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Christine Stephens Samuel

Distinguished Alumnus May 2016

IMG_2158-Chris Samuel- Color

Christine Stephens Samuel is the Director of Human Resources for the Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc. (ALPI). She has been associated with this organization as volunteer, board member, or employee since 1979. The ALPI program began in 1968 as a project of the Coca-Cola Corporation to help improve life for migrant workers. Today, it is a $16 million dollar entity funded through federal and community block grants. The program provides emergency assistance and school training, operates the Head Start Program in St. Lucie County, and manages a Polk County Early Start Program that serves 781 children.

Samuel’s association with Polk State began long before she started taking classes here. As a single mom, she worked a full-time job during the day, and then worked from 9:00pm to 5:30am as a night custodian at Polk. She would take a short nap, get her kids off to school, and start the routine over again.

After being encouraged by an employer to go back to school, Samuel enrolled at Polk State. She graduated with her Associate in Arts degree in 1980 and received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from Eckerd College in 1987. As a non-traditional student who was working and parenting full time, Eckerd’s program enabled her to earn her degree by attending classes on a flexible schedule. She also received college credit for her life experiences.

Samuel’s association with Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc. began with the CETA Program, where she worked as an assistant area manager in a temporary position. The organization was so pleased with her work that they created a full-time permanent position.

In 1991, while working for ALPI, Samuel was recruited to work with the Youth and Family Alternatives Program, started by Jack Eckerd, philanthropist and founder of the Eckerd Drug Store chain. Though a graduate of Eckerd, Samuel was unfamiliar with the connection between Jack Eckerd, the college renamed in his honor, and this youth organization. She spent time as the Human Resources Director, and was then promoted to the Center Director of the Eckerd Youth Challenge Program.

After working in this capacity, Samuel moved to G4S Youth Services as a facility director for troubled youth. During this time, she created her own consulting company, DES Consulting. Between 1992 and 2013, Samuel continued to be involved with the ALPI, serving on the Regional Advisory Council and Board of Directors. In 2013, she became the Director of Human Resources, and in that capacity also serves as the liaison for the Eastern Region Advisory Council.

Samuel has always felt she was born to serve, and loves working with young people; she hopes to help them know that they can have a better life. In addition to her public service, Samuel has served as the National Youth Coordinator for her church, House of God Saints in Christ, Inc. (based in Jacksonville) since 2007. She is also the president of her church’s board of directors.

Samuel’s commitment to the community has also led her to serve on the board of Girls, Inc. (Winter Haven), where she has held the positions of treasurer and vice president; in July 2016 she will ascend to the role of president. In 2011, the organization recognized her with the She Knows Where She’s Going Award. She has also participated as second vice president on the executive board for the local chapter of the NAACP.