Lisa Jackson is a youth assistant at the Alternative High School in Rush- Henrietta. She was interviewed by Karen Lee Arthmann, president of the paraprofessionals chapter of the Rush- Henrietta Employees Association who is also a NYSUT SRP at-large director. Says Arthmann, "Lisa is an invaluable asset to our district and I'm so proud to call her my friend and colleague."
Tell us about your job as a youth assistant and why you love what you do.
I am a school security guard who wears many hats. I make sure the students have a safe and secure place to receive their education. My co-workers depend on me to maintain a safe and secure place in which to work. I do it every day, with a smile.
Working within an alternative setting can be difficult for others, but this is my calling. I am a natural at it. I love working with students who are "a little different" from others with their learning capabilities. It's definitely not the pay that's keeping me here, but I have good benefits. I represent stability and a positive force in the students' lives, not to mention, I AM classroom management.
Just my presence alone speaks volumes.
How are you involved with your union?
My union involvement includes attending meetings where I ask questions. I vote in our union elections for our district officials. I am blessed with a wonderful representative, Karen, who gets the job done. She makes my involvement easy because she helps us take care of everything.
Tell us how you make a difference.
I make a difference just by coming to work every day. Most of the students I work with come from low-income, broken homes, abusive backgrounds and with a history of drug involvement.
My being there gives them stability. I lead by example with good grooming and a positive outlook on every situation. The students look up to me as their role model, so I have to be on my best behavior because they are watching.
How are you involved in your community? Any hobbies?
My father owns a barbershop in a crime- and poverty-infested area in the City of Rochester. As a family, we maintain a positive atmosphere, upstanding citizenship and give our customers a reasonable, affordable price. Showing compassion for people with a few kind words of encouragement goes a long way.
My favorite hobby right now is catering to my 3-year-old granddaughter. Going to parks, Chuck E. Cheese and bouncing on trampolines is so much fun. I'm just enjoying life with her every chance I get. I believe in being accepting of whatever comes your way and making the best of it always, whether it's at home, work or play.