Employee of the Quarter | Kelley Darden

This quarter we would like to recognize Kelley Darden for Living the Mission of CHOICES. Kelley is relatable, calm, positive and brings a certain Zen to her clients.

Kelley is meeting young adults at a vulnerable time in their life, just as they have emancipated from foster care. She is eager and dedicated to see them through to independence. Kelley is well versed in community resources and is quick to connect her young adults to resources that will aid in their transition. The transition isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and she knows when to show the young adult some “tough love” and when to give them a gentle, kind word to encourage them.

Whatever it takes to help a young adult feel comfortable with this transition, Kelley is in 1000%. For example she will add on extra visits when they are close to discharge to make sure they have what they need. Kelley is very involved with the treatment team and engaged with the mental health therapists for her youth, reporting changes or improvement following sessions. She actively engages landlords, teachers, employers, and family for the young adult to model relationship building.

Kelley embodies our core values of commitment and teamwork. Her dedication to her young adults is unmatched. When met with a challenge she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work to help the youth push past it. She meets them where they are without judgement and treats them as an individual. However, she is not afraid to give them a dose of reality when needed.

If you spend a few minutes talking to Kelley about her role, you will quickly find out that she is well known in the neighborhoods of her young people. It is common for other teens and even adults to ask, “Ms. Kelley – is there a way that you can help me? How do I get to be in your program?” While the chances of them entering our program are slim, she will absolutely help a person with resources or finding a job. Her heart is HUGE, and she knows the difference she can make in the families that trust her to guide them.

We are thankful to have someone with so much compassion on our team, especially to guide our young adults in the Bridges program. She works in a fast paced, sometimes limiting, and important program to see youth onward to adulthood. Kelley is a model of what a Bridges Liaison should be and we are thankful to have her on our team to bring change to so many young adults.