A mother of two and a manager of Child Adolescent and Family Services for the Michigan Department of Community Heath and Oral Health Program, Orlene Christie Hawks’ life is really a balancing act. Hawks is able to manage all aspects in her life through support systems and relationships she has developed working with passionate people.
“It’s not something you can do all on your own. A strong system of people, and the strength to follow your dreams, is important to my success,” said Hawks.
Hawks was born in Jamaica and moved to Detroit when she was six years old. She has had many mentors throughout her life that have influenced her dream to help those who are less fortunate. She brings this positive outlook to her home life as well.
Hawks loves her family and loves seeing them happy and healthy. “I love my girls and want them to view me as a role model and grow up strong, independent, healthy women,” Hawks said. She believes in grabbing a hold of opportunities as they come and always moving forward.
Hawks started her position as manager one year ago and has continued to excel ever since. Hawks contributes to many programs that benefit children of all ages. These programs include prevention programs for oral health, young adult health centers, child health promotion and many other human service departments.
“I love seeing good people do good work and being a part of that,” said Hawks. “It is so gratifying when we work on a project and we see positive results, I love seeing people walk away happy.”
One may wonder how someone so busy can handle all of these tasks, but Hawks lives by these words: “Believe in being true to yourself, put God and family first and the rest will follow. Always aim for the moon.”
The hardest thing about her job is when programs are cut. “I get so connected… it is sad to separate myself when resources are cut. I want to help, but there’s only so much you can do,” said Hawks.
She is excited for the health care reform and hopes that she will be on the forefront in developing more creative programs. Funding will allow expansion on current programs and she hopes people will receive the health care they deserve.
“I love giving back. I want to keep being the best me I can be.”