Flagler County, FL – Flagler Tiger Bay Club youth members aren’t just landing jobs, they’re gaining valuable mentorships and building relationships with key players in their chosen industries.

After meeting Flagler County Judge Andrea Totten at a Rotary Club of Flagler County meeting as a member of Interact, the youth arm of the service organization, Flagler Palm Coast High School senior Malisha Moise was so determined to pursue her opportunities, she reconnected with Judge Totten outside of the restroom during a Flagler Tiger Bay Club meeting in April.

“I followed her into the bathroom and then waited outside,” said the young woman unabashedly.

“When I came out of the bathroom, there was Malisha. I think it’s awesome too,” said Totten. “I’ve told that story a couple of times as evidence of your drive and determination.”

The pair have stayed connected, and while Moise is part of the Flagler Palm Coast High School medical flagship program, her interests have broadened to law. Moise said her instructor alerted her to the Girls State summer program opportunity in Tallahassee, hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary, June 5-12, after learning of her interests.

“It focuses on civic responsibility and if you’re interested in government, law or politics, it’s a good fit for you,” said Moise, who learned about city, county and state government along with parliamentary procedure.

“You can be a House member or Senate member and we actually went to the capitol and got to sit where the actual House member or Senators sit. If you’re in justice or court you go to the Supreme Court. We got to go to the old capitol. It was definitely a lot, like working 16 hours a day,” she said.

Housed at Florida State University for the program, as a delegate for the judicial program, Moise spent the week learning more about the inner workings of the state’s capital, with special attention paid to the Florida Supreme Court, where students were briefed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Upon return, Moise was provided a personal tour of Judge Totten’s court room and additional one-on-one time to talk about her future.

“I had an hour long interview with her before Girls State so I definitely got to see what type of person she is and her thought process.”

“She said she had a mentorship, and she’s definitely connected me with other people. I’m really grateful for that,” shared Moise who says she’s leaning toward criminal law as her preference, while keeping health law, federal and military court on the table as options.

Known for ability to foster relationships, Totten is helping to connect the aspiring judicial student with others in the field like Bill Partington with the Public Defender’s Office and Seventh Circuit Judge Alicia Washington to grow her connections and provide a chance to discover where her interests and talents may best fit.

“To connect with those kind of people and get that kind of education, as real as possible, understanding of how things work in real life, in the capitol, in the government, in law, it’s just awesome,” said Totten.

“You make connections with people, and you never know, 10 years from now you might be calling them saying ‘I’m applying for this job’ or ‘I’ve got this opportunity’. That’s so important. I’m the first to admit that making those connections with people matter. Obviously academics are number one, but if you don’t get out there and ask for help, and go to events and meet people who may be able to help you with opportunities down the road, you’re just going to make it more difficult for yourself. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help.”