There’s an eager new caseworker manning the Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance (OAYA) program and she has made it her mission to strengthen local families and guide at-risk youth.
Karen Wonsowicz was recently transferred to the Oxford-Addison area after serving the Troy chapter of Oakland County Youth Assistance (OCYA) for the last seven years.
Wonsowicz has worked as a caseworker at the organization for nearly 30 years and has counseled youth at OCYA’s Troy, Clawson, Bloomfield, Pontiac, Auburn Hills and Hazel Park chapters.
In her new position, she will offer support and resources to local youth and their families.
“I love helping families out when they’re having a tough time. I’m a person that really believes in prevention and working with families,” Wonsowicz said.
She added she is excited to take on her role within a new community and that she hopes to soon expand the list of community-based programs Oxford-Addison offers.
“My first goal is getting to know the community and finding out what it’s all about. I would love to grow the program a bit and be able to offer more things to families,” Wonsowicz said. “Oxford-Addison (Youth Assistance) has done a beautiful job with the camp and offering activities for kids and I’m excited to continue that work.”
The OCYA aims to strengthen youth and families and to prevent and reduce delinquency, abuse and neglect through community involvement.
It also offers community-based programs such as parenting classes, camperships, and recreation programs. One of the those programs is the annual Shop With a Hero event, where children in need go shopping with law enforcement officers and firefighters in order to create positive relationships.
Wonsowicz holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource development with a minor in psychology. She resides in Macomb with her husband of 27 years, Ken. They have four children – Jacob, Tyler, Connor and Shane.
According to its website, Oakland County Youth Assistance was started by Wilfred Webb and Arthur Eugene Moore in Hazel Park in 1953. Over the course of the next 20 years, it expanded across the county and now encompasses 26 local affiliates. The Oxford-Addison program started in 1963.