A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Maggie Dougherty

maggie-articleMany people are blessed with a gift to make a difference, not only do they want to make a difference, but they are just plain good at it. Also, many organizations set out with a mission to improve lives. The Boys & Girls Club of Porter County’s mission “is to inspire and enable the youth of our communities to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”

Maggie Dougherty is one of those difference makers who approaches education with a nurturing sensibility and seeks to fulfill that mission. She serves as the Educational Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club in Porter County.

Dougherty was born in Gary, Indiana, she attended St. Mark’s in Gary and St. Paul’s in Valpo for elementary school and then attend Thomas Jefferson for 9th grade in Valpo. For high school she transitioned to Valparaiso High School. Once she graduated, Dougherty transitioned immediately to the work force. She worked for a bank and then a computer processing company where she processed bank statements. Following that venture, she worked for a law firm in Merrilville. Eventually, Dougherty settled down and became a stay-at-home mom.

However, Dougherty knew she wanted to continue her formal education, and she made the inspiring decision to receive her degree in Elementary Education from PNC graduating in 2004.

She now serves as the educational coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club in Porter County- the well known club that provides a support system for local children at an early age. Using her education background, she sets up programs that take learning outside of the traditional classroom. One of these is the Link n' Learn tutoring program.

“I link tutors with members for tutoring purposes. It takes in to consideration what the comfort level is with the tutors with age, content area, abilities, and what they have to offer the kids. That is it in a nutshell,” she explained.

Additionally, she facilitates a grant based remedial math and reading program that actually takes place at the club. Many would think that club members would be disengaged in learning after a full day of school, but Dougherty offers a solution to that issue. All of the learning is conducted in a fun way where the members do not even realize they are learning.

Not surprisingly, Dougherty’s favorite part about her position is the kids, and a challenge she faces is finding enough tutors for the kids. The need is always there to find capable tutors willing to donate time to the worthy mission. She ultimately describes her role: “I aim to promote healthy activities and inspire and enable our members to go on and live productive lives and give back within their communities.”

On the side, she enjoys gardening and staying active in the area with walking and biking. She also takes an interest in the arts and enjoys reading, movies, and going to the Chicago Street Theater. The local food panty also benefits from Dougherty’s helping hand, as well as the Porter County Prevent Child Abuse Organization.

In the future, Dougherty is keeping her options open and ready to get involved with anything that comes her way.

After many years of working with kids, and having some of her own, Dougherty has gleaned a few tokens of advice for future generations.

“Learn to read and stay in school. Reading is such an important foundation.”