My name is Janiell Tyus. I graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences and previously received my Associate’s Degree in Human Resources. My plan is to work in Human Resources. I hope to work with Life Directions, or a nonprofit organization like them to help children dealing with problems at home, in school and in everyday life. It takes a village to raise a child! I’m an example of that.


I was introduced to Life Directions at Western International High School in my sophomore year. I was a part of the Peer Motivation Program. We students met once a week. In my group, I learned to listen to others, to express myself respectfully, and to see other people’s perspectives. I learned a lot about myself. Life Directions cares about their students and guides them to be better for themselves and others. Life Directions four core values are self-responsibility, balance in relationships, partnership in diversity, and to live life with a mission-driven attitude.


My experience prepared me to work at a restaurant that also has a Core 4! I started working at Chick-fil-A during my junior year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. It was not like any other restaurant I had worked for. I learned something new every day. I remember an elderly guest who needed help with her mobile app. I took the time to set up the app and place her order. When it all worked she said appreciatively, “Honey, thank you so much. I could not have done this without you,” I felt great about myself for having patience and taking time to help her. We can easily turn frustrating situations into ones of caring and connection!


I also learned leadership skills at Chick-fil-A. As a shift leader, I learned to make sure my team members were prepared to serve our guests, including being in uniform and following the “Core 4”. Make eye contact. Smile at your guests. Speak enthusiastically. Stay connected. Four simple “helpers” for every interaction with guests. Going into my final semester I needed to complete an eighty-hour internship. At first, I thought, “What am I going to do?” Then. in a moment of inspiration, I thought of Life Directions. Sooner than I thought possible, I was back at my high school as a Peer Animator leading Peer Motivation students with both Core 4’s. There were familiar faces and many new ones. I encouraged my students to think beyond high school. That’s what a Peer Animator does. I see myself in them. They see themselves in me.


I enjoyed being an intern, and seeing things from “the other side of the glass.” I saw Life Directions expand to other communities, to serve more young people, create new programs, including job opportunities for youth. I also experienced how the staff worked together to stay connected with youth and families. It was a great experience to be a part of the team. Both Life Directions and Chick-fil-A helped me develop leadership qualities that I continue to use today: listening skills, communication skills, patience, servant leadership, teamwork, and an openness to learning. I have become a better person and hopefully a light to others.


Thanks Life Directions and Chick-fil-A, and most especially my home team. My mother Cheryl, and my sisters Chanel and Danielle have encouraged me in every step in my journey. Her mother observed, “I have tremendous confidence in Janiell. She’s the whole world to us. When our family was in a car accident her twin sister was injured. Janiell took care of her. She’s such a loving daughter, kind-hearted and puts others before herself. Janiell is the first generation to graduate from college. With her grit and determination, she will go far as the world discovers all the precious qualities I see in her!”

Posted on 06/08/2021 at 6:30 AM