Summer Intern Spotlight: Camari Claiborne!

Every morning before heading into work at the group homes in Nashville, Camari goes for a run in Sevier Park – what she says is a refreshing way to start her day at one of her favorite places in the city.

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina (Queen City!) and a student at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, Camari has taken this summer to explore Nashville and to figure out more about the field she wants to go into after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology.

“I’ve worked with kids a lot but never have I worked with kids who suffer from trauma and deal with emotional and behavioral issues,” Camari explains. “I have learned that you have to be extremely attentive, supportive, and that it’s impossible not to get emotionally attached to the kids– especially when you’re passionate about the job! This internship has been extremely challenging but it has taught me so much and I feel as if I’m learning so much that I can take into the next chapter of my life.”

At North Carolina A&T, she’s on the executive board of HerCampus @ NCAT as the secretary, and is involved in Ladies of Excellence, Psi Chi International Honors Society, and is a resident assistant. She also has been involved in the New Students Program as a Campus Life Mentor. In the Greensboro Community, she does off-campus community service at Habitat For Humanity and Empowered Girls of NC.

Camari demonstrates the high caliber of our interns who come in with extensive student leadership experience – and who start planning on early on how to meet their goals.


“I chose to intern at YV because I saw many [work] opportunities open for fields such as psychology and social work….but there are not a lot of open internship opportunities as there are for business or engineering students, for example. When researching internships, I came across YV and after speaking to the recruitment team via phone, I had a feeling YV was the perfect place for me. My goals for the summer included opening up more, being more interpersonal, learning more about myself and which field to go into after undergrad.”

Camari’s college career has taken her to different places, from Barcelona during a study-abroad semester and now to Nashville (where she claims to have found the best tacos – Caribbean Jerk Tacos from Taco Mamacita!) Throughout her experiences, Camari has incorporated her creativity and love of traveling, writing, cooking, and spending time with friends & family.

We’re excited to see where she goes next!

Read more about our paid internship program and our Nashville group homes. 

Summer Intern Spotlight: Daniqua Drayton!

This week was a busy week celebrating our summer interns – starting off with a minute-to-win-it game night and intern bash,complete with canoe races and a cookout. We are very thankful for the hard work our Memphis, Linden, and Nashville interns have put in this summer!

Daniqua Drayton – psychology major/social work minor at Newberry College – is a great example of an intern in pursuit of an opportunity to grow, learn, and give back. She’s added humor and kindness to the team – evident in her work with the youth as well as during peer consultations & training.

Now past the halfway point of the internship, Daniqua reflects on her experience working in one of our West TN group homes.


Why did you choose to intern with Youth Villages?

“I chose to intern here at Youth Villages because I honestly felt like I would have a great experience and I also felt like this internship would challenge me tremendously. My goals for the summer are simple. To learn and GROW from this experience.” 

What has your experience been so far?

“These past few weeks have been amazing. I think the most important thing I have learned is to be patient and a good listener. A lot of the youth just want someone that actually takes the time to listen to what they have to say. The most challenging thing so far would have to be getting some of the youth to listen to me when I try to enforce the rules. Some of them will listen and there’s some that will ignore me. The most exciting part of this internship is getting to know all of their personalities! Every one of them are truly unique and it has been such a joy working with them this summer.”  

As any of the interns will tell you, working with youth so intensively and bringing energy and patience each shift can be draining! Daniqua has been able to do that and has still made some time for fun in Memphis…

“I think my favorite thing I’ve done so far is go to the zoo! I’m literally scared of every animal, insect, etc but I actually enjoyed the zoo. I jumped a few times at certain things. But hey, it was worth it! I even saw some new animals I’ve never seen/heard of! It was great.”

Other fun facts to know about her?

“I am double jointed in both of my arms, I was a hurdler on the track team back in high school, and I work at a Opera house back home in South Carolina! (Thought that was kinda cool). “

(and we do too).

As she prepares to graduate in December, we know her desire to grow and her positive outlook will serve her well. We hope that her experience with our youth this summer will give her important skills and perspective as she starts her career!




