Family Flow on a Fun Fact Friday type of day!

beach blue sky cheerful clouds

Photo by Artem Bali on

#FamilyFlowFridays #FosterFriday #FunFactFriday

Youth Villages is the FORCE for FAMILIES in different areas. Youth Villages is able to make an impact across the country, so our staff (co-family) get to enjoy different cities with attractions while impacting lives. Biloxi, MS is popular due to the beach. So, could you imagine being able to play in the sand while enjoying a natural sun tan? Who needs a vacation to the beach, when you have the luxury of the beach  in your backyard! You can relax at the beach on Monday night and get back to work Tuesday morning without having to catch a flight. YV is offering you an opportunity and our Foster Care program in Biloxi, MS is looking for YOU! Please click the link to apply:



Kellie Van Pelt on supporting YV’s expansion to greater Columbus, Ohio

August will mark two years since Kellie joined Youth Villages and if there’s something she’s learned, it’s that you cannot do this job alone. Thankfully, her supportive team in Tennessee gave her a solid start and now Kellie is learning how to provide that support to her new team as a clinical supervisor in our pilot program in the greater Columbus, OH area.

Youth Villages recently expanded to provide intensive in-home family treatment across Franklin County, Ohio, with our office in Worthington – about a 20 minute drive from downtown Columbus. Our work aligned with Kellie’s belief that children do well with their own families.

Columbus cool

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“Prior to YV, I was already a believer that children will do well with their own families. I believe that every member in the family can benefit from counseling and build skills in order to decrease the conflict in the home. YV closely matched this idea. At YV we believe that children successfully do well with their families and we live up to this idea daily through the work that we do. We strive to strengthen these families through our intensity, urgency and through our passion.”

And it’s not just the families she’s impacting – she also plays a key role in supporting her team of Family Intervention Specialists.Kellie van pelt

“I have been with the company for almost two years in August and the one thing I’ve learned is that you CANNOT do this job alone. The work that we do is very intensive and can be stressful at times therefore the support of your team is essential. Having a supportive team can make the difference in how someone views the job. Since leading the new team in Ohio I’ve learned that I have to be open with my staff and creating a space where they feel comfortable leaning on me for support.

The most rewarding part of my role is being able to help shape and guide our counselors professionally and personally. I enjoy watching my staff having moments where they are able to see their own personal growth. For example, one of my counselors struggled with treatment plans and as time went on, they were able to effectively complete the plans individually. While there are many rewarding parts of the role however, the most challenging part of my role is knowing that every counselor is unique in their learning and in their own role. Attempting to teach unique learning styles can be difficult. I have had to shift my thinking in order to meet the needs of counselors individually. “

 Youth Villages even offers Leadership Development courses centered around social styles, how to have challenging conversations, and more to help prepare our staff for the transition to leadership. We know that having strong leaders makes a world of difference for our teams.

Kellie is committed to continuing to grow as a leader and in the social work field, and is currently working towards her goal of obtaining an MSW/PHD with Ohio State University. Youth Villages offers tuition reimbursement for fulltime employees that can make reaching those goals more feasible.

“I chose to relocate to Ohio because I wanted to enhance my professional skills and to continue to grow within the company. When the opportunity presented itself I automatically had a vision for this office. Prior to the position posting I was visiting Ohio monthly, as well as seeking admission into Ohio State University so, I automatically felt that this would be the best fit for me. My favorite part about living here is the many food places to try. Coming from rural Tennessee, I had limited places to explore, here in Ohio I have a plethora of attractions.’

And, when she’s not exploring new restaurants, she enjoys drawing and painting and most of all, spending time with her sweet puppy, Buttah!

If you’re looking to be a part of our expansion in Ohio and want to be a part of team committed to making sure you have the support you need to be successful, check out our opportunities for in-home counselors in Franklin County, Ohio!




Meet Karen McReynolds – exemplifying the YV Way in Chattanooga

Meet Karen McReynolds – Chattanooga foster parent developer, pastor, mom, former Whitney Houston impersonator, and excellent example of the “YV Way.” Her creativity and compassion makes her a valuable part of the YV family – read more about her journey!

Karen attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana (where we also have a Youth Villages office!) with a B A. Psychology/ Minor Afro-American Studies and Master’s of Ministry in Biblical Counseling from Covington Theological Seminary. She started with Youth Villages in 2015 in what she calls her “third career!”

Karen McReynolds Prof. Picture


“I’m originally from Chattanooga but I moved to Indianapolis, IN when I was ten years old. I was raised there and finished college there. I worked in Chattanooga a number of years, moved to Knoxville, and then relocated back to Chattanooga to work at YV.  I love the scenery the rivers and park areas. I also like the quietness of the area. It’s just beautiful here.


Formerly I was the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition for a number of years and I have extensive experience in community relations and how agencies are perceived in the community. But my heart was always drawn towards ministry so after completing my master’s of ministry in counseling, I went into full time Ministry as the Executive Pastor of New Birth Knoxville Church. I did lay counseling there and became interested in being more securely trained. After our church plant moved I came to work for Youth Villages in Knoxville in February 2015.”

Now, she works as a Foster Parent Developer in our therapeutic foster care program which works to find safe and stable homes for with youth who have experienced trauma and have behavioral & mental health needs.

“As a Foster Parent Developer the most rewarding part is working with the parents to support them in the process of becoming a forever home for our youth. The most challenging part would be trying to prevent replacement and disruptions of our kiddos. It can be a very emotionally painful process to watch them go through.”

