Arenac Community Center


Shara Klenk is CEO of the Aranac Community Center in Standish, MI. Running a business is something Shara is familiar with, having owned  and operated three with her husband, but youth work is a new path for her. After starting a family and wanting to make more time to be home with her kids, she brainstormed ways to bring her two passions together – entrepreneurship and family. She also noticed a lack of resources for working families in terms of afterschool programs and care.


In partnership with her local school district, Shara took over a vacant school building and opened a community center offering afterschool and summer programs. At a conference Shara learned about a great online learning platform, CollaborNation, where she could complete all of her professional development and certification requirements, including CDA and afterschool training courses.


In less than one year, Shara was able to complete her required 400 hours of training.

“Completing courses online fit my busy schedule and allowed me to make a needed professional change in my life when going back to school full-time just was not an option. I’ve taken everything I learned and put it into the program and these kids. This past summer was our first and I feel confident in saying it was a successful one.” – Shara

For people who are looking to change course in their professional life, like Shara did, CollaborNation is especially helpful. With all of her responsibilities, an online
learning approach gave her the flexibility that she needed. Thanks to her training, she can work as a paraprofessional in the school district during the year and run her afterschool program in the evening and over the summer.

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