nicole

 

Meet our AMAZING MYPAC Regional Supervisor Nicole!!! She has done so much to help build South Mississippi’s MYPAC program!!!

What is your educational background and what school did you attend?

After I graduated from Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport Michigan, I attended Nursing school at Delta Community College in Bay City Michigan. After I completed the prerequisites for Nursing I decided that I would join the Army to help pay for college. I was in the Army for 11 years and was never able to complete my nursing degree. When I got out of the Army, I decided that I wanted to be a stay at home mom for a while; and when my daughter was four I decided to go back and get my degree in Psychology/Counseling. I attended Kaplan University, which is now Purdue Global; and I got my Bachelor’s degree as well as my Master’s degree in four years.

What is it like to work for Youth Villages in Mississippi?

I absolutely love working for Youth Villages. I have been employed with Youth Villages for four years and seven months and I have held three positions since being hired. I was originally hired April 21, 2015 as a Mental Health Therapist. In December 2015 I applied for the Clinical Supervisor position and on January 1, 2016 I was hired as the interim Clinical Supervisor on a ninety day trial. After ninety days, I took the position as the Clinical Supervisor for the Hattiesburg Clinical team. In June of 2019, I applied to be the Regional MYPAC Supervisor for the South region covering Meridian, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi. I officially took my position as the Regional Supervisor on July 1, 2019. Being at Youth Villages has been very rewarding for me at all levels of employment that I have had from front line staff to Regional. Every day I feel like I am able to make a difference in these children’s and families lives based on the specific skill set that I have.

What made you choose to come work for Youth Villages in Mississippi? 

I wanted to work for an agency that I had the potential for growth in. When I had my interview for the Mental Health Therapist job, one of my questions was if there was room for growth. It is obvious, for me anyway, that the room was there. I have been promoted twice since being hired. This company impresses me with the work that is being done with youth, but specifically girls who have experienced sexual trauma and abuse. The creation of Janie’s House has had a huge impact on me personally because of my own personal experiences as a child. Being able to help these children and make a difference helps to heal my own heart in ways that are immeasurable.

 How have you seen yourself grow while working here?

I have grown tremendously. I started as a Mental Health Therapist April 2015 and by January 2016; I was interim Clinical Supervisor and was later officially promoted after ninety days. I had a very high functioning clinical team and we won awards due the high intensity of the work and effort that my team exhibited. I was then promoted in July 2019 to the Regional MYPAC Supervisor position that I hold now. Since being the Regional Supervisor, all three teams have decreased the amount of unfunded cases that we currently have by more than half.

Tell me some Fun facts about yourself!

I was in the Army for 11 years, I originally went in to pay for college but then I had my son and all of my focus went to him. I have two beautiful children who are my driving force for my life. Robbie is 23 and he currently a Nurse as well as in school for a higher Nursing degree and Nevaeh is 15 and in the 9th grade. Nevaeh is brilliantly smart and makes all A’s. She is athletic and artistic and wants to got to Ole Miss and become an orthodontist. My kids are the focus of my life and they are why I do what I do every day. I have been married to my husband Adrian for almost 18 years. We were set up on a blind date and only knew each other for 4 weeks before we got married. I have three cats and three dogs, all of which we rescued from shelters. I have 27 tattoos all over my body. I was a bodybuilder for 3 years when my son was a baby.

 What advice would you give to someone starting out at Youth Village?

ASK QUESTIONS!! Do not ever be afraid to ask question and learn. We understand that you are new and do not know your job, but we are also very busy and it is easy to forget something. Be willing to help others, it means more than you know to recognize and help someone who is struggling. Be focused, the job we do in MYPAC is so very crucial to these children and families and they need everything we have in order to succeed. In addition, most importantly, be confident in your skills. We hired you because we have confidence in you.

 

If you want to join Nicole’s team or many of our other wonderful teams at Youth Villages please visit: https://www.youthvillages.org/careers/

 

Meet Sarah Janes!

Meet Sarah!.pngSarah Janes is an Extension of Foster Care Specialist here at Youth Villages. We had the opportunity to talk about her experience with Youth Villages, the hiring process, and what she does here at YV to help children and families live successfully!

