I was growing up. However, like a lot of our kids, I struggled emotionally and did not fit in well with my peers. Thank goodness the adage about high school being the best time of a person’s life is a fallacy. My life continues to get better the older I get, and I try to impress on the kids that the lives they have now do not have to be the lives they always lead. With age comes more autonomy, and I spend time talking with the kids about making decisions now that will help them get to the places they want to be in the future.
Is there anything more you would like to share?
I am thrilled to be a part of the leadership at theplace2b. I have been amazed from the beginning at the dedication of the staff and volunteers.