Meet Our June MVP: Crystal Harley
Hope for Miami's June MVP is Crystal Harley, a Miami native from the Liberty City neighborhood. She is the Program and Data Manager for the Ready4Life Program that Hope For Miami sponsors. Ready4Life serves 9th and 10th grade students that study or reside in Miami-Dade County and helps to develop their healthy relationship skills as well as their financial literacy skills. Crystal and her colleagues conduct their program in different schools and teach youth about setting healthy boundaries, dating violence, sex education, STD awareness, and proper communication.
When asked how she thinks her knowledge and interests equip her to better meet the needs of the population she serves, Crystal responded that her upbringing is the greatest factor. She further explained that since she grew up in urban communities, attended the same schools Ready4Life partners with, and has shared the experiences with the students she works with, she is able to relate closely to their circumstances and situations. Accordingly, she understands how the lack of resources affects the social-emotional development of students who grow up in challenging environments.
Crystal’s most encouraging aspect of working for Hope For Miami is her ability to work with the community. She explained that her passion is amplified when she goes back to her roots and works with at-risk youth. She recognized the students are a “direct reflection of me,” and that is why she feels so enthusiastic about providing them the necessary resources and support through Ready4Life.
Crystal believes that her efficient adaptation to her new role is what earned her the title of MVP. Prior to stepping into the Project Manager position, she was a Health Educator for Ready4Life. She welcomed her new position and responsibilities with plentiful motivation and open arms despite feeling overwhelmed at the beginning.
Crystal's most meaningful experience with Hope For Miami has been her involvement with Miami Youth Academy, a residential facility for young men who have been assessed as needing Substance Abuse Treatment Overlay Services by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice System. Within the cohort Ready4Life served, the young men connected with Crystal and shared their experiences with her. She explained how she used the fact that most people would consider this demographic to be more challenging as a motivator to do her job better.
Prior to her employment with Hope for Miami, Crystal worked as a juvenile probation officer. She conveyed that because of her title, it was rare for a teen to share their experiences. She expressed gratitude for her new position that allows her to work with these teens in a more personal way that allows for effective, open communication.
Apart from her wonderful work, Crystal loves to spend time with her friends and family and experience memorable moments. She is very positive and outgoing and says she is the life of the party. She is very happy and grateful to work with Hope For Miami, and says, “I am looking forward to seeing how the company grows, and how I grow with the company.”
Crystal, thanks for your heart for others, your service to them and for being part of the HFM team!