Q: How did you initially get involved with Youth Villages?

I had a friend in graduate school who knew about Youth Villages and after hearing about the organization I decided to apply. I began working for the Intercept program in June of 2018.

Q: Walk us through your journey here at YV?

My YV journey has consisted of a lot of transition and new experiences. I began working in the Intercept program in June of 2018. I worked primarily with families in rural areas surrounding Chattanooga, which was a new population for me. After about 7 months I moved over to the LifeSet program where I worked as a transitional living specialist for about a month and a half. Around this time Youth Villages introduced a new contract with the Department of Children’s Services that added Extension of Foster Care to the program. In March, I took on the role as Extension of Foster Care Specialist where I work exclusively with youth who have aged out of foster care and are pursuing further education. There has been a huge learning curve with this position since I was the first in the state to hold only EFC cases at Youth Villages. So far it has been a great experience and has connected me to more resources in my community. I also assist with outpatient mental health therapy at the Bradley County juvenile detention center, which I started around October of 2018. I go to the detention center once a week and meet with kids in DCS custody to help them process their time at the detention center.

Q: You’ve traveled to (and lived) in several places, what do you feel like prepared you the most for life at YV?

Living in and travelling to new places has exposed me to different cultures and individuals, which has helped me become a more adaptable person. This has translated to me being able to adapt to new environments, schedules, people, and job roles. There are opportunities at YV I may not have taken if I did not have these experiences.

Q: What made you relocate and settle on Chattanooga?

Chattanooga was a bit of a random choice for me. I had a couple friends who had visited the area before and thought it would be a good fit for me. I knew I didn’t want to stay in South Carolina after grad school, so during my last year I decided to visit and ended up really liking the area. I then began applying to jobs and looking for an apartment in Chattanooga.  Fortunately, I got the call on the day I was moving to Chattanooga that I had gotten the position with Youth Villages.

Q: You’ve been with Youth Villages since 2018, what motivates you to stay on at YV?

More than anything I love the culture of YV. The Chattanooga office specifically has so many supportive people including our supervisors and regional supervisor. That support and having had so many opportunities within the organization have been my primary motivators to stay.

Q: What do you think Youth Villages excels at?

I think YV excels at taking care of their employees and providing quality evidence-based care to their clients.

Q: What advice would you have for an upcoming graduate who wants to pursue a career here at YV?

I would say go into the job knowing you are going to learn a ton and gain a lot of experience. Everyone wants to be helpful and see you grow as a professional so ask as many questions as possible. It’s also a great idea to take every opportunity you are offered while at YV, and if you have interests outside of your position, make those known to your supervisor and those around you.

Q: What do you do for self-care?

Hiking is great for me, especially if I am feeling particularly stressed. I also love spending time cuddling with my dog, climbing, and watching movies.

Thank you Sarah!

For anyone who is interested in pursuing a career here at Youth Villagers, click here to browse our open positions, internship opportunities, and see what Youth Villages has to offer!

 

Meet Brittany Farrar #VFL

UTK FarrarBrittany has been working with Youth Villages for 12 years in multiple roles but got her start in Cookeville, TN as a Foster Care Counselor. Brittany graduated with her MSSW from the University of Tennessee, and has had the opportunity to put it to work during his time here at Youth Villages. I had the opportunity to talk with her briefly about her experience here at Youth Villages, and why she believes in the work that Youth Villages is doing.

Q: How did you initially get involved with Youth Villages?

I was living in Tallahassee, Florida a little over a year out of my Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and working in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. While there is a definite need for acute care, I noticed many of the same patients cycling through inpatient and found that part of the issue was a lack of intensive services in the community to help them access necessary support at home. I was looking for a new opportunity, stumbled upon Youth Villages and was immediately intrigued. Next thing you know, I was attending an Open House in our Cookeville, Tennessee office!

Q: Can you take us through your journey here at YV?

