Lashonda Chavis leads the team of four as the Director of Admissions at Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services. As a Miami native, she started at the agency 20 years ago after graduating from Florida International University. Her passion and drive to impact lives in the community still holds true more than two decades later.
The Admissions Department is the first line of contact for families or individuals in the community seeking help with youth who are experiencing issues like homelessness, trouble with school, etc.
“This is where families can come when they are having a crisis with their youth,” said Chavis. “We provide service for youth that are 6 to 17.”
Before a child is admitted into the Miami Bridge Central shelter, a member from the admissions department meets with each child and parent and begins the intake process, educating each family on the resources that are readily available.
A few of the programs at Miami Bridge, include intensive home services, aftercare planning, parenting classes, individual and family counseling, mentoring and more. All in an effort to improve the parent to youth relationship and to keep the child in line with their goals.
"Every time you touch a family... that is the joy that this job brings me, because you are solving the crisis at hand,” said Chavis. “So, anything that we are able to do to touch or resolve the issues it brings me joy.”
The Admissions Department is open from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Also, employees work on-call 24/7, to make themselves available to the community.
Miami Bridge has served over 409 families this school year. Although the shelter is open 24/7, stepping outside of the building and into the community is pivotal. Within the past three months, admissions staff participated in 16 outreach events.
“We all work as a team within the agency,” said Chavis. “Every staff member goes out into the community and spreads the word about Miami Bridge; we take turns to go to different events.”
For many, Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services is a saving grace and staple in the community. Chavis enjoys the family atmosphere at Miami Bridge and working together as a team.
She will be celebrating her 21st anniversary with Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services on August 24th.