Shawono Center School receives MSU Extension 2019 Key Partner Award

MSU Extension and school partner to provide career preparation, life skills, financial and anger management classes at juvenile center.

Jeff Dywer and Andrea Flowers.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Michigan State University Extension awarded the Shawono Center School with a 2019 Key Partner Award on Oct. 29 in Traverse City. The Key Partner Award recognizes those that have made significant contributions to support and promote MSU Extension programs.

The Shawono Center School, based in Grayling, Michigan, is a treatment facility that provides service to male juveniles who have been adjudicated. Shawono works with MSU Extension to bring meaningful career preparation classes to the students who are living at the center due to the challenges of their backgrounds.

“This program didn't exist for juvenile justice before this, it was something really that has been created from the ground up,” said Andrea Flowers, a Shawono Center School social worker. “Extension has been great in working to overcome those barriers and provide these services to some young men who really need it.”

The Shawono Center School and MSU Extension first became partners in 2015 when Shawono reached out to MSU Extension for help with students with diabetes. An MSU Extension educator presented a modified Dining with Diabetes class and the success of the program led to MSU Extension extending additional offerings to the school.

The partnership grew from there and today, MSU Extension educators continue to work with the social workers, counselors, teachers, director, and office management staff to deliver high-quality programming to Shawono youth. Shawono’s caring employees value the work of MSU Extension and both entities want to see the success of the students at this facility.

“It's a great partnership that we have and is actually a model that we're trying to develop and use in other places across Michigan,” said Michelle Neff, an MSU Extension youth educator who nominated Shawono for the award.

Due to the positive outcomes at the Shawono Center School, which has seen students learn trust, respect, life skills, career readiness, financial management, and anger management techniques, MSU Extension has reached out and began working with other centers in different parts of the state. When providing programs to help educate those in need, Shawono continues to be the model used as a best practice for facilities of this type.

Shawono Center School received the Key Partner Award alongside four other outstanding MSU Extension partners. Partnerships are critical to MSU Extension’s efforts to help people across the state improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge and resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses. To learn more, visit

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