Meet some of our amazing grads!

May is a month of milestones – and here at Youth Villages we are celebrating a few amazing ones! Even though many celebrations, including graduations, are looking a bit different this year – that doesn’t stop our team from cheering on our newest gradutes.

We took a moment to learn more about four amazing New England staff members who, after many months of hard work and dedication, just received their Master’s degrees. Below they share their advice, challenges, triumphs and motivation.

Meet Nicole McDonald

Nicole is a Family Intervention Specialist in our Springfield, MA office. She has been with Youth Villages for four years and is graduating from Cambridge College in Springfield with her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling!

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“Some advice that I have for people looking to continue their education is to learn to balance work, school and personal life! And to lean on your support system. My supervisor and regional supervisor were great with supporting me with making plans to achieve my masters especially around my internship schedule, which was very demanding and requesting 20+ hours a week, on top of taking classes! They were able to help calm my nerves by working out a schedule and ensuring that my clients were more local than before. My largest motivator, even though it sometimes seemed school lasted forever, was having that end date! I rewarded myself with a nice vacation as soon as internship ended, and that was enough drive to make it another year of classes!”

Danielle Pendelton

Daneille is a clinical supervisor for our Intercept program in Raynham, MA. She is has been with YV for over four years and is graduating from Simmons Master’s in Social Work online program.

DP “Make sure to prioritize self-care (whatever that means to you), advocate for your internship placements, and don’t leave everything until the last minute. My team was super supportive in covering things when I was in my internship, particularly when I needed to be out of the office two days a week. The experience allowed me to apply so much of my education to the youth and families I was working with.

Being out of the office twice a week during my internship was the hardest thing to balance, despite the incredible support from my team. The online program allowed more flexibility to complete the program while working full time, though it could be challenging to ensure prioritizing the needs between work and school needs.

My motivation comes from my father, who was pursuing higher education my entire life, and impressed in me that regardless of how old you get or how long it takes, it will be worth it. My partner has been my rock, I truly couldn’t have gotten through it without his support and continued push to follow my dreams!

I actually don’t finish classes until June 21, so I don’t have any sense of relief just yet! But I can’t wait to be able to plan activities & vacations without worrying about a school schedule, spend more time with my partner & our pup, and just watch TV without worrying about my school responsibilities!”

Giulia Leite

Giulia recently joined our team as a LifeSet Specialist serving youth on Cape Cod, MA. Giulia is getting ready to graduate from Suffolk University with her Master’s in Crime and Justice Studies with a focus on Victim Advocacy.

GL“You definitely need to put in a lot of effort when it comes to graduate school but also make sure that you make enough time for yourself because time to relax and distress is super important! With my two last classes this summer, YV allowed me to have a flexible schedule to get to finish my degree

What kept me motivated the most was mainly my fiancé, I faced many personal and family issues this past year and without his support I do not think I could have finished. I feel so relieved that all the work I did counted for something! It is a big weight lifted off my shoulders and I could not be happier!”

Sofia Noguer 

Sofia just joined our team as a Family Intervention Specialist based in our Raynham office. She also just completed her Masters in Public Administration from Clark University in Worcester, MA.

SNI think that with more education, there are so many more opportunities open to me. I’m not sure what career I’ll end up with, but I feel I have so many choices!

For anyone pursuing a Masters degree, my advice would be to stay with it! There will be times when you get too tired and dropping out may feel easier. In the end, pushing through feels amazing and life after will feel much easier than if you hadn’t gone through the program!

We want to share a huge congratulations to these wonderful team members on their accomplishments. We can’t wait to see how you continue to grow and develop at Youth Villages!

If you are looking for a rewarding position that will support your with you educational goals (including tuition reimbursemnt and licensure supervision), you can learn more about joining our team by visiting our careers page. You can also reach out to your regional recruiters – Coryn and Isabelle at coryn.roberts@youthvillages.org or isabelle.thibault@youthvillages.org for more information!

New England’s Staying Positive – you’ve got a friend in us!

Spring in New England can be unpredictable – sunshine & snow showers, winter coats & shorts and usually lots and lots of rain. This spring we are experiencing another level of unpredictability, but our New England staff isn’t letting this get in the way of their positive attitudes.

