North Carolina Emerging Leaders celebrate another successful year

NC Emerging LeadersFifteen North Carolina Emerging Leaders united at Beach Music in the Park in Greensboro to celebrate the completion of the nine month leadership development program. After each staff was recognized for his or her unique talents, the group relaxed to the soothing sounds of The Magnificents Band and enjoyed savory snacks from local food trucks.

Participants reflected on their overall experience in the Emerging Leaders program. The Emerging Leaders program includes monthly interactive leadership webinars, several leadership classroom courses and a behind-the-scenes look at senior leadership roles. The program provided them with a wide variety of trainings that equipped them for many potential leadership scenarios. Additionally, the personalized job shadowing allowed for unique adaptations for each individual’s desired path for growth.

Beverly Watson celebrates retirement from Inner Harbour Campus

beverly watson eventBeverly Watson recently celebrated her retirement from the Inner Harbour Campus after serving Youth Villages for 36 years. She has worked in various roles and departments, including switch board operator, medical records, administrative assistant, intake/social service coordinator, director of admissions, managed care contracting and marketing/agency relations. She most recently served as a regional representative in the marketing department at Inner Harbour.

Beverly’s family, former and current co-workers, board members and referral sources attended a retirement party at the Inner Harbour Campus to celebrate Watson’s career. Some referral sources traveled from as far as four hours away to attend. Judge Peggy Walker, Ron Scroggy, Cynthia Odom and others shared great stories and congratulatory words during the event. The Inner Harbour Campus dedicated one of the rocking chairs located on the Hewell Building porch in honor of Watson and she was showered with other gifts from staff and attendees.

“Beverly has traveled the entire state of Georgia and beyond marketing Inner Harbour programs and services and has played a key role in guiding hundreds of Georgia families to appropriate care for their youth,” Marsha Stewart, assistant director of managed care and referral sources, said. “She will most certainly be missed here on the campus and among referral source offices throughout the state of Georgia. We wish her plenty of relaxing days and a prosperous life as she transitions into retirement!”

Memphis Transitional Living Specialist Jaci Settje earns license

jaci settjeJaci Settje, transitional living specialist in Memphis, recently earned her LPC-MHSP (licensed professional counselor-mental health service provider) designation.

Licensure has always been the primary goal of Settje’s counseling career.

“I feel like I am promoting the professionalism of the counseling field by choosing to pursue my license as the field is still working toward being noticed in many areas of the country,” she said.

Youth Villages was able to help Settje reach her goal of earning her license. To earn her license, she needed to complete an accredited graduate program and complete a total of 60 graduate credits, including a 250-hour practicum and a 500-hour internship. She also needed to pass four exams and complete a minimum of 1,500 direct contact hours, 1,500 hours of other counseling-related work and 150 hours of licensure supervision. Clinical Services Supervisor Michelle Childs oversaw the licensure process for Settje.

“Jaci was very committed to the licensure process and very ambitious. Despite any work challenges she had, she always made sure she came to supervision and studied for all of the licensure exams,” Childs said. “She managed to get her license in a short time—just over two years. Sometimes it’s hard to add things into an already overbooked schedule, but she did it. She wanted the license and the extra clinical knowledge to be the best counselor possible to the youth she serves.”

Licensure will help Settje as she continues her dream of working with children and families.

“I love the difference I am able to make in the lives of the youth I have worked with and their families. While in graduate school, I was asked, ‘What do you want to do with your counseling career?’ My response was always that I wanted to work with youth and their families to make their lives better together,” she said. “When I found Youth Villages during my job search, I knew it was the right organization for me.”

Settje began working for Youth Villages in January 2011 on the Bartlett Campus. She has worked in her current role as transitional living specialist since March 2014.

“In the transitional living program, some of the young adults I work with have their own children. I guess in a way, I am promoting the relationship between parents and their children for the next generation,” she said.

Settje holds a master’s degree in counseling and psychology in education and bachelor’s degrees in alcohol and drug studies, psychology and American Indian studies from the University of South Dakota.

North Carolina office appreciates staff with games and scavenger hunt

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The Durham office recently held a staff appreciation day for the counselors who work so hard in the field. The Durham staff also invited the Greenville and Louisburg offices to join in on the fun. Staff members were split into groups and played three games. Everyone was able to compete with another team at least once. After the games, everyone participated in a photo scavenger hunt. At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed pizza and cake, and counselors and supervisors received awards. Despite the heat, everyone had a great time celebrating their hard work and bonding with one another.

Nashville summer interns host career fair for youth

Our Nashville summer interns did a fabulous job on their summer internship project, a component for all of oNashville Interns Career Fairur paid summer interns at Youth Villages. This group went above and beyond to identify a valuable project to leave a great impact on the youth we serve. The group decided to host a career fair for the youth being treated in our group homes in Nashville, TN. These teens were able to meet community members from across Nashville and learn about their career paths and potential career opportunities for them in the future. The youth had great feedback about the event and are excited for what their future holds now armed with more information about career options.

