TeenWorks Empowers Local Teens to Achieve Excellence

Kari Wissel is pictured with some of the Muncie teens TeenWorks serves. Photo providedKari Wissel is pictured with some of the Muncie teens TeenWorks serves. Photo provided

By: Emily Hitchcock—

Muncie, IN— TeenWorks is excited to introduce their new regional director for Muncie and Delaware County, Kari Wissel.

TeenWorks empowers teens to achieve excellence in career, community, and college through unique programming, professional development and individualized post-secondary success planning. “We are so excited to have Kari in this role. Her vast skill set in programming and community engagement will help so many teens in the Muncie community,” says president and CEO, Nick Duvall. Kari plans to expand programming, collaborate with other youth serving organizations, and cultivate new partners during her first year on the TeenWorks team.

One of Kari’s responsibilities is to plan and execute the annual summer program offered by TeenWorks. This program employs sixty Delaware County teens who are paired with a local non-profit organization. Worksite partners for 2020 include Red-Tail Conservancy, Minnetrista, Muncie Animal Shelter, Second Harvest Food Bank, Muncie Community Schools, and most recently Inside Out. Through this program, students develop the soft skills necessary for success in their first employment experience such as how to work as part of a team, accountability, and showing up on time. Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior is eligible to apply for the summer program and can do so at www.teenworks.org/apply.

Applications are being accepted from now until February 14th for the 6-week program beginning on June 3rd. Duvall says, “Having Kari lead the program in the area is a huge win for the organization and the teens of East Central Indiana. Having a person so invested in the area will allow us to create great local partnerships, amazing job opportunities and a person who is extremely invested in the teens we serve in the region.” Wissel’s hope for working with students is to foster valuable cultural experiences, build their professionalism, and work alongside them to prepare for life after graduation. Aside from the summer program, Wissel manages the year round Pro program, local community outreach, and Delaware County development efforts.

When speaking about her motivation to work with these young people, Wissel said, “My job is to make sure each TeenWorks student has a plan and knows which steps to take to get to the first day of their professional job, apprenticeship, or post education institute after graduation. Helping them remove barriers and navigate the process, makes a huge difference and truly builds their confidence.

“TeenWorks has plans this year to partner with Purdue Polytechnic, Ivy Tech Community College, Ball State University, and several training programs to expose students to careers that can set them on the right tract for self-sustainability,” says Wissel. These programs are possible by the generous support of the Ball Brothers Foundation, the Community Foundation, George and Francis Ball Foundation, and local corporate partnerships.

Following her graduation from Ball State University, Wissel began her Muncie career at the YWCA Central Indiana as the Development and Marketing Director. Before joining the TeenWorks team in August, she was the Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Advancement of Digital Marketing and Analytics (CADMA) in the Miller College of Business. She serves on the board of directors for the YWCA Central Indiana, Cornerstone Center for the Arts, and CADMA, the Cardinal Greenway Events and Fundraising Committee, as well as being an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce. In 2018 she was named one of Muncie’s 20 Under 40. Now she is working on her graduate degree in Emerging Media Design and Development.

Visit www.teenworks.org to learn more about their programs and contact kwissel@teenworks.org on ways you can support. Connect with TeenWorks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to follow current events.