Summer Intern Spotlight – Treva Hartlaub!

What would draw someone to trek 13 hours south from Gettysburg, PA for the summer? Along with her love of long car rides with friends & traveling to new places, Treva chose to be an intern this summer at Youth Villages because she “knew it would challenge me in multiple ways that most internships….would not.”

She stepped up to the challenge and jumped in right away, committed to supporting our youth at our Bartlett residential treatment program.

“My goals for this summer are to learn how to de-escalate youth before they go into a crisis, improve on processing skills with the youth, and understanding how to take skills from this internship and implement them into my future work within the field.”

Having previous experience as an intern at a short-term treatment facility, a member of the academic society Alpha Lambda Delta, and a teacher assistant for Liberty University’s psychology department, she has already had valuable experience as she pursues her long-term goal of leading a group home for girls.  TrevaHartlaub

And over the last 5 weeks, Treva has noticed that she has continued to grow as she works with our kids with behavioral and emotional needs who have experienced trauma.

“I have learned that in order to work in the residential field, you have to have a lot of patience. Patience is not something that comes easy to me, but it is a daily characteristic that I need to work on. Sometimes the youth will say or do things that may hurt me, but at the end of the day it is important to remember that these youth have been through a lot of pain and trauma that youth should not have to endure. It honestly makes me more committed to serving them because

I want them to know that they are loved and cared for no matter what they say or do, and that if they set their minds on a positive future, they can achieve it. All that being said, this internship challenges my patience, but also grows my love for people in general, which is exciting.”

We’ve enjoyed getting to know Treva as we approach the halfway mark of the internship program. Her patience and trauma-informed approach has made a big difference for our boys.  Other fun facts you may not know: She is named after both of her great grandmas (both named Treva!), and loves Jesus, sports, and thrift shopping.

Her favorite experience this summer?

“My favorite thing I have done in Memphis so far would have to be competing in my first official 5k race, but getting to do so along side some of the boys I work with in my cottage. I love supporting people, so being able to watch some of my boys compete and compete myself was a real blessing and super fun! It is a memory I will cherish forever.”

Thanks for spending your summer with YV, Treva!

Read more about our summer internship program.

Mississippi Music

MS 7

This is Jimmy Wayne, famous country musician, with one of our Mississippi staff! Jimmy is from North Carolina, but country music’s roots and especially the formation of blues music, is attributed to Mississippi. The Mississippi Blues trail is currently being created by the state and many famous blues musicians come from Mississippi. Beyond the blues and country, Elvis Presley is from Mississippi, as are musicians like Jimmy Buffet, 3 Doors Down, David Banner, and Afroman. Mississippi is truly a musical state! #FunFactFriday

Come join Youth Villages in Mississippi and be part of the music! You can look at opportunities to live the#YVKiteLife by going here and searching for Mississippi programs:


Summer Intern Spotlight – Charity Cotten!

Meet Charity Cotten – summer intern at our Dogwood Campus here in the greater Memphis, TN area!

Charity cottenCharity is originally from Biloxi, MS and graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s in Social Work last month from, as she puts it, “the greatest alma mater” –  Mississippi Valley State University. She was very involved during her time there, as an active member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, University Choir, Valley Singers, Chi Nu Theta Student Organization, Social Work Club, and University Ambassadors.

It’s no surprise that someone with such leadership experience, ambition, and an enthusiastic & energetic personality has had a strong start as a summer intern here with Youth Villages.

We checked in with Charity to hear about her experience a couple weeks in:

Why did you choose to intern at Youth Villages?

Great question! I chose it because first I love children and the interaction with them; however so many things and people played a part in my decision making. I am hoping to gain experience in working with youth have been labeled as having a disability. Since I have been working with them, my goal has become one where I want to let my little ladies, as I call them, understand that it’s never to late to have dreams and actually excel in spite of obstacles that come. 

What is your favorite thing you’ve done in Memphis so far?

