The Highland Center Welcomes New Programs Manager and Youth Advocate
The Highland Center has welcomed a new employee to work with Highland County’s youth and local businesses. Jessica Durovy is the new Programs Manager and Youth Advocate for the county. She spoke with Allegheny Mountain Radio about her background, current role and future.
Ms. Durovy says, “Primarily, right now, I’m running the Youth Employment Program throughout the summer and just kind of being an advocate for them overall, like I was talking with someone today about it, and it’s good to have someone who doesn’t know them and doesn’t know how they’ve grown up and who they are in school and those sorts of things, so they’re totally clean slate with me, and they’re all equal to me.”
Though the Youth Employment Program had only been running for two days at the time of our interview, Ms. Durovy had a positive report. She continues, “We had about twenty applicants. Fifteen ended up working out, and there’s thirteen work sites. So far, everyone seems to be happy with where they’re at, and the work sites seem to be happy to have them, and I’ve heard only good things.”
Ms. Durovy comes to Highland County with applicable experience for the position, with recent years spent in New York City. “I was in Brooklyn during grad school, and I was there for four years for International Affairs and Non-profit Management at The New School in Manhattan, and then my family lives in Charlottesville, so after grad school, I was kind of done with New York and didn’t really know what to do, so my parents convinced me to come to Charlottesville, and I was there for about six months working at a non-profit and also doing some substitute teaching, and I just saw this online, and I had never heard of Monterey, and I Googled Monterey, and I was like, ‘Well that would be different.’ And so I just shot them my résumé and cover letter, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll probably never hear anything,’ and then I did, and now I’m here,” she says with a laugh. “And I’ve always kind of done either very rural or very urban, ‘cause I did Peace Corps for a while, and when I applied to this position, part of the reason I wanted to is ‘cause at the bottom it said, ‘Service volunteers encouraged to apply,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really know how Peace Corps would be applicable,’ and then I got here, and I was like, ‘It is more than you would think.’ Like, my apartment is nicer, and I have running water, and there’s WiFi, and everyone speaks English, but just the constantly being in communication with people and the community development aspect and the being aware of how you’re perceived in the community, those things are very similar to Peace Corps.”
Ms. Durovy elaborated on why her work in the role is important and relevant in the community. “It’s not really just a job at a nonprofit in a town. It’s definitely like a lifestyle coming here and you’re a part of something bigger than just a job at a place. This is something that keeps the community running, and it’s something I’m happy to a be a part of and happy to learn something new and be a part of something different, ‘cause I have almost no history in agriculture and I kind of told them that in my interview. I was like, ‘I don’t know these things, but I’m excited to learn about them.’ And so, I think that’s why, to bring it back, that’s why it’s important is it just keeps the place going. My personal goals are just to learn more about everyone and be a bigger part of the community.”
Ms. Durovy will eventually be overseeing the Youth Philanthropy Program, business incubation programming, and local foods programming. She can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 540-468-1922.