Education coordinator for Office on Youth has passion for working with kids

josh muttersJoshua Mutters has a passion for helping children work through their tough times.

“I feel like there’s a great need for people to work with children on improving on their deficiencies. For a lot of children, we’re the only help they can get,” said Mutters, the educational support coordinator for the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth.

Mutters oversees two Office on Youth programs. The Pathway program provides high school students who have been suspended for 10 or more days or who have been expelled from school the opportunity to work in a classroom and be positively engaged during a portion of regular school hours.

“Pathway is a good way for students facing these situations to not fall behind,” Mutters said. “When a student is suspended or expelled and thus out of school for a long period of time, they can easily fall behind, and it can be hard for them to catch up. We bridge that gap. We’re here to make sure that they can focus on completing their schoolwork so that they can stay on path.”

The One Child at a Time program is a free tutoring service offered to students in grades 9-12. Tutoring is offered in the evenings Monday-Thursday with volunteers matched up with students in need of tutoring help.

The OCAT program is currently searching for additional volunteer tutor help, Mutters said, to be able to accommodate the demand from the local school systems for tutoring services.

Mutters is finishing up his first month on the staff at the Office on Youth.

“Everyone at the Office on Youth really works together,” he said. “It’s a great team atmosphere. There are many different programs, but it’s one, cohesive unit.”

– Story by Chris Graham


Town hall meeting on dangers of marijuana use set for Dec. 8

The Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is hosting a town hall meeting on the dangers of marijuana use on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 6-8 p.m. at Wilson Middle School in Fishersville.

The event is being offered to raise awareness about the effects of marijuana on youth in our community. Several speakers will address local conditions, effects of marijuana on the brain and there will be local agencies on hand to provide information on how and where to get help.

For more information, contact Keri Jones at (540) 332-3806 or joneskd@ci.staunton.va.us.


Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth hosts Project Sticker Shock event in Staunton

The Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is hosting a Project Sticker Shock event on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 a.m. at its Staunton office, Nelson Street Teen Center, 900 Nelson Street, Staunton.

Project Sticker Shock is a community awareness program designed to prevent people 21 and older from purchasing alcohol and providing it to underage individuals. Participants involved in Project Sticker Shock visit partnering stores and place stickers with a warning message about the penalties for providing alcohol to anyone under 21 and using a fake ID to purchase alcohol.

By contributing in this event, citizens throughout the state are taking a proactive stand against underage drinking and its related problems. Project Sticker Shock also seeks to increase visibility and compliance of Virginia underage drinking laws.

For more information, contact Keri Jones at (540) 332-3806 or joneskd@ci.staunton.va.us.


Terri Hagenlocker: Retiring from Office on Youth after 20 years

hagenlockerIt’s dawning on Terri Hagenlocker that this time, it’s real. This is her fifth attempt at retiring from her job as finance manager at the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth, but with boxes in her office, the day is finally here.

“This is going to be hard. This is my second family,” said Hagenlocker, the finance manager at the Office on Youth since 2005.

Hagenlocker, whose retirement is effective March 1, has been at the Office on Youth since 1995. She was hired as a secretary in what was then a small office.

“When I came to work here, there were only four people in the office, and there was only one computer that we all shared,” recalled Hagenlocker, adding that at the time she took the job, she didn’t even know how to use a computer.

She had to take a computer class as a precondition for getting the job, and ran into a problem when the class that she signed up for was canceled for lack of interest.

“I was scared to death that I wouldn’t get the job,” said Hagenlocker, but she was able to do enough to get by until computers had become second nature.

When former executive director Carol Blair restructured the Office on Youth in 2005, she created the finance manager position to manage the budget for the growing organization, which sprung from a small office across the street from city hall into a regional government agency with 30 employees serving Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.

“When you’re in charge of a budget that’s as much as a million dollars, you’re responsible for every penny coming and going. I’m the one that the city auditors come to, the grant auditors come to. I’m very meticulous about what I do. You have to be that way in this job,” Hagenlocker said.

The office’s “mother hen” isn’t the type to punch a clock. “Some people can do that, but I am totally the opposite. I love coming to work,” Hagenlocker said. “I love being with my other family. In 20 years, I’ve gotten to know so many people. It feels like I’ve gotten to know everybody in the city, coming and going. You work hand in hand with so many good people in city government. They’re people I’ll stay in touch with after I leave.”

But there is that sad part of the story to deal with. As much as she is looking forward to retirement, spending time with her grandchildren, having more time to work out at the Waynesboro Family YMCA, to travel to see more lighthouses, the Office on Youth is family.

“I guess this time, I’m really coming,” Hagenlocker said.

– Story by Chris Graham