Meet Kara Faso, Senior Family Intervention Specialist in Columbia, Tennessee

Kara FasoMeet Kara Faso, Senior Family Intervention Specialist in our Columbia, Tennessee office. Kara has been with the company just over a year and is an exceptional asset to the team.  Work alongside Kara in Columbia to make a difference in the lives of families and children and families by visiting and search Columbia, Tennessee.

Have you always lived in Columbia or did you relocate?
I am originally from New York but I have lived in Tennessee for over 5 years now. I lived in Cookeville while I was pursuing my master’s degree. I moved to Columbia when I was hired with Youth Villages over a year ago.

Did you always want to work with children and families?
Ever since I was little I knew that I wanted to be in the counseling field. After my parents’ divorce, I knew that working with children would be my calling.  Once I began the path of counseling and working with a wide variety of different clients, I knew that children and families would be my area of focus.

What is the best part about your job?
Working with the youth would be my favorite part. Some of the youth that we serve with are close to giving up or don’t know what else to do. Being able to work with the youth to decrease behaviors is very rewarding. Knowing that you played a small part in that change makes the job worthwhile. One of the other great things about working for Youth Villages is the flexibility and that is what initially “sold” me during my first interview. I like being able to mold my own schedule. Because of my great time management skills, I could easily prioritize my schedule and get my work done at my own pace when I was an in-home specialist, which made the job much easier.

What is most challenging about your job?
I would have to say working with a family or youth that is reluctant to services. Establishing good engagement with the family is most challenging. Some families are resistant to services and don’t trust some providers but once you establish a strong rapport, the rest falls into place. I love that in the Intercept program we can help so many families that initially feel like they’ve done and tried everything. That challenge is what I personally love about my job. We work with youth and families that Read more of this post

Meet Haley Parks, an outstanding staff at our Deer Valley Campus

Haley Deer ValleyMeet Haley Parks, a Behavioral Youth Counselor (also known as an Overnight Teacher Counselor) at our Deer Valley campus in Linden, Tennessee. Join our team alongside Haley at our Deer Valley campus by applying at

What was your background before coming to Youth Villages?
I received an Associates of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors degree in Sociology. I have always worked with youth whether it be at church or at camp. Before coming to work for Youth Villages, I also worked at a preschool.

What do you love about living in the the middle Tennessee area?
I went to college in the town where I am living now, so I have a lot of friends that live nearby and my parents are only an hour away. I enjoy spending time with friends and going to church. I commute from the area where I live to the Deer Valley campus for my four-day work week.

What is a challenging part of your job?
I had to learn to how to handle myself when youth are acting out by calling me every name in the book. Even thought it can be stressful in the moment, I had to learn to not let it bother me and let the kids see that.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job is seeing youth accomplish their goals and making progress in treatment.

Summer staff face off during annual Intern Bash

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The 2014 summer staff gathered at the Bartlett Campus lake for one of the fiercest competitions of the year – the annual Intern Bash! The interns kicked off the competition by splitting into four teams and coming up with creative names, such as The Pat Attack, Team Playa, Internz on the Block and Kite Krew, and spirited cheers and chants. They then hit the water for some wacky canoe races, including rowing while blindfolded, retrieving water bottles from the fountain, changing places in the canoes and dodging water balloons. They also had to avoid splash attacks from YV CEO Pat Lawler and residential and recruiting staff! Following the competition, the interns enjoyed a cookout with Pat, Sister Barbara and other YV staff.

Clinical Consultant Lindsay Sgambellone earns New Hampshire license

Lindsay SgambelloneLindsay Sgambellone, clinical consultant at the Woburn office, recently became a licensed clinical mental health counselor in New Hampshire. Sgambellone is also a licensed mental health counselor in Massachusetts.

Sgambellone has been passionate about psychology since she took her first class in high school.

“I was fascinated in learning about the human brain and why people behave in particular ways,” she said.

Sgambellone had a particular interest in working with children and gravitated toward the atypical population. She was fascinated with autism spectrum disorders. It was those interests that influenced her to continue her education in the mental health counseling field and obtain her license.

To earn her New Hampshire license, Sgambellone was required to complete 3,600 clinical hours and 180 supervision hours. After completing the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, she had to complete the New Hampshire licensure application and be reviewed by the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice.

Sgambellone has worked for Youth Villages for seven years. She holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling with a concentration in child and adolescence and a minor in forensics from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor’s degree from New England College. She is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health Counselors.

“I feel very fortunate to work for an agency that has supported me through this entire process, and now I have the ability to give back and support YV all alround the country!” she said.

Youth Villages’ youth take to the national stage

At the end of May, a number of our youth got national recognition through Katie Couric’s show and the White House. They are helping to emphasize the importance of support for young adults aging out of the foster care system. Check out the post here and consider joining our Transitional Living team of specialists at




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