Former SCI AmeriCorps Member Jen Ward, now Director of Milford Youth Center

Jennifer Ward, Director of the Milford Youth Center, is a shining example of an SCI AmeriCorps member turned advocate for youth and community. As Director, Jen has turned the center into a safe environment for kids, fostering self-esteem, character, and a sense of community.

Jen's career began at Stonehill College where she was often encouraged to volunteer. She envisioned doing some type of service work after graduation, thus joining SCI AmeriCorps as a Youth Leadership Coordinator in Milford. She served with the Juvenile Advocacy Group (JAG), which is an adult coalition that prevents at-risk behavior in youth. Jen ended up serving two years with SCI AmeriCorps and spent much of her time at the Milford Youth Center, remaining as a volunteer in their after-school program despite having another full-time job.

Jen's transition to Director of the center came after dedicating two years as both Program Coordinator and then Assistant Director. Her direction of the Milford Youth Center has transformed it drastically, from a space with little-to-no budget that was falling apart, to the beautifully renovated center that stands there today. Not only was Jen key to the $5.1 million renovation, but she has also proved indispensable in changing the perception of the center into a positive one. She continues to advocate for the youth of Milford, helping them get involved in their community with the goal of encouraging the town to see the bigger picture - that the Milford Youth Center is a safe space for kids who might not have anywhere else to go.

Jen has been working with the Milford Youth Center in some capacity for the past six years. She has taken her experience as an SCI AmeriCorps member and transformed it into what she considers to be the most ideal job for her. "This place, when you walk in, it's very hard to leave. I get to work with great people. I feel very lucky to have this job."