In March, when we started transitioning out of our regular routine and began trying to create a new normal, there was confusion and a whirlwind of changes but also an amazing amount of flexibility and determination to serve youth and families (and staff) in the best way. To lift everyone spirits, the Intercept team in Manchester, NH created a video full of singing, dancing and cheer. They sent it out to the entire New England team and nominated our team in Springfield, MA to do the same. So far, we’ve seen songs, dances and remixes like You’ve Got a Friend in Me, Raynham Rocks, We Are Family, Springfield Full House, Can’t Stop the YV, and YVContinuum being produced from our offices Manchester, Springfield, Raynham and Woburn.

Check out the video that started it all!

We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Even though we aren’t together in the same way, we are still finding ways to connect and have fun, which reminds us how special it is to be a part of the Youth Villages community.

If you are interested in learning more about joining our team, visit our careers site or reach out to your regional New England Recruiters – Coryn and Isabelle. They can be reached at coryn.roberts@youthvillages.org or isabelle.thibault@youthvillages.org

Meet Tony Willis, Regional Supervisor in Tulsa, OK

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Tony started out with Youth Villages back in 2015 as a Family Intervention Specialist in Clarksville, TN. Tony has taken advantage of the many growth opportunities offered at Youth Villages which is what eventually led him to Tulsa. Today, Tony is the Regional Supervisor over the Tulsa office and this is his journey!


Why did you choose to work at YV?

What appealed to me the most was the opportunity for a full time position and getting experience working with kids and families. Another thing that I liked about Youth Villages when I was going through the hiring process was learning about their mission and values, and feeling like it was something that I could get behind and uphold. It’s difficult to comprehend in the beginning just how intense this position can be, or how rewarding it will be, but the opportunities are endless which is why I have remained with YV.

How have you seen yourself grow while working at YV?

It’s a personal mission and a personal value to always be growing. I’d say the biggest area of growth is confidence. At the time of my being hired I was not very confident at all, not with clinical decisions, and certainly not with the prospect of managing all of the documentation. In the time that I’ve been here I’ve received boatloads of clinical training, leadership training, and an immense amount of support from my Youth Villages family. Also, there’s been an exponential increase in the number of dad jokes that I share each day, so I’d say that’s another area of growth!  

Are you from Tulsa? If not, why did you relocate? 

I am not from Tulsa. In March of 2015 YV recruiters reached out to me to see if I was interested in applying for a position as a Family Intervention Specialist with our Clarksville, TN office, and by May I was hired on. I relocated to Tulsa for a Regional Supervisor position where I’ve been for almost two years.

What is your favorite part about living in and/or favorite things to do in the area?

There is no shortage of pizzerias, donut shops, or cafes here which is great because those are my main food staples. Oklahoma also has a rich history to explore in both big cities and small towns. The best part of Oklahoma has to be our sunsets, especially at some of the more scenic locations. 

Meet Cameron aka Mr. Reed! YV 360 Behavioral Youth Counselor at Bill’s Place!

1Q: Please tell me your name, where you are from, what school you graduated from and what you studied? 

A: My name is Cameron Reed Padgett, or Mr. Reed as the youth I work with call me. I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in History.

Q:What drew you to the YV 360 program?

A: The opportunities to grow as a leader, to learn from a mentor, to learn Collaborative Problem Solving, and being able to work with youth in a residential environment initially drew me to the YV 360 program. This program gives you a unique chance to work with youth in an intimate environment that you would not otherwise have.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about the program?

A: I have enjoyed having opportunities to grow as a leader and the trainings that you receive to help you do that. Learning Collaborative Problem solving has been one of the highlights of YV 360 for me because it has allowed me to be able to communicate with my peers and the youth I work with more effectively. I have also enjoyed getting to work and grow with my peers in the YV 360 program.

Q: Tell us about your mentor- what lessons have you learned from you mentor?

A: My mentor, Malcolm Crawford Assistant Director of the Dogwood Campus, has helped me plan the path that I need to take in order to better prepare for going back to school to get my masters in counselling psychology and what jobs in Youth Villages would best help me for that path.

