ONH Employee of the Year and other celebrations!

Employee of the Year 2021 - Melissa Riggins

We have a great team at Operation New Hope, and it’s so fun to spotlight our outstanding performers. At our recent holiday celebration, we were thrilled to announce that this year’s Employee of the Year goes to Melissa Riggins!

Melissa has been with the team for 7 and a half years and continues to bring her A-game every day in service of our mission to help others reconnect with the workforce, their families, and their community. Prior to working for Operation New Hope, she was actually an Employment Partner at a local company who hired our Ready4Work clients, so she has been committed to this work for more than a decade. In her role as Employment Services Lead, she uses her wealth of knowledge and experience to help each client develop strong resumes and fine-tune their interview skills to achieve meaningful, living-wage work. Melissa is hardworking, quick to offer words of encouragement, and has a smile on her face every day. 

I look forward to coming into work because I love what I do!” Melissa said. “I feel like a seed planter. Most of the time you get to see the seed develop in front of you as the hope, belief, and trust grows within the client. The connection I make with the clients keeps the motivation within me alive.”

Congratulations Melissa for being our Employee of the Year for 2021. Thank you for your heart, commitment, and generosity. 



Hope Award 2021 - Joi Stephens

It’s hard to pick just one outstanding employee here at Operation New Hope, so this year we instituted a new recognition called the Hope Award, and we selected Joi Stephens as the 2021 recipient. Joi is our Supervisor of Intake and Recruitment, and has been instrumental in supporting our Ready4Work program in St. Johns County. She excels at multitasking, balancing a robust client case management load, while also helping the organization achieve great enrollment success. This year, despite the persistent challenges presented by the pandemic, we are projected to beat our enrollment goals by 50%, and we thank Joi for her contribution to this achievement. She is always upbeat, collaborative, flexible, and willing to lend a hand. We are so thankful for her dedication!



2021 Operation New Hope Superlatives

We can’t say it enough, we are staffed by some of the kindest, most hardworking people you will ever meet, and we love the opportunity to celebrate our team members who are making a real impact in the lives of 1,000’s here in our community.  We had so much fun naming this year’s superlatives and honor the work they do to help break the cycle of incarceration. 



Most Likely to Volunteer (and Best DJ) - Kendal McCoy

Any time we need an extra helping hand, Kendal is there offering support. One of our caring case managers, he is always one of the first to volunteer, and for that, we are so appreciative. Plus, Kendal always ensures we have the Pomp and Circumstance graduation march playing at every Ready4Work graduation (beats included)!

Clients' Choice Award - Darryl Matthews

Speaking of Ready4Work graduation, not a week goes by that Darryl Matthews isn’t repeated thanked by our clients for his compassion, commitment, and booming voice in the Career Development classroom. Darryl is consistently rated as a fantastic Instructor – the clients love him and so do we!

Best Supporting Cast Member - Carrie Scott

Carrie Scott is our Executive Assistant extraordinaire! She provides amazing support to the entire executive leadership team, while also spreading cheer among the clients and staff. She also makes sure the candy bowl is full in the Career Development classroom, which has earned her the well deserved title as The Candy Lady!

The Fixer - Rebeca Grasley

We made significant improvements to our technology systems in 2021 to enhance our efficacy and better deliver our mission. As with all system improvement, there were a few technical difficulties along the way. But we were supported by our fantastic Fixer – Rebeca Grasley, our Grant and Office Operations Specialist. She met each challenge with a warm smile and positive attitude and for this we are so thankful!

Rookie of the Year - Saige White

Saige has done a phenomenal job since joining the case management team earlier this year and is an invaluable resource to her clients and team. Observing Saige interact with her clients is a joy, you can see how she’s genuinely connecting with them and making every effort to get them every bit of help they need to succeed. Keep up the great work!

Best Bowler - Corvus Whitaker

Not only is Corvus an outstanding Ready4Work Program Director, but he also plays a mean game of bowling!

And just for fun, here are some highlights from our recent year-end holiday celebration...

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