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Staff Spotlight: Emily Wills

March 15

Fund Development Coordinator Emily Wills joined the organization just as COVID-19 hit our area. It’s been quite a unique two years for the organization and for Emily, and we’re grateful to have her on our team.

Q1: When did you start working with Wisconsin Youth Company and what has been your favorite memory so far?

My first day was March 16th, 2020 — a day most people are unlikely to forget! I came into the office and went to an all staff meeting where we were all told to go home. That’s the day COVID-19 shut everything down. Despite the challenges, I feel so lucky to be part of this organization — it’s hard to pick a favorite memory!

One thing I have loved is the connection and trust we have built as a team over the past two years. Any time I get to laugh with a co-worker is my favorite time.

Q2: What is the most important thing that you learned as a child that still applies today?

I think one of the biggest lessons I learned as a child was how important it is to reach out to others. I remember seeing other kids by themselves on the playground and instead of playing alone, I would go up to them and ask them to play with me. Recognizing someone else’s needs and being able and willing to help is a lesson I still really value.

Q3: Who was a mentor that you looked up to when you were younger? Why did you look up to them?

I really looked up to my teachers. I especially loved when we had projects that incorporated some creative element. I loved drawing different biomes, or making tiny dioramas out of scenes from a book we were reading. Any educator who was able to inspire curiosity and get me to really invest in my own learning still inspires me!

Q4: What is your favorite part about working with kids?

I don’t get to work with kids much in my role, but I love getting to see pictures of their art projects and towers built out of magna-tiles! When I am needed as a sub in programs, I love seeing their interactions with each other and watching them learn new skills as they play. It’s a good reminder about how much each person has to learn! How do you navigate arguments with friends? What does a good compromise look like? How do I hop back into the game after a fall? Kids’ resilience is inspiring!

Say “hi” to Emily next time you see her!