Q:What do you hope to gain from this program?

A: I hope to gain the knowledge I need to grow as a leader and to grow in my professional career.

Q: Do you plan to continue to your future plans?

A: I do plan to continue my future plans of getting a masters in clinical psychology and this program has helped me to better understand the steps that I need to do that.

Q: Have your career goals changed from when you entered the program?

A: My career goals have not changed, however, YV 360 has helped nurture my love for psychology and working with youth. This program has reminded me of my passion to help people. I hope to stay with Youth Villages as I move into the future.

Q: Do you have any advice for future YV 360 participants?

A: My advice for future YV 360 participants would be to ask as many questions as possible. This program is unique because of the leadership opportunities you receive and the opportunity to work with some amazing youth. This program will provide for you as much as you put into it.

“I could see myself working there, and was excited about the move.” Kelsey Crabtree, Asheville Clinical Sup

In a continuing our series highlighting the wonderful area that is Asheville, NC we meet Kelsey Crabtree, Intercept Clinical Supervisor. She started with YV in Chattanooga, TN, and was drawn in by the locale, the feel, and the local staff!KCrabtree1

  1. Tell us a bit about your educational background/ what school(s) you attended: 

I did both graduate school and undergraduate at the University of TN at Chattanooga and finished in 2016. Chattanooga, TN is my hometown.

  1. What drew you to our organization?

When I finished undergraduate school I applied to Youth Villages, but was told that I wouldn’t be able to do graduate school while working full-time, and to apply again after I got my master’s. Throughout graduate school I thought I would eventually want to work with adults even though I knew I loved kids. I’d worked with kids on the autism spectrum at a summer camp, and I had also been teaching violin for years and really preferred teaching my kiddos as opposed to adults. It was just more fun to get creative in ways to help them learn. When looking at open positions I saw Youth Villages and decided to give it another go. I can honestly say I had no idea what was in store for me, but I’m so thankful that I applied and got the job!

  1. What has your career path looked like so far at Youth Villages? How have you seen yourself grow while working at YV?  

I started as a family intervention specialist in the Intercept program. Throughout that time, I grew and developed as a counselor, aided by tons of opportunities to learn and practice using evidence-based practices. I also was able to participate in the leadership preparatory course, leading to a promotion to clinical supervisor after working here for almost 2.5 years. This June, I will have worked for YV for 4 years, which is hard to believe! I feel like I’ve learned more than I ever imagined in my time at Youth Villages so far, and I still feel like I’m learning more every day. That’s one of the main things I love about working here. There will always be opportunities to grow, develop, and hone clinical and leadership skills. It’s fun to think back to where I was when I first started vs where I am now, and I love that it’s now a part of my job to support the development of new counselors.

  1. How long have you been living in Asheville? What’s been your favorite part about living in the area?

I started working at the Chattanooga office and about 6 months in, I got married and we did our honeymoon in Asheville, NC. My husband is a musician and we saw a lot more opportunity here for his career than in our hometown. When I saw there was an open position, it was a no brainer! I applied and transferred, and we’ve loved living in Asheville. I’d have to say one of my favorite parts about living in this area is the access to live music. We get a lot of great acts coming through Asheville and it seems like there’s always something fun to do! People in this area really support live music and local artists as well, which creates a beautiful culture and atmosphere.

  1. What was it about YV in Asheville that motivated you to move?

When I came to Asheville for my face to face interview, I could tell that the office had a nice atmosphere and everyone seemed on top of things. I could see myself working there and was excited about the move. I remember being pleasantly surprised to see a “Welcome to Asheville, Kelsey!” sign in the entrance when I walked in on the first day. At that point, I knew I’d probably made a good choice.

  1. KCrabtree2Any favorite hobbies or fun facts about you?

I have a little boy who is 6 months old named Jasper, so he’s kind of my hobby at the moment! Some other interests I have are reading (particularly Harry Potter), going to concerts, and touring around downtown.

  1. Any words of advice for folks looking into relocating to Asheville?

It’s definitely more affordable if you look for housing on the outskirts of town, Asheville is very dog friendly, and you’ll love it here!

