Finding Purpose Through Mentorship
From financial services and banking to restaurant management, volleyball coaching, and marketing consultation, Tennekah Williams has a diverse range of work experience. Throughout her career, one of her biggest passions has always been working with young people.
After a friend told her about a career opportunity within Milton Hershey School’s Transitional Living (TL) program, where she could guide and mentor high school seniors, Tennekah was immediately interested.
“I had always been informally or formally mentoring students, and I enjoyed that since I was in college,” she said. “When I found out about this [job], I thought it was such a great opportunity to get involved with young people and be a mentor.”
Tennekah learned that Milton Hershey School, a home and school for more than 2,000 students from low-income backgrounds, designed the Transitional Living program to give high school seniors an intentional setting where they could prepare for their lives after graduation by living in apartment-style homes.
She joined the team as a Transitional Living Assistant (TLA) and began supporting more than 20 high school seniors as they learned about money management, daily living, healthy relationships, responsible decision-making, and other life skills.
“Being able to operate independently, while still having boundaries and guidelines, is one of the most beneficial skills our students are learning,” she explained.
Now, six years into her employment at MHS, Tennekah serves as the Transitional Living Area Supervisor where her responsibilities include engaging with both students and staff. Along with providing support to students, she also coaches and develops staff and facilitates trainings.
In the midst of her daily responsibilities, building long-lasting relationships with students and sharing their positive energy is one of her favorite parts of the job.
“When I show up for an event and I get to enjoy students’ company and see them when they’re joyful and happy, it’s so rewarding,” she said.
Tennekah also stays in touch with MHS graduates and continues to encourage and challenge them once they enter the workforce or college.
“I like this age group because you can challenge them. They get it. Sometimes, it’s not right away but they understand enough of what you’re trying to reach them,” she shared. “There’s also an opportunity to witness some of their growth. Getting to seem them grow and mature has been such a privilege.”