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



Staff promoted Foster Care Awareness Month in May

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Foster care recruiters across Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama were hard at work promoting the need for foster parents during Foster Care Awareness Month in May and offices across the region thanked their local foster parents by holding appreciation events. Many locations honored foster parents with picnics, complete with inflatables, games and cartoon characters. Mississippi foster parents and children also had a chance to bond during their annual May Fun Days. Families enjoyed trips to the Hattiesburg Zoo, the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The Jump Park in Chattanooga showed their appreciation by inviting foster families to come jump on their indoor trampolines at a discounted rate. Youth Villages staff also joined in by wearing blue for Foster Care Awareness.

To consider joining our team as a Foster Care Counselor, visit

Shovonne Williams completes Inner Harbour Emerging Leaders program

Shovonne Williams, a substitute teacher on the Inner Harbour Campus, recently completed the campus’s Emerging Leaders program. Shovonne began working at Inner Harbour in October 2012 as a teacher-counselor and was promoted to substitute teacher in 2014. She is currently working on her teaching certification. Through the Emerging Leaders program, Shovonne shadowed Inner Harbour Principal Penny Honeycutt and learned about the educational system within residential treatment. She was able to discuss her career goals and come up with a plan of action for her future. The Emerging Leaders program has helped Shovonne find her path at Youth Villages.shavonne

Interns kick off summer with barbecue and games

Fifty-six college students and graduates recently arrived in Memphis to take part in Youth Villages’ summer internship program. They kicked off the summer with a barbecue picnic at CEO Pat Lawler’s house. They played games and had the opportunity to meet informally with Youth Villages’ leadership. The interns were selected from more than 1,000 applicants. They come from 26 states and represent 46 colleges and universities. The interns will be working at Bartlett, Dogwood, the Boys Center, the Girls Center, Deer Valley and the group homes in Memphis and Nashville. Their summer will also include several fun activities, such as the annual intern bash at the Bartlett Campus, a game night at the Operations Center and tours of Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Operations Center rocks out during cookout

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The Operations Center (Youth Villages’ headquarters) had a rockin’ good time during the office’s spring cookout. The annual cookout, organized by the YV officers and the building committee, returned after a brief hiatus. Staff enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and veggie burgers grilled by the YV officers, as well as sides provided by Corky’s BBQ. They also enjoyed outdoor games, such as cornhole and ladder toss, while listening to some of their favorite rock tunes. The employees enjoyed spending some time outside in the beautiful weather and look forward to reinstating the cookout as an annual tradition.

Meet LeBrandon Silmon, clinical supervisor in Tupelo

SIlmonMeet LeBrandon Silmon, clinical supervisor in the Tupelo, Miss. office.

What was your educational/experience background before coming to Youth Villages?

I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology with a specialization in community counseling. I also have a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. I have worked with an array of populations including sexual abuse victims, recovering addicts, adolescent females with conduct disorders, and intellectually disabled adults.

What do you love about living in your town?

I enjoy living in Tupelo because it is a small city and most businesses and attractions are close together. I go to different parks to walk, sightsee, or just relax for fun. In addition, the city is close to Birmingham, Alabama and Memphis, Tennessee.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of the job is building rapport with youth and/or families who do not take ownership of their actions and behaviors. Developing that working relationship with families that feel that no one can help them or understand their needs is always challenging.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing families praise YV employees for doing such a great job and helping them reach their full potential.

Join LeBrandon’s team in Tupelo today at

Indiana Career Opportunities Webinar

MadisonDo you have a Master’s or will you be graduated soon with a Master’s degree? Then join our webinar to learn more about the Master’s-level positions we are hiring for in the state of Indiana. We offer competitive salaries, opportunities for advancement, great benefits, and relocation assistance to select areas.

Indiana Career Opportunities Webinar

January 21st at 5 pm EST

Register here:

Shelbi’s Summer Internship Experience

This summer was one of the best summers of my life. I worked on the Dogwood Campus in cottage  5. When I first came to Memphis, I was afraid and I did not know what I was getting into. I knew it was going to be an experience but I had no idea that this would be the most influential summer of my life. I looked forward to going to work everyday. My youth were awesome. I even got to celebrate my 21st birthday at work. My most enjoyable moment was coming into work one day and seeing my most “off-task” youth meet “gold” three days in a row – indicating he was displaying positive behavior change. It made my day to see that he was working on improving. I had some very active boys and outside recreation time was their favorite although I can’t say it was my favorite activity with the Memphis heat! Despite that, I enjoyed my summer internship experience. The staff of Youth Villages made me feel very welcomed and I felt like I belonged there. This summer I gained patience and a lot of respect for the people who work in the cottages with the youth year-round. I am excited about the potential to work for Youth Villages in the future either as an intern again or as a YV 360 staff member.intern blog


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