Shae Pepper

Global Youth Action ShaeWhat exactly is your job?

Professional Youth Worker and Executive Director of GYA. Which means I do ALL THE THINGS. Not everything – I have a great team of staff and volunteers to help – but I have to be ready to do anything at anytime for the organization.

I can be found cleaning toilets with GYA Works, playing kickball, providing transport to GYA participants, staring blankly at Little Free Library plans (construction really isn’t my gifting), having partner meetings and doing paperwork… lots and lots of paperwork.

Why do you do what you do?

I love it. I’m part creative extrovert that loves being with individual and groups of young people training and developing them, sharing ideas and generally having a laugh.

I’m also part organizational and administrative nerd who enjoys writing, reading and developing new systems for more efficient youth work support and provision which I hope flows over into the operations of GYA.

What is your experience?

I have been a Professional Youth Worker for ten years and a Volunteer Youth Worker for eleven years. I also have a Master’s in Youth Work and Community Development. I have worked with young people from ages 8-21 in England, Rwanda, the USA and Thailand and I have trained youth workers in England, the USA and Rwanda.

Who do you work with?

Anyone and everyone who wants help or support. I’ve worked with young people from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds; most from socially-excluded groups such as young offenders, young parents and youth in foster care.

What are your qualifications?

  • A Master’s Degree in Youth Work and Community Development with JNC Level 3 qualification from DeMontfort University in Leicester, England
  • NVQ Level 3 in Youth Work from the Life Train Trust in Guildford, England
  • Certificate of Supervision Studies (Level 2) from Christ Church Canterbury, England
  • 10 years experience as  Professional Youth Worker and 11 years experience as a Volunteer Youth Worker

What is your favorite…?

Meal: Pasta Fagioli, breadsticks and salad from the Olive Garden

Book: So many to choose from, I can’t just choose one… The Harry Potter Series, Phillipa Gregory’s Tudor Books, Ethan Frome, The Awakening, Hunger Games Trilogy, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series, Piggle, The Day the Crayons Quit, Go Dog Go, If I Ran the Circus and Fox in Sox are a few (other than Youth Work, reading is my best thing)

Movie: Dead Poets Society (A cool teacher inspiring misfits to be free-thinking revolutionaries? Sounds about right!)

Color: Yellow

Animal: Mountain Gorillas (and my little dog Truffles – if we spend any time together you can expect to hear about her)

Ice cream: Chocolate fudge brownie batter from Cold Stone Creamery with brownie, cookie dough and fudge mixed in

Job (other than youth worker): Of jobs I’ve had its a three-way tie between Johnny Rockets Server, Master Bear Builder at Build-a-Bear Workshop and Christmas Tree Lot Worker. Of a job I’ve never done I’d want to be a tour guide, particularly if it involves any kind of dressing up or historical re-enactment.

Youth Work Memory: Minibus/van journeys with the music cranked up and the windows down dancing and singing at the top of our lungs and being in a room with youth workers from all across Kigali, Rwanda who were passionate about helping serve the homeless young people of the city.