Staff Spotlight: Toni Battle

Meet Antoinette 'Toni' Battle

Toni Battle joined the Commission in January 1999 as an Assistant Director at Glenarden Community Center. In 2006, she was promoted to Director at Columbia Park Community Center, where she remained for the last nine years. Since March 2015, she was assigned Facility Director of Cedar Heights Community Center. In this position, she is responsible for overall facility operations, programming, marketing and fiscal management.

Toni earned a Bachelor's degree in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies from George Mason University. Currently, she is currently working towards a Master's degree in Parks, Recreation and Resource Management from Frostburg State University. Let's learn about her Innovative Program Initiative (IPI).

IPI Program Description (Target Market, Program Disciplines & Attendance)

The Focus Forward Young Adult Occupational program was a 10-week program for youth and young adults ages 16-24. It was created to assist them with life planning as it relates to their career paths and the transition into the work world. The program exposed participants to college prep, career exploration, one-on-one counseling and engaging workshops, which helped them to gain confidence to make positive life choices.

Daily attendance of the program was steady, with one or two students missing the program periodically due to previous engagements, school events or obtaining employment. Unexcused absences were unacceptable.

Inspiration Behind Idea

The inspiration for my program came from the youth and young adults I encountered daily at our facilities. Many of them approached my staff and I expressing interest in gaining employment or continuing their education. However, they were unsure of how to achieve those goals or end results.

As the workforce has become more competitive over time, I felt a strong desire to help these young adults. It was apparent that this program would be beneficial to assist them find direction in life; whether their focus was post-secondary education, trade/vocational schools or direct entry into the workforce.

Impact/Outcomes of Program

As a result of the program, students were privy to many new opportunities. For example, they had the chance to attend networking events, a college fair, job preparatory workshops, to name a few. In addition, they felt a sense of accomplishment, vocalized the abundance of new skills acquired, and a focused sense of direction.

At the conclusion of the program, all 20 participants received a certificate of completion. The program had many incentives throughout to maintain their interest in it. It was a feat that the program concluded without many glitches, considering the time frame and overall obstacles a first-time project faces.