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Meet Chris Jones

meet chris jones

Christopher Jones is a Crew Leader with the Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) MyCityBC program. MyCityBC is a summer program that provides disadvantaged youth with a paid work experience. The high school-aged students work on job sites, attend educational workshops and learn valuable job skills to prepare them for the work force.

Chris previously worked at Youth Builder Battle Creek and has been a case manager in substance abuse rehabilitation facilities.

a culture of vitality

As a crew leader during the summer program, Chris supervised the youth on the job site and assigned them tasks to complete. He also built relationships and served as a mentor to the teens.

“I’ve always had a passion to educate the youth about the negative consequences that are associated with crime, drugs and violence, but I also have a passion for them to improve their lives,” Chris said.

That passion comes from the mistakes Chris has made in his past. He talks openly about struggling with a drug addiction when he was young and how it led him to a life of crime. Chris spent 12 years in prison. During that time, he did a lot of self-reflection and knew he wanted to turn his life around. While incarcerated, he took a course to become certified as a substance abuse counselor.

Chris hasn’t let his past hold him back. Since being released from prison, he has been on a mission to help others. He wants to guide the young people in our community in the right direction.

Chris believes in meeting students where they are. He uses humor and open dialogue to relate to them and encourages them along the way. He teaches the students to work hard but to also have fun!

keep the momentum going

Although the program is finished for this year, Chris would love to return to work with the MyCityBC program next summer. He would like to see the program expand so that more youth can get the chance to experience everything MyCityBC has to offer. He believes these youth are the future and that it’s important to guide them on the right path now so they can grow up to contribute positively to their community.

the best part

“My reward is seeing them succeed,” he said. Chris helps the students set attainable goals and is happy to be a part of creating a foundation for them to grow inside and outside of the program.

Chris was born and raised in Battle Creek. He says he loves living here and the best part of the community is the opportunities and the variety of things to do around the city. He’s excited for all the improvements coming to the downtown area.

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Learn more about how to nominate someone today. Make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Brittany Sheehy, Alesia Walsh, and so many more!

How to Balance School and a Part-Time Job

School is back in session, which means that everyone’s schedules are getting shifted around. If you were working a summer job, maybe you’ve shifted your hours to make room for school. If not, maybe you’re starting to look around for a job during the school year.

Working during the year has its perks, but it can also get overwhelming, if you aren’t prepared. Our team put together some tips on how to balance your schoolwork and your paid work, all without driving you crazy before the next semester.

start small

If you can, work up to several hours a week. Try speaking with your employer to see if you can start off working only a couple of hours a week and work your way up. Develop a plan with them on how and when you’re ready to take on more until you’ve reached the ideal amount. That way, you can adjust to the added workload as you go.

communicate

Make sure to tell your family or loved ones about your part-time job. Keep them informed about your schedule, so they can help you keep an eye out for any would-be conflicts. Plus, it’s always easier to get through a busy time if you have people around to help you.

plan ahead

Although the school year is just starting, it’s only a matter of time before midterms and finals pop up. Find out what your exam schedules will be and let your employer know. Then, if you need time to study, make sure to let your job know far in advance so that they can plan around your absence. That way you aren’t getting called in last minute, and your boss feels confident that everything is under control.

use your time

When you have a full schedule, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, try to figure out where you can carve out chunks of time for yourself. If you work a job with slow periods, ask your boss about working on schoolwork when there are no customers. Bring assignments with you to work on during your break. The more you can get done when your brain is in work mode, the more time you’ll have to unwind later.

know your limits

At the end of the day, you’re human, just like the rest of us. While getting a great education and making money are both incredibly important, sometimes life can feel overwhelming. If that happens, have a serious discussion with your family about how you can rearrange your schedule while still meeting your goals. Then, when you have a solution figured out, approach your boss about it. Remember: it’s better to bring a solution than a problem.

take care of yourself

Even if you follow all of the steps in this blog, you won’t succeed unless you make sure that you’re doing okay. Make sure to get good restorative sleep at night, eat regular meals, and drink water whenever you can. If you aren’t feeling well, contact your boss about taking a sick day or a mental health day. If you take care of yourself today, it’ll make tomorrow and the day after better and better.

BCVision is moving Battle Creek forward by providing our students with resources to help them get the most out of their education. Learn more about our initiatives and find out how you can get involved by reaching out to a team member. We look forward to sharing our vision for Battle Creek with you.

Providing Opportunities with the MyCityBC Program

MyCityBC is a summer program that provides disadvantaged youth with a paid work experience. The high school aged students work on job sites, attend educational workshops and learn valuable job skills to prepare them for the work force.

helping students succeed

This summer, most of the students worked on landscaping projects for various community properties. They also helped set up and tear down for community events. Other students worked on childcare sites, in customer service positions and as tutors for middle school students. On the job sites, Crew Leaders assigned tasks and mentored the teens throughout the summer.

