Staff Highlight – Melissa Padgett
Melissa Padgett is a program manager for The Villages’ Healthy Families Lawrence County office. She works with at-risk parents to provide a loving and nurturing environment for their children. Melissa has been with The Villages for almost 5 years. We recently asked Melissa a few questions about her job working with vulnerable children and families.
The Villages: Why did you choose a career in child welfare?
Melissa: I really believe that we make the greatest positive impact in this world by supporting our families. I believe that the most critical and vulnerable time is in early childhood, where education has its most profound impact. And I truly love babies, and believe they are the most precious thing on this earth
The Villages: Please share one inspiring experience you had in the last year?
Melissa: It is always in hearing the successes, and even the smallest accomplishment that our staff makes with families. A baby is thriving, a mother is comforted or validated, or a parent is successful and enjoys being a parent.
The Villages: What can the community do to help you, and The Villages, better serve vulnerable children and families?
Melissa: First smile– share a smile, it doesn’t take anything to affirm someone in the parking lot or at the grocery store especially someone you don’t know or doesn’t look like you. For those that can, be politically active, we desperately need safe, affordable child care in this state. For those that can volunteer a few hours at a school or community center- or at The Villages we always have filing and office work to do. And donate if you can…we always need diapers!!!
The Villages: What is your wish for The Villages and/or the children you work with?
Melissa: To reach our highest potential, whatever that is and have a level of quality of life that gives each of us some peace— defined by self worth and/or simple daily pleasures- enjoying a story, a smile, a sunset or a warm breeze. It’s all easier said than done, isn’t it?