Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Hosted by Danny Zampelli
April’s Leadership on Main featured Melissa Gerney, Detention Superintendent of Summit County Juvenile Court. Melissa joins Danny Zampelli, Retired Captain of the Akron Police Department, to discuss her path to at-risk youth leadership and how she is able to successfully lead and manage her team to effectively engage with the juveniles under their supervision. Melissa began her career with Oriana House after graduating from Kent State University. She began as a resident supervisor on the night shift and worked her way up the ranks before becoming a stay-at-home mom with her first child. After a couple years, Melissa returned to Oriana House. At that time it occurred to her that years of exposure to adults with mental health and drug abuse issues who continued to make poor decisions, left her feeling like she was not making an impact. As a mother of her own child, she instantly knew she could make a difference with youth and help make an impact on their lives so they don’t go on to continue making poor decisions as adults. Now, Melissa continues to find passion in her work with Summit County Juvenile Court and hopes to continue making a lasting impact in some capacity for years to come.
“Detention is a crazy beast. You never know what you’re walking into every day … It’s amazing that if you show them a little bit of empathy, a little bit of compassion, and if you listen to them—they only want to be heard. A lot of them have never had their voice heard.”