Meet Kathleen Ramage: An Enhanced Follow-Up Specialist in Oregon striving to make an impact

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What impact do you feel like Youth Villages has made on families?

Youth Villages has helped countless families in communities across the country stay together and work through past trauma, or a current difficult situation, in a productive way.  Employees here strive to meet families where they’re at and provide hope when systems have continually failed them.

What is your role in that impact?

Recently, my role has been to provide a clear path towards healing after a crisis, typically a suicide attempt or overdose.  For most families, this is the scariest moment they have yet to experience with their child.  I provide support for a few weeks afterwards over the phone, in the homes and schools, and by ensuring they have all the referrals and appointments necessary in order to keep them out of the ED in the future.

What has been one of your biggest successes at Youth Villages?

I’ve played a key role in the success and growth of the Portland Crisis Support program.  It’s only a few years old, and we are seeing a steady increase of kids coming into our hospital for primarily suicide attempts.  Most hospitals either admit a kid to an inpatient facility or discharge home with little to no resources or follow-up. Our model is unique, in that we ‘follow-up’ with kids and families for a minimum of two-weeks to provide crisis stabilization support and intense care-coordination.  This past month, we saw 53 kids and logged 838 ‘follow-up’ notes, despite having a team of just myself and four full-time clinicians.  In January 2019, my role was created in order to keep providing the best quality of care to families, and to build in an extra layer of support to Crisis staff.  I’m proud to say that I’ve taken my role and ran with it, looking for new ways daily to improve our quality of care and presence in the community.

What motivated you to want to help families?

I have four younger sisters and have always felt a sense of pride in having a small part in raising them.  It inspired me to want to work with kids and then I quickly learned that in order to be successful with kids, you have to have the whole family involved.  I want kids to be excited to live their lives and in order to do that I try to give families the tools necessary to foster that.

Why did you choose Youth Villages?

When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to be in the non-profit world and I decided applying to be an AmeriCorps member was the best way to get experience.  The Youth Villages Inner Harbour AmeriCorps program was the most unique direct service program I applied to.  I knew I would be working for almost a year with kids at a residential treatment facility.  However, the magical spirit of that campus, tight nit work families, and ability to give kids a platform to use their voice for maybe the first time in their lives is what made me want to stay with Youth Villages as a full-time staff member.

What is one of your favorite things about Oregon?

It’s easily one of the most beautiful states in the country.  I love taking drives through the Columbia River Gorge on my days off and exploring the waterfalls.

 

 

If you are interested in applying and getting a chance to work with Kathleen on a team, or elsewhere, follow this link: https://careers-youthvillages.icims.com/jobs/intro?hashed=-435621526&mobile=false&width=1223&height=500&bga=true&needsRedirect=false&jan1offset=-360&jun1offset=-300

Meet Rachel Alvarez! A Registered Nurse (RN) at our new Bill’s Place facility!

Are you interested in learning more about our nursing opportunities at Youth Villages? Click here to apply today!

Take some time to learn more about Rachel who is currently working as an RN in our new Bill’s Place facility!

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Q: How long have you been with Youth Villages? What positions did you have before moving into your current role?

A: I have been working for two months at YV. Previously I was working as an RN at a mental health facility with adults and children. I also worked as a public health nurse.

Q:Why did you accept the offer from Youth Villages?

A: I accepted the offer from YV because I love to help people and working with the youth.

Q: What has been your favorite moment while working with Youth Villages so far?

A: I like seeing the smiles from the youth and the staff.

Q: What has been the toughest part of the job?

A: A change in work hours, but I am adapting.

Q: What is the difference between working at Youth Villages verse other clinical settings you’ve worked in? 

A: I had worked in psychiatric nursing before with youth, the approach with the youth and staff seems to be a bit more easy going at Youth Villages.

Q: What is your favorite way to spend your time when you’re not at the office? 

A: I enjoy live music, going to plays, painting, and just relaxing with my friends and family.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a current job seeker applying to Youth Villages?

A: The application process can move fast if you have all the requirements of hire.

Q: What is the best self-care activity would you recommend to a new employee? 

A: Getting plenty of rest and “YOU” time (taking care of yourself. )

 

 

 

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