Getting Personal: Siobhan Reynolds

Getting Personal: Siobhan Reynolds

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 40-year-old SIOBHAN REYNOLDS, a Champaign County juvenile probation officer, chats with staff writer Paul Wood. The former model is a Kenny Chesney fan.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Aurora/Naperville.

Tell us about lessons your mother taught you.

My mother taught me that life is like a bicycle, in order to keep balance, you must keep it moving. She made sure that I understood that trials and tribulations will present themselves in my life, but I must not give up and continue to go after my dreams.

What else can you tell us about your family?

My older sister earned a basketball scholarship to play for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Unfortunately, she was hit and killed by a drunken driver before the season started. On that day, I lost my role model and a hero.

What brought you here?

I graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and psychology. After graduation, I applied for a job at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center. After touring the new facility, I decided that was the place I wanted to be. I worked there for 10 years until a position became available at the probation department. At that time, I was looking to further my experience, so I transferred to probation and I enjoy my job. I have established rapport with my clients, and I can relate to some of their life experiences.

Why did you choose to work with juveniles?

I choose to work with juveniles because they are among the most engaging and intriguing audiences to work with. Juvenile circumstances create challenges that can only be met with determination, creativity and integrity. Each juvenile is unique and brings their own life experiences, needs and expectations to the table. As the generations evolve, it causes me to learn and adjust my way of thinking. Our juveniles have a lot to offer, and I love being the person to help them see it in themselves.

What was it like to be a promotional model?

As the trade show and promotional industries continue to grow, I was fortunate to be afforded the opportunity of becoming a promotional model. Being a promotional model allowed me to learn in-depth knowledge about different industries, make positive connections, build relationships, gain business experiences, attend unique events, meet celebrities and travel.

How did you come up with the idea of focus on self-building?

I came up with the idea of Focus on Self: Building Our Youth One Selfie at a Time because I wanted to create a program that would bring the community together in support of the youth. One of the positives of the conference is that it helps bridge the gap between law enforcement, community and the youth. It provides the youth with an opportunity to engage with many professionals outside of their professional settings. The goal of the conference is to provide an interactive-engaging learning experience and to show that we as a community are committed to helping our youth. It is important to meet the youth where they are at in life. Many community leaders understand the importance of not only involving the youth but involving them early.

How are you able to convince all these people, interesting people, to help the kids?

It is easy to get others involved who are equally as passionate about the youth as I am. Over the years, Champaign County Probation has earned the support from surrounding entities in the community who anchor our visions and goals. I am truly appreciative for all the support from the participants, sponsors and community partners that have made the youth conference a success.

You've had a hip-hop violinist help you reach the kids. It sounds like you know how to get into their heads.

Over 19 years ago, I started working with youth from all walks of life, and I can tell you, things have changed. I believe that I am effective in reaching the youth because I listen without reservations. It is important to have an open heart and open mind to what challenges and struggles they are currently facing in this climate. I can be firm and have transparent conversations with my clients because I do so, without judgment. We must change our mind frame according to the present social norms, not the past.

You like professional massages, is that because of your job?

First off, I don't like professional massages, I love them. I love professional massages because it is a way to relax my mind, body and re-energize. Incorporating relaxation into a busy modern lifestyle is incredibly important to your overall health. In my opinion, it is one of the best experiences you can give yourself.

What would you order for your last meal?

For my last meal, I would order steak, lobster tail, chicken wings, greens and french fries.

Who Is your favorite musician and why?

My favorite musician is Kenny Chesney. I love country music and there is nothing like doing the "tush push" country line dance to Kenny Chesney.

What is the happiest memory of your life?

In my life, I experienced a traumatic head injury that resulted in a one-month stay in the ICU. It was a very scary and a difficult time for my family and friends. Overcoming the situation is my greatest memory because it made me look at life through a different lens. My post-traumatic growth is about accepting the trauma as part of who I am. I have since stopped worrying about the smallest gritty details and start appreciating the bigger picture. I realized that I am stronger than I ever thought was possible. I feel more gratitude toward the people I love, and most importantly, I love myself for exactly who I am. I am unapologetically me. Life can change so quickly, so I live each day with a purpose.

What historical figure do you admire most and why?

Without a doubt, I admire Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When I think of Dr. King, the two words that come to mind are leader and fearlessness. I can align with his leadership capabilities and his willingness to stand for what is right, no matter how unpopular. Dr. King was fearless in the face of arrests, beatings and ultimately his assassination but had the courage to respond with love and righteousness. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?

My first job was a paper route. The best part about the job is that my mother completed most of the job. Till this day, I wonder what happened to the other half of my paycheck. I guess my mother didn't feel like I deserved it all since she did most of the work.

Do you have any regrets in life? What are they?

Yes, I have regrets in my life ranging from bad choices in love to being held back by fear. At the time, I tried to make the best decisions possible using the information I had. I am sure glad that we live and we learn. As long as I walk this earth, I understand that I have another chance to do better.

How do you handle stressful situations?

I do my best to remain professional and calm in a stressful situation. Once I work through the problems, the answer usually surfaces and shows itself. A calm attitude allows me to trust my knowledge, experience and intuition so I can put things in perspective. In my line of work, situations can escalate expeditiously, so it is impeccable to maintain emotional control.

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