Youth Center Director – Gabrielle Hinahara Outstanding Youth Worker of 2023
Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) Honors the Best of Dane County
Ten workers were honored for their outstanding contributions to supporting youth today, by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and MMSD Superintendent Lisa Kvistad. Middleton’s own Gabrielle Hinahara was recognized as a leader in important out-of-school programming for Dane County youth.
“This is a defining moment for Middleton,” said Mayor Emily Kuhn. “Recognition of our outstanding leader Gabrielle is truly outstanding and deserves to be lauded. Our exceptional youth services bring together opportunities to ensure the mental, and physical health and well-being of young people of Middleton.”
The Madison-area Out-of-School Time (MOST) initiative serves 16,000 children in Dane County and ensures that all children and youth have access to comprehensive, high-quality, out-of-school time programs that support positive youth development, educational achievement, and readiness for college, career, and community. MOST is a collaboration between the City of Madison, Dane County, Madison Metropolitan School District, and over 45 Madison-area youth-serving organizations.
“Gabrielle is a hero for family and student engagement,” said Kiley Scherer, City of Middleton Parks and Recreation Director. “Her energy, passion, and creativity are an inspiration to everyone – and a testament to her award.”
MOST recognized the awardees for their contributions to making our city better with $500 awards. Award winners were nominated by their peers with final selections made by local high school students among dozens of strong nominees.
Gabrielle Hinahara from Middleton Youth Center – Gabrielle reopened the Middleton Youth Center in 2014 after the city had closed it down due to low enrollment in previous years. By 2019, the youth center averaged over 45 students per day and had a waiting list. She has fought to keep the program free to all families, with families who qualify for free or reduced lunch getting an increased chance of being chosen in our lottery system for enrolling new students. Several years ago, she implemented a school-time mentoring program to help us ensure kids still get 1 on 1 time with staff as the program grows. She has ensured that the youth center is focused on improving kids’ SEL skills. Gabrielle is trusted and respected by the staff, parents, and most importantly the kids. She is an excellent supervisor to youth center staff, many of whom are social work interns, AmeriCorps members, and high school students.