When they weren’t on the work sites, the students attended career training workshops. The Career Trainers taught students financial literacy, interview skills, resume building, and how to be professional in a work environment. These lessons supported the goal of the program, which is to provide youth with necessary skills to become good employees.

life skills

Although every year, the students gain valuable job skills to prepare them for the work force, this program also provides the students with transferable life skills. The students can then take these skills back home to their families and classrooms.

During this year’s program, the students learned the importance of being punctual, maintaining a positive attitude, working as a part of team and building relationships in the community and in a professional setting. Their career trainers helped coach them through problem solving and conflict resolution so that they will be able to take on future obstacles that may come their way and so they can handle issues in a healthy way.

the best part

The impact of this program is evident the moment you speak to one of the students. They enjoyed the work they were doing. Plus, by learning job skills, they learned more about themselves.

Antoinette Parker, a 10th grader at Battle Creek Central, said the program taught her about work ethic. “[I learned] how to actually fill out an application. I also learned about myself, and that I have a really good work ethic and can work hard. This program taught me how hard I could work.”

Parker says she would like to give back to the program in the future. “When I grow up, I want to own my own business. I also want to help programs like these because I feel like they are really good. MyCityBC helped me so much.”

If you know a student who would like to participate in the MyCityBC summer program, please click here to visit the website.

Meet Brittany Sheehy, Our September “Get Caught” Recipient

BCVision is challenging community members to “Get Caught” moving Battle Creek forward through job creation and training, talent development, and community vitalization.

meet brittany sheehy

Brittany Sheehy is a Career Trainer with the Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) MyCityBC program. MyCityBC is a summer program that provides disadvantaged youth with a paid work experience. These high-school-aged students work on job sites, attend educational workshops and learn valuable job skills to prepare them for the work force.

Outside the program, Brittany has spent eight years as a special education teacher at the middle school and high school level. She is also a certified school counselor.

creating a culture of vitality

Brittany believes it’s important for the students to gain soft skills along with job skills. In her role as a career trainer, Brittany teaches students the importance of being punctual, maintaining a positive attitude, working as a part of a team, and building relationships in the community and in a professional setting.

In addition, she coaches students through problem solving and conflict resolution. She believes this experience will provide them with transferable life skills that they can take back home to their families and to their classrooms.

Brittany shares, “This is kind of a seed planting opportunity, because these are the people that are going to be running our community in five to ten years.”

keeping the momentum going

Brittany says the program is very future-focused. The program helps students learn about themselves on a deeper level because it enables them to discover their strengths and weaknesses and explore different career paths that will be fulfilling to them as a person. She encourages students to self-reflect and think about how their current actions will affect their future.

Brittany hopes the relationships the students are developing with the involved community members and businesses now encourages them to make an impact when they officially join the workforce. The MyCityBC program has grown rapidly in the last year and Brittany wants to see that continue in Battle Creek. She’s always thinking of adjustments that can be made to expand the program and make a bigger impact on more students. She believes the program really opens doors and gives students an experience they may not have had otherwise.

the best part

Brittany shares that she “likes when the kids have ‘ah-ha’ moments,” and that seeing the growth the students are making is the best part for her. She’s seen the students become more motivated and independent as they learn more about themselves and make connections with their peers and crew leaders.

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Learn more about how to nominate someone today. While you’re at it, make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Alesia Walsh, Israel Flores, and so many more!

Our International SummerFest 2019 Recap

Were you at International SummerFest 2019? If not, it was a blast! Our team had a great time talking with community members, watching amazing shows, playing exciting games, and tasting some delicious offerings from local vendors. All in all, it was a wonderful way to get acquainted with some of the cultures that make up Battle Creek’s community.

Our team has put together some of our favorite parts of International SummerFest. Keep reading to learn all about this awesome event.

a fresh approach

Although this was the 41st year of International SummerFest, it was the first time that the festival was held at Kellogg Community College. The change in scenery helped to keep even long-time visitors engaged and excited.

No matter where guests stood, the smell of the delicious festival food and the sound of outstanding performances tantalized their senses. It’s no wonder why, because the vendors, performers, and participants created a magical event.

delicious, worldly dishes

The vendors at International SummerFest came prepared to serve their best foods from around the world.

Visitors got to try dishes from vendors like Shwe Mandalay, Umami Ramen, Simply Sensational Sweets, The Japan Club, and more. Each of these showcased the abilities of their staffs, but also the tastes of cultures that make up Battle Creek’s community. In fact, many dishes were so popular that several vendors sold out!

fun from around the world

Many of the cultural organizations around Battle Creek hosted games for the festivalgoers to enjoy.

Attendees could play a number of different games, including trivia with BCPride, balloon pop with VOCES, coloring with CIR, hop-scotch with Elite Dance, and fans from Delta Theta Sigma Sorority Inc. Battle Creek Alumnae Chapter.

