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Northwest Michigan Works! Helps Young Woman Turn Her Life Around

Tiffany Brooks says she was an angry 16-year old struggling with low self-esteem, depression, and substance abuse when she first came to Northwest Michigan Works! in Traverse City. Brooks says Michigan Works! Youth Advisor Dana Venhuizen stuck with her through a lot of ups and downs and helped her turn her life around. Watch the video to find out more.



Tiffany Brooks says she was an angry 16-year old when she first came to Northwest Michigan Works! in Traverse City. She says she was struggling with low self-esteem, depression, and substance abuse, had been expelled from school, and did not want help from anyone.

“I was pushed towards Michigan Works and really didn’t want anything to do with it to begin with. I fought it and fought it,” said Brooks.

Michigan Works Youth Advisor Dana Venhuizen helped Tiffany enroll at the Beaver Island Lighthouse alternative school and she spent almost two semesters there. But when her anger issues cropped up again, Tiffany got kicked out of school and her life went on a downward spiral.

“I ended up shooting up and taking a bunch of pills and drinking all the time and not taking care of myself,” said Brooks. “It got to the point where one day I woke up and I wanted it to be over.”

But as Tiffany was considering giving up on life family members got her in to a treatment program and her life began to turn around.

“Finally I had a wake-up call and came back to Dana and asked her if she would help me and she was still there for me,” said Brooks.

Michigan Works helped Tiffany prepare for the GED and provided assistance for the cost of taking the test, which she passed. Michigan Works also helped Tiffany get her driver’s license, worked with her on employability skills, and offered job placement assistance.

“Without Dana I would probably be in a ditch somewhere,” said Brooks. “I wouldn’t have a GED, wouldn’t have any high school education, wouldn’t have my driver’s license. I’d be nowhere.”

Tiffany now has a job, is preparing to enroll at Northwestern Michigan College to study business and law enforcement, and is excited about her future.

“Four years ago I didn’t think I was going to have a future because I knew I wasn’t going to make it there,” said Brooks. “Now I can see that I’m going to do really good things and my future is going to be what I want it to be because I can make it that way.”






       Related Info:  Youth Education & Employment Services


Our Township greatly benefits from Network Northwest's experience, depth of knowledge and understanding. Because they work with so many diverse communities in our ten-county region they understand the local land-use issues and are already working on solutions by the time we realize we need some help.

Susan Odom, Chair, Suttons Bay Township Planning Commission