The thing I have enjoyed most is meeting new people and having the greatest blessing of all which is family. This internship has allowed me to open the door to bigger and greater things in all aspects of life. However I can’t wait to attend the Civil Rights Museum (one of our intern outings throughout the summer, which also include a Red Birds game, game night, BBQ at our CEO’s house, and Intern Bash on the lake!)

Any more fun facts we should know about you?

I absolutely love to smile and mingle with others! I love to read, play sports, and I enjoy my time with family and friends!

We’re excited about the impact that Charity will make this summer with the girls she works with – from teaching life skills, building positive, trusting rapport, helping them practice coping skills, and acting as a positive role model!

60 interns from across the country started their 10-week, full-time internship on May 30 and are placed at our Tennessee residential programs in Memphis, Linden, and Nashville. You can learn more about our paid summer internship program here.  




Emergency Room Diversion Program!

Youth Villages recently expanded services in Bend & Portland area. We are now offering Emergency Room Diversion services. Amy Gray- Clinical Supervisor for ER Diversion, provides an inside look into ERDS program. Check it out!


What makes ER Diversion program different from traditional crisis services?

Youth Villages’ ER Diversion program is a little different from county run crisis programs in that we work directly with the hospitals and respond primarily to the ER to work with kids and families in crisis. Traditionally this is done by hospital social workers but more and more hospitals were noticing a gap in care with there be very limited to no follow-up for these families once they left the ER.

 Youth Villages is able to work intensely with each family while in the ER conducting a thorough assessment and comprehensive safety plan and then providing two additional weeks of follow-up, 24/7 crisis response and care coordination to make sure families are able to connect to community resources to decrease recidivism to the ER and increase supports to help them be successful in the long run.

 If a youth presents as an imminent risk and would need to remain in the ER we work to facility those referrals and are rounding on the client twice a day to begin working on therapeutic interventions they can utilize while in the ER and hopefully generalize when they are no longer there.   


How did Youth Villages get involved with providing ER services?

Youth Villages became involved with ER services through collaborative conversations with local communities and hospitals. ERs were noticing a large number of youth presenting with mental health and behavioral health crises and this was an area where something different needed to happen to help these kids and families. Youth Villages Oregon was able to respond to this need by taking the basic model of YV Tennessee’s Crisis program and molding it to fit the specific needs of each hospital and community we are serving.

 Describe some advantages/benefits of working an ER based program?

Working in the ER is an exciting fast paced environment. There is something new every day and we have the ability to reach kids and families in their most vulnerable moments providing them with a safe and empathetic space to be open about their concerns and what has been going on while also giving them support in safety planning and working as an advocate for them in the community.

Working in the ER also gives you a chance to learn how a hospital functions what it looks like for families to go through that process. ER Diversion will give you the ability to sharpen your clinical assessment skills and helps to open the mental health system up, giving you a chance to collaborate with a wide variety of providers, diagnoses, referral sources, schools and to advocate for best care for that family in each arena. You also have the ability to do exciting intense work while on shift with the ability to detach and turn your phone off when not scheduled which many counselors really appreciate as well as working a member of a close knit team of clinicians.

How many clients are served on a daily basis?

We can see anywhere from 1-5 clients on average on any given day in the ER with follow-ups and home visits with clients in our monitoring.

Sounds interesting? Full- Time & PRN Positions!!! Apply Today:

Cookeville, TN… An Awesome Place to Live!

Cookeville is a beautiful city located in middle Tennessee. It’s home to several lakes and rivers with tons of outdoor activities to engage in. The weather in Cookeville includes temperatures and humidity that are slightly lower than surrounding cities like Nashville, but you can still expect hot and humid summers with mild, cool winters. #FunFactFriday
Youth Villages is hiring Family Intervention Specialists in Cookeville right now! You can help children and families like the one in the photo. So if you enjoy the outdoors and beautiful scenery, check out our opportunity by clicking here:
We are offering up to $2,000 in relocation reimbursement plus a $2,000 sign-on payment! Come be part of making a difference and live the #YVKiteLIfeFoster Family2
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