I initially interviewed during an Open House in the Cookeville, Tennessee office and found my place in 2007 as a Foster Care Counselor serving the Upper Cumberland region. I absolutely loved that role and the mix between working with youth in foster care, their foster parents, their biological families and my ability to advocate for permanency and well-being. The camaraderie and team atmosphere at Youth Villages had me hooked from the beginning and as a result, I pursued my Master’s in Social Work from UTK to prepare me for future leadership opportunities here. From there I moved into a Clinical Supervisor role for Cookeville Treatment Foster Care and shortly after the Regional Supervisor for Rural Middle TN, overseeing a variety of our community based programs including Treatment Foster Care, Intensive In-Home Services, YVLifeset and Adoptions. I later moved into a Regional Manager and then Assistant Director role for these programs. In 2017, I became the Director for TN Specialized Crisis Services, where we provide mobile crisis services to 75% of the state of TN. In 2019, I began a new role as the Regional Director for Middle TN Community Based Services and TN Specialized Crisis Services, which combines my work with programs like foster care, and intensive in-home services (to name a few!) with crisis services. It has been an exciting ride so far and such an amazing feeling to contribute in this way.

Q: During your time at UTK, what do you feel like prepared you the most for life at YV?

I attended UTK through the Distance Education program while working at Youth Villages. While it was really challenging, it also taught me a lot about prioritization, flexibility and determination – all really important things in the field of Social Work! The program gave me a great combination of theoretical and applied practice. I focused on the macro area of Social Work, which I could not be more grateful for now that my role has expanded to one that blends management with clinical oversight.

Q: You’ve been with Youth Villages since 2007, in different capacities, but what motivates you to stay on at YV?

First and foremost is the people – both those I work alongside and the youth and families with whom we work. I am inspired every day by our staff who are truly agents of change and the challenges our youth and families overcome. I am driven by new challenges and continued growth and have always had that opportunity at Youth Villages. Whether it has been learning new programs, traveling to other regions to assist or new leadership opportunities, I have always felt the company as a whole was invested in my growth and development and helping me to become the best Social Worker I can be.

Q: What do you think Youth Villages excels at?

We are an agency with high integrity and strong commitment to our mission and values. They spell out how we make decisions and all integrate together. We are incredibly innovative and we don’t just say we will do it, we do what we say we do. Youth Villages has a research department that ensures we are providing positive, lasting results with 6, 12, and 24-month follow up which speaks to our investment to providing the highest quality services.

Q: What advice would you have for an upcoming graduate who wants to pursue a career here at YV?

Youth Villages truly provides an atmosphere where you can learn, develop clinical skills and grow as part of a team. The team component is really important here so be sure to ask for help when needed because we all make it our priority to have each other’s back.  There are a variety of programs that will allow you to find your place and know you are contributing to the proven success of well deserving youth and families. I hope to call you my colleague soon!

Youth Villages will be on campus on September 25th, 2019 from 3pm – 6pm in Thompson Boling Arena for the Career Fair!

 

Meet Ajay Rashé!!

AR FB Post TTU (1).png

Meet Ajay!

Ajay has been working with Youth Villages for 4 years as a Foster Care Counselor in Cookeville, TN and is an alum from Tennessee Tech. Ajay graduated with a Masters in Mental Health and Counseling in 2015, and has had the opportunity to put it to work during his time as a counselor. I had the opportunity to talk with him briefly about his experience here at Youth Villages, and why he chooses to continue to work in a foster care counselor role.

Q: Tell me a little bit about how you got involved with Youth Villages?

A: I was wanting to work with the community at hand, and the option to work with children in foster care seemed like a great learning experience. My mother was raised in foster care, and I know what she told me about her experience. I wanted to make a difference for kids who have had difficult upbringings and needed someone to talk to.

Q: What is your favorite part about working as a Foster Care Counselor? Why?

A: My favorite part is the day to day interactions with my kids. I feel that as much as I can teach them, they can teach me as well. As adults we are told that we are no longer able to play, and working with our kids reminds me that playing is equally as healing as talking.

Q: How do you keep your own mental health a priority?

