Chanelle Delgado
You Inc. recently awarded Employee of the Year honors to just six workers agency-wide and among them was Winchendon's Chanell Delgado, the evening shift supervisor at Cottage Hill Academy.

"I was pretty shocked and excited", said Delgado, a 2011 graduate of Murdock high school. Truthfully, "I wasn't fully aware of what I was receiving at the event," which was held at the Blackstone Visitors Center in Worcester.

Delgado did know her boss, Michael McGrath had nominated her "for something, but I honestly thought there were mini-awards given out on top of whomever was Employee of the Year and I guessed I might be getting one of those. But there were no awards given out other than Employee of the Year," she noted.

You, Inc has multiple facilities in Worcester as well as sites in Baldwinville, Gardner, Winchendon and surrounding areas. While being feted from the umbrella agency would seem to be pretty prestigious, Delgado preferred to focus on why she does what she does.

"I've always wanted to help people and I always wanted to work with children. With this job, in this field, I can do both and at Cottage Hill, I truly feel like I help make a difference with the youth we work with," she said.

A job like hers has highs and lows for sure. It's satisfying to see "the smiles, the goals met by the youths, the laughs and even the tears. And by the tears I mean, when we work with these kids, they have gone through so much and they confide in us so much. They sometimes cry when they tell us the story of their lives.

"We're providing a safe place for them," noted Delgado.

The bottom line on being honored as an Employee Of the Year? "The award reminds me what I do is important and the hard work doesn't go unnoticed. It really is an honor. I love working with these kids. The smiles on the kids faces when I come back to work after my days off says it all. Their trust in me does too.

"Making a difference matters," reflected Delgado.