Visitors could play to win prizes from many of these events. Plus, members from the Burma Center translated fairgoers’ names into Burmese throughout the festival. All in all, there was fun to be had throughout the event.

meaningful performances

The entertainment at this year’s International SummerFest focused on traditional dances, songs, and more from around the world. Guests got to enjoy acts like Okinawa Taiko Drummers, Mariachi songs, Elconcilio children dancers, and more.

Several local organizations organized their own performances, too. The Burma Center performed the Bamboo Dance and New Harvest Africa Church also showcased a dance.

The Japan Club, which was the founding organization of International SummerFest, invited festivalgoers to learn the Bon Dance along with them. People that represented cultures from around the world were all brought together in this moment. It was a sight to behold.

We’re honored to be a part of a community that loves learning about and uplifting each other. This year’s festival was an amazing experience for the 2,000 visitors, vendors, performers, and volunteers who were involved. We can’t wait for next year!

For those that dropped off your coupons to be entered to win all of our amazing prizes, make sure to like and check our Facebook page on Friday, August 23 to find out if you are a winner!

Our team is dedicated to moving Battle Creek forward and making it a community where everyone can live, work, and play. Do you want to help us? Reach out to a team member today.

Back-to-School Necessities

School bells ringing, kids playing on the playground, book pages being flipped…it’s the sound of a new school year in Battle Creek! As we get closer to the start of the year, we want to make sure that your child feels supported. Schooling can be tough, but with your support, the children of Battle Creek can achieve great things.

Our team wants to help every student in our city succeed this year. That’s why we’ve put together a list of back-to-school necessities to help your child start the school year off right.

sticky notes

Grab a pad of sticky notes and put them in your student’s backpack. Then, encourage your child to write an encouraging note to a friend, classmate, or teacher. Your kid can write their message on a sticky note and leave it on a desk or locker. Your child can help spread positivity throughout the school, one sticky note at a time!

crosswalk safety

It’s essential to cross safely at a crosswalk, even during the back-to-school buzz of activity. Make sure you and your child follow the crossing guard’s instructions and that you always look both ways before crossing. Bonus tip: if your student rides the school bus, teach them to never cross in front of or behind the bus after exiting. They should wait for the bus to leave before they start walking across the street!

diy pencil case

This easy-to-make, do-it-yourself pencil case is not only a great way to store school supplies but also a unique way for your child to express themselves. Purchase a thick fabric with a pattern or color that your kid loves and cut it into a 10” by 12” rectangle. Then grab some scissors, fabric glue, and a 9” zipper. From there, work with your student to follow these easy, no-sew instructions.

pack healthy snacks

What’s the final back-to-school necessity for the upcoming school year? Healthy snacks. We love celery sticks loaded with peanut butter (make sure to check with your child’s classroom for any peanut allergies or restrictions), sliced carrots, and granola, just to name a few. Make sure to slide an ice pack into your child’s lunchbox to keep the food fresh throughout the day!

The BCVision team is moving Battle Creek forward by providing our students with the resources to help them get the best start with their education. Learn more about our initiatives and find out how you can get involved by visiting our website or by reaching out to a team member. We look forward to sharing our vision for Battle Creek with you.

Meet Alesia Walsh, Our August “Get Caught” Recipient

BCVision is challenging community members to “Get Caught” moving Battle Creek forward through job creation and training, talent development, and community vitalization.

meet alesia walsh

Alesia Walsh is a Career Trainer with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) at MyCITY BC. MyCITY BC is a summer program that provides disadvantaged youth with a paid work experience. High school-aged students apply for the internship. Participants are randomly selected to work on job sites, attend educational workshops and learn valuable job skills that prepare them for the work force.


Outside of the program, Alesia is an English teacher. She’s worked with eighth graders for several years, but this upcoming school year, she’ll be teaching ninth grade.

creating a culture of vitality

In her role as career trainer, Alesia teaches students financial literacy, interview skills, resume building, and how to be professional in a work environment. She helps to coach them through problem solving and conflict resolution.


Alesia believes the MyCITY BC program helps prepare the students to become good em-ployees. More importantly, she also believes the program helps them to become good peo-ple who will contribute positively to our community and economy.


As a child, Alesia experienced trauma that shaped her life. She beat the odds to become the teacher and career trainer she is today. Alesia believes it’s important for her to help students overcome trauma and challenges they may have faced and to help them succeed as well.
She wants students to know, “No matter what’s happened to you, if you want it badly enough, it can happen. That’s the mark that I want to leave on students… if I can do it, you’ll be able to do it, too.”

the best part

Alesia has lived in Battle Creek for fifteen years, and the summer program has allowed her to work in the heart of downtown. She enjoys connecting with students and feeling like she’s a part of the community as well. Alesia says the best part of it all is really getting to know the students and seeing them take pride in the work they do.


Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Learn more about how to nominate someone today. While you’re at it, make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Israel Flores, Tyler Gilland, and so many more!