A: I make sure to know my own limits of power, influence, and responsibility. I make sure to keep contact with like-minded professionals to figure out how to manage the stress of the job as well as stressors in life. I also make a point to maintain my relationship with my family, and making purposeful time for myself. I also set out times where I leave my phone at home or in a room alone to reconnect with my environment and reduce the temptation of replying to messages/emails.

Q: How do you feel Tennessee Tech prepared you for working at Youth Villages?

A: TTU gave me the theoretical background and knowledge to make sense of the real life struggles that my kids face daily. Gave me the insight of purposeful communication, and how to allow space for kids to find their own truths in life.

Q: Give me a brief snapshot of a success story from Cookeville Foster Care:

A: After 3 years in a foster home, a child was recently adopted with a family whom the youth has only known as their parents. Any adoption is a success and an experience I feel very honored to be a part of.

Q: What makes you proud to be part of the YV family?

A: YV is part of my family, we support each other however we can. I think the struggles we see daily can jade anyone, and my YV family is able to sit with me when struggling and make sense of the things we cannot control.

Q: What is some advice you would give to future employees or new hires?

A: Advice I would give…Just be you. Don’t try to meet expectations of those around you because you will not be able to meet them. Find your own voice and speak authentically from it.

Thank you Ajay! Employees like you are the reason that Youth Villages can be successful!

Come visit us at the Youth Villages booth at the Tennessee Tech Career Fair tomorrow, September 17th from 11am-2pm in the Roaden University Center Multipurpose Room!

If you are interested in learning more about Youth Villages and the employment opportunities we currently have, click here!

Meet Marista Lipsey!

Meet Marista Lipsey, a Youth Villages Master’s Level Counselor!marista l

Marista has worked with Youth Villages for about a year now. She started as a Master’s Level Clinical Liaison after graduating with her master’s in social work from the University of Tennessee and was promoted to a Master’s Level Counselor within her first year!

As a Masters Level Clinical Liaison, Marista had the opportunity to provide individual, group, and family therapy for our youth in the residential programs while also serving as a liaison between residential direct care, leadership, and clinical staff.

As we all know, working in the social services field can be tough, so it is important to prioritize self-care. Marista’s best piece of advice to a new employee about self-care would be, “give yourself mental health days when you need it.” Marista makes sure to prioritize her self-care by spending time with her family and friends, reading an inspirational book, and exercising.

Throughout her time at Youth Villages, she has enjoyed interacting with her staff as well as building rapport with the youth. Marista explained her proudest moment working at YV was when one of her youth discharged from her location and stepped down to another. After stepping down the youth was able to move into a foster home. Before leaving, the youth surprised Marista at work and explained she didn’t want to leave before saying thank you and goodbye to Marista. Marista explained working with an at risk population can be difficult, but moments like that make it all worth it.

marista and co workers

Marista Lipsey, TaMiah Thomas, Tiffany May

While most of Marista’s social work experience was in a school setting before coming to YV, she found that she was able to grow in the residential setting with the support of the clinical team and leadership. She credits Tiffany May and TaMiah Thomas (both master’s level counselors) as incredible supports for her. During her time as a MLCL they were very patient and set clear expectations of her role and continue to support her as a Masters Level Counselor. She mentioned they were always there to give advice and support. She admired the way they interacted with the youth and were able to build such strong rapport with each of the youth. She also recognized Delana Pence, her clinical manager, as the definition of supportive. Throughout her time at Youth Villages, Delana has always been willing to train and answer any questions she had.

Marista explained part of the reason she continues to work with Youth Villages is because of the support and relationship she has built with other Youth Villages staff. They are always there for her and continually help her grow professionally and personally. They may even spend their Friday lunches bonding over a good plate of wings.

To all future staff, here is a little piece of advice from Marista: “Take time to master your role before moving up and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!”

Thank you Marista for your dedication and commitment to helping youth live successfully! If you’re interested in joining a supportive team where you’re able to make a difference, submit an application today for a Master’s Level Clinical Liaison.

 

Employee Spotlight: Regional Supervisor Chyrelle Morris

Chyrelle

Meet our MYPAC Clinical Regional Supervisor Chyrelle Morris in Biloxi!!!

