Maha Ayesh

Maha Ayesh

MHJJ Liaison

What is your job role at Family Service Association?

My job role at Family Service Association is recognized as the Mental Health Juvenile Justice Liaison. As a MHJJ Liaison, I advocate for juveniles in the surrounding Kane County Area. The role offers juvenile justice and mental health services to youth ages 11-18 years old who are at risk of the justice system, or who may be involved. Youth are assessed for mental health disorders including Depression, Bipolar, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Anxiety.

Why did you choose Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area?

Family Service Association of Greater Elgin offered a role that fit my educational and professional expertise. My decision to join the family has been a humbling experience, including feeling welcomed, appreciated, respected, and more than anything valued. My professional aspirations and goals continue to be modified and expand, for choosing the following agency to begin such a professional journey has been a decision I will continue to value.

If you had to give a 2-minute elevator speech on what you do every day, what would you say?

I begin my day by mentally going over every client that has been embedded in me. Each client is unique through their mental illnesses, legal issues, and life stressors. I create an agenda, and prioritize my list and mentally prepare myself to conquer the day. Following the mental preparation, I offer time for self-care, and embark on my journey. A day may consist of visits to the Juvenile Justice Detention Center, Juvenile Court, meetings with probation officers, de-escalating family arguments, and offering emotional support to a tearful mother.

What is the best part of working in the mental health field?

The most common answer may consist of helping others, and the reward of offering assistance to individuals in need. However, the mental health field has always been a sense of individual and societal exploration. The evaluation of cultural dynamics, family functions, communication, and the role of the justice system always provokes my curiosity and offers me the motivation to find answers.

What is the favorite part of your job?

Professional Networking and exploring the Justice System.

Who has had the most influence on your work career?

The individual who has always been my cheerleader is my sister, Afnan. We are one year and two months apart, and have a relationship that is built on similar values, yet such different personalities! Afnan is my motivation and my ambition, she makes me feel and believe my dreams are at arms-reach. She highlights my strengths and vulnerabilities, and is constantly pushing me to pursue my career aspirations.

What is your favorite quote?

“How do you like them apples?”
– Good Will Hunting

If you could meet someone, dead or alive, who would it be?

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was recognized as a leader and led empires to Islam. His human values were honored yet he was offered miracles by the Grace of God.

People would be surprised if they knew I ...

People would be surprised if they knew I do boxing and kickboxing.

If you could pick a superpower what would it be?

The superpower I would wish for is to go back in time. I would do anything to go back in time and hug my two year old brother who my family lost in an accident. He will always be loved.

Favorite Food?

I can’t choose one! Hispanic and Indian cuisine.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten was on my trip to Istanbul Turkey, which included a sandwich made with diced intestines mixed with a colorful array of peppers. It was actually really good!

What is the most interesting place that you've visited?

Interesting? This is a difficult one… I would answer it as the most fascinating place I visited was the Holy Mosque- “Kahba” in Saudi Arabia. It is the Holy Mosque where millions of Muslims around the world visit for pilgrimage every year. The way the birds flew around the open skies over the Mosque was mesmerizing.

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