On the Job: Shatoya Holiday

Shatoya Holiday, TeenQuest graduate

Flint Northern High School graduate Shatoya Holiday is working diligently toward her dream of becoming a judge. With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in substance abuse from the University of Michigan-Flint, Holiday is currently working as a clerk at the Travis County Court House in Austin, Texas with plans to attend law school.

That’s not all she’s up to. Holiday also works as a doula – a big passion of hers – and facilitator for a local prenatal group where she lives.

“My goal is to be a judge but my reason for being a doula is related,” says Holiday. “A doula helps brings life into the world and as a judge, I want to help young people, especially young Black men, not become a statistic.”

The main reason for her pathway was seeing her brother struggle with the law and the flaws in the justice system. Holiday’s aim is to focus on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

As for now, Holiday is raising her two children and looking to purchase a house while continuing to work toward her dreams.

How did the lessons learned in TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative help you on the path to your current positions?

One of the jobs I worked through Summer Youth Initiative was helping to pack food in the basement of a local church. We would start work at 6 a.m. and get out at 3 p.m. That job taught me discipline and gave me a sense of responsibility that helped me when I started my career.

What skills did you use from TeenQuest when interviewing for your positions?

TeenQuest helped me learn how to express myself in a professional way. Those lessons helped me when I was interviewing for the doula program. I was able to demonstrate my passion with dignity and respect.

What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?

Don’t knock it until you try it! I heard about TeenQuest in high school and didn’t want to do it. But I gave it a try and it became a way to escape the feeling of being under pressure. It was a place where I was able to be myself.

What has been your proudest moment since TeenQuest?

Being able to move my family to Austin, breaking generational curses and being able to build opportunities for my children.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.