Read more about Chyrelle’s experience with Youth Villages and her experience opening a BRAND NEW office in Biloxi!!

What is your educational background and what school did you attend?

I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Mississippi and master’s Counseling Psychology degree from William Carey University.

What is it like to work for Youth Villages in Mississippi?

It is a rewarding experience to work with Youth Villages MS. We get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the magnolia state while traveling to see our families. The offices here provide a level of high support for each other. Nothing beats southern hospitality.

What made you choose to come work for Youth Villages in Mississippi?

I interned at Dogwood my junior year of college. When I graduate Youth Villages was my first job choice. I graduated in May and started with Youth Villages in July. I have grown with Youth Villages from early adulthood to motherhood. I have been here nine years and it has been a great experience.

How have you seen yourself grow while working here?

I have grown in many ways at Youth Villages. I have had some great supervisors over the years that have really invested in me to develop my skills.

Tell me some Fun facts about yourself!

I love Ole Miss Hotty Toddy! I am a mother to a four year old daughter. I enjoy my self care time in the gym.

What advice would you give to someone starting out at Youth Village?   

Be flexible. There is some much room for opportunity and growth with the company. The company overall has great morale and invests in staff.

 

If you want to join the Youth Villages team please visit https://www.youthvillages.org/careers/ to check out current openings!!!

Employee Spotlight: Tabitha Paylor

Every May, Youth Villages welcomes 75 to 80 college students to our residential campuses and group homes for our competitive summer internship program. Often, many of these interns go on to work as full-time employees in our residential programs and beyond. One of those former interns is Oklahoma employee Tabitha Paylor.
tabitha paylor

Tabitha may have just completed her first year as a full-time family intervention specialist in Tulsa, but her Youth Villages experience started long before, when she was still a student at Oral Roberts University.

Having switched her major from psychology to social work, Tabitha loved the idea of impacting people and their environment, though she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do in the field of social work.

“I knew I did not want to simply be a caseworker,” she said. “A Youth Villages representative spoke in our class and described exactly what I wanted to do in the community.”

 

Not long after, Tabitha began working at Youth Villages as a summer intern at the former Deer Valley campus in Tennessee. Describing her internship as challenging and positive, Tabitha worked as a teacher-counselor full time between two cabins housing boys, while also shadowing counselor Jillian Quilty.

“I learned a lot from the staff and the boys in how to better model emotional regulation, de-escalate crises and build appropriate therapeutic rapport,” Tabitha recalled.

Tabitha gave credit to both Jillian and staff member Adriana Kee for showing her how to handle situations that arose with the youth they worked with in residential during her internship.

“Both women exhibited appropriate boundaries while creating safe environments for the boys to process through trauma and enhance their abilities to meet expectations,” Tabitha said. “They showed me that any intervention with rapport is significantly more powerful.”

tabitha 2

The support she received from leadership during her internship helped Tabitha decide she’d like to work for Youth Villages. After graduating with honors in 2018, she joined the YVIntercept team in her hometown of Tulsa.

“I learned firsthand that Youth Villages takes care of their employees and supports them,” she said.

Tabitha says her current supervisor, Jordan Wagner, has also been a motivating force for her as she started her career.

“Jordan has been incredibly helpful in both keeping me accountable and challenging me to be a better specialist and better serve my families,” Tabitha said.

Currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work from the University of Oklahoma, Tabitha hopes to transition into a clinical liaison position in the future and to learn more about the YVLifeSet program. She is also interested in learning more about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT).

In her free time, Tabitha enjoys hiking, and she has traveled extensively since she was 16 years old for mission trips and humanitarian work.

For the latest interns joining the Youth Villages family this summer, Tabitha advises they should come ready to use their own skillset but also be open to learning new things.

“Be willing to learn from every youth you come into contact with, along with the skilled staff you’ll work alongside.”

Our Oklahoma team is hiring in Tulsa and Oklahoma City!

Now offering hiring incentives as well – check it out! 

%d bloggers like this: