Photos by Brit Huckabay

Located in Alabaster, The DAY (Developing Alabama Youth) Program is an alternative educational and clinical services program
for at-risk youth in Shelby County.  Since 1983, its dedicated staff and faculty have delivered parents and their children hope and a pathway to success offering academic remediation, GED prep, behavior modification, coping and stress management skills, goal development and problem solving, as well as training in employability and life skills. Housed in the YMCA building, DAY operates year-round on a quarter-calendar schedule.

Lucy Mosely, DAY’s new Executive Director, graciously agreed to answer a few questions.

AC: What is your background?

Lucy Mosely: I have 10 years of teaching experience in Alabama public schools. I taught 10th- through 12th-grade English. I have a bachelor’s degree from Auburn in Secondary English Language Arts Education, an MAT from the University of West Alabama in English Language Arts, and a Post-Master’s Certificate from UWA in Instructional Leadership. I am originally from Daphne but have taught in Autauga County, Lee County, Auburn City, and Mountain Brook City Schools.

AC: How did you find your way into this new positon?

LM: I met the former Executive Director of DAY through mutual friends, and she told me all about the program. I started to do my own research and became very interested in the work and opportunities DAY is offering to the Shelby County community. When I saw her position open up, I applied, and the rest is history!

AC: Who started DAY, and what was the need at the time?

LM: Patty Smith, the Juvenile Court Judge was instrumental in forming The DAY Program over 35 years ago. She worked closely with Neil Bailey to help get us off the ground. Patty saw a huge gap in what the public schools could provide and what the at-risk students of Shelby County needed.

AC: How do students get in the program? What areas do they come from?

LM: They are referred by the court or a school counselor, typically. Parents can also request a referral. They come from all over Shelby County, Alabaster, and Pelham.

AC: How do you help students cope with stress and deal with behavior modification?

LM: Small-group setting, individual counseling, therapeutic group counseling, outside organizations come in and teach life skills, coping mechanisms, etc. We provide individualized pace with learning as well. We have at our max capacity one counselor for every 15 students, so we are able to provide a good bit of individual attention. Family counseling is also in integral to our success.

AC: How is the school funded?

LM: Our funding largely comes from the school systems, United Way, and department of youth services. Of course we would LOVE and APPRECIATE donations from anyone—individuals to corporations!

AC: Could you briefly describe a typical day for your faculty and students?

LM: Students arrive around 8 a.m., breakfast is offered, and classes begin at 8:30. They move through core classes until lunch time, and after lunch they have an academic focus period where they receive extra help and time in a specific area each day. After this, we usually have group/individual counseling or a non-profit organization comes in to share wisdom like coping strategies, life skills, etc. Sometimes we take a trip!

AC: Are there discipline issues?

LM: Just like every school, or alternative center, we do have discipline issues. Teenagers are teenagers everywhere! Major behavior issues though are not a daily occurrence. The issues we see here are not any different than a typical school setting. We are not a program based on behavior issues.

AC: Do you need volunteers?

LM: Absolutely! We would love to have tutors and service teams. There’s always a project someone could help us with.

AC: Your faculty looks like a mix of counseling and educational teachers?

LM: That is true. There is no preset number, but it is usually around four teachers for the core subjects and four counselors. Counselors and teachers interact with each other daily, multiple times per day. It’s truly a team effort.

AC: Do you have room for new students?

LM: Yes. At max we can have 60 students enrolled at a time. We accept students between 7th and 11th grades and ages 13 to 18. Typically we do have space for more students.

To donate or volunteer or simply get more information, reach Lucy Mosley at [email protected]. For additional information, the