Authored by: Sonja Kania, Chief Talent & Social Capital Officer
Debbie Hunkins has been a part of the Norris team for over 40 years. But if you ask Debbie, she would say she’s been part of the Norris family for over 40 years. Debbie has worked all different shifts and been in various roles, from Youth Care Worker and Supervisor, to her current role as 3rd Shift Coordinator in our Residential Services Program. Over these 40 years Debbie has seen a lot of different changes at Norris, including a lot of great staff and a lot of meaningful connections. When asked to talk about her own experience at Norris, Debbie immediately started talking about many of the staff she’s worked with over the years and how everyone has been so creative and wonderful with the kids living at Norris. Debbie emphasized that “this work is not about just one person, but it’s really a group effort.”
Debbie spends most of her time as 3rd Shift Coordinator making sure everything is running smoothly on campus at night, including making sure the youth are safe and getting the sleep they need. However, Debbie also enjoys being there for the youth at 2:00 a.m. when they cannot sleep and just need a listening ear. Debbie recognizes that often times the youth are winding down from a busy day and falling asleep may be difficult and it’s really important to make sure they feel supported and heard, even if it’s the middle of the night. Debbie truly enjoys making the kids smile and really tries to take extra time to be patient and understanding with them, even if they’re upset. Debbie was recently recognized by many of her colleagues for all of the work that she does going above and beyond for the youth staying on campus. Debbie truly wants to make sure every kid gets to have a homelike experience whenever possible. For example, Debbie has been known to bake muffins in the middle of the night so when the youth wake up they have fresh muffins! Debbie also took the lead last year volunteering at a local pumpkin farm so the youth could have pumpkins during Halloween. Debbie isn’t just looking out for the youth but she also takes time to recognize her colleagues; whether it’s through candy in their mailbox with a nice little note or snacks at a meeting, Debbie wants everyone to feel appreciated and valued for their hard work. Debbie truly is a team player and we’re grateful for her continued commitment to Norris.
Congratulations Debbie!! And THANK YOU for helping to make Norris as homelike as possible for the boys staying on campus! Stay tuned for more Employee Spotlights in the coming months!