Through it all, Karen has exemplified “The YV Way,” which is a commitment to providing the best level of customer service, particularly finding the “WHY” behind what we do, and providing empathetic and active listening to foster parents and community members.

“I’ve learned that team work certainly does make the dream work. I’ve always have been a big picture girl… team work has been crucial and important to me but I also pride myself in understanding processes from the bottom up and from the top down. This has allowed me to work firmly within the bounds of character and integrity. These two attributes play a huge role in building relationships within YV and outside of it as well with our staff and with our consumers. You literally have to do what you say you’re going to do — all while representing yourself and YV well.”

Karen clearly brings lots of life and energy to her job, and lets her creativity shine through her various involvement in the community and the arts too.

“I am a fully Licensed and Ordained Pastor and Elder. I have also recently finished the musical play The Wiz (Chattanooga Theater Center). It was a complete full sell out run, the first in the history of the Center! I played the Wiz. I’ve also sat on several boards and Advisory Committees throughout the Southeast region and I’m a federally trained grant writer.”

Her impressive performance as the Wiz was recognized across Chattanooga – check out more below:

the wiz

Important to her is her family, faith and self-care “the keys to me living my best life,” she says. She also brags on her family – “I have a 6’6” son who is a sophomore in college (Miles) who plays basketball and my daughter (Mackenzie) is a Senior in HS and she will be graduating this year.”  

We are thankful for the richness she brings to our team in Chatt!

Check out more opportunities in the beautiful region here.


Canoe the summer away in Linden, TN #funfactfriday

Last month until school is out! Summer time in Linden, TN means canoeing at the Crazy Horse Recreational Park and enjoying Mousetail Landing State Park or you can take a short drive to Nashville, TN for concerts, nice restaurants, and other summer fun activities. Many people who live here enjoy having a small community to depend on.  Come join our close knit team at our Deer Valley Campus- Now hiring teachers, Nurses, and direct care staff! #funfactfriday


Meet Arvell: MSW grad from Oklahoma on why Tulsa is home and how he helps strengthen families

For someone who enjoys researching his family history through genealogy, moving back to Oklahoma after graduating with his MSW from Clark Atlanta University was a great way to reconnect with his roots, and his family. Meet Arvell Alexander – an Oklahoma native who started as a master’s level Family Intervention Specialist last year and recently transitioned into a new role as Clinical Liaison where he now supports boA.Alexanderth the Intercept in-home family treatment and YVLifeSet transitional living programs.

“I am originally from Oklahoma, but moved to Atlanta, GA in 2014 to attend grad school. After being away from Oklahoma and graduating, I thought it was time to come back home and spend some time with my family, specifically my grandmother. Tulsa has grown a lot, and is constantly adding things to make the city more fun for young professionals. I love Oklahoma specifically because its home and where my family lives, but I love Oklahoma’s rich history and exploring all the great places to eat!”

Tulsa is home to him and now he also works to strengthen homes and families in the community.

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“The most rewarding part of my position [as a family intervention specialist] is being able to watch the families grow as they learn and develop the tools you have given. It is rewarding to see some of the negative behaviors decrease as the youth and family becomes adjusted to their new environment, as well as seeing communication grow to where parents are able to understand the child more as well as understand themselves better in the process.”

So how did Arvell end up at Youth Villages?

“After graduating from grad school and having done internships at an array of agencies, I was unsure of where I wanted my focus to be when I started working. After researching Youth Villages, I came to find out that it offered great opportunities for growth, and would aid me in become licensed as well as several other perks.”

Many of our staff pursue clinical licensure as well as further education and take advantage of YV’s reimbursement, but regardless, ample training is provided for all staff members to help them provide the best level of care to youth and to families as well as develop personally & professionally.

“I’ve learned a great deal over the past couple months. With all the trainings Youth Villages offers, I feel it really equips you to do your job efficiently. I have learned much about myself: how to better organize, how to communicate more effectively, as well as what it’s like to be responsible for my schedule as opposed to clocking in & out of an office.”

For our community-based staff in particular, there’s a lot to juggle that can be challenging, from deadlines for documentation, to understanding the treatment planning process, and learning how to balance your calendar so you are able to meet all of your families throughout the week.

As you can tell through Arvell’s story, Youth Villages is not only a force for families, but a force for our employees. We are committed to providing training & strong leadership so that you can grow (and we promote from within!)

If you’re looking for a flexible schedule where you are engaged with the community and your team, check out opportunities in Tulsa, OK!

**Now offering $2,000 Sign-On Payment & $4,000 Relocation Assistance!**

Family Intervention Specialist

YVLifeSet Transitional Living Specialist








Meet Caroline: using her passion & skills to impact families in Knoxville, TN

Caroline Locke knows that a success for families is also a win for her – and she’s committed to being on a family’s team until they can find something that works for them or their child.

“I wanted a job where I could make a difference and work one-on-one with people,” Caroline says. “I wanted a career where I could use my passions and skills. YV also offers a job that changes every single day and I love the challenge of a changing work environment.”Lauren Locke

And she found that mix working as a Family Intervention Specialist in Knoxville, TN.

She initially started gaining experience through several non-profit internships during her undergrad studies at East Tennessee State University, where she earned a BA in women’s studies with a minor in social work. She then worked in domestic violence advocacy for a year after graduation before deciding to pursue a field working with children.

“The last few months have taught me SO much, but I’ve learned so much about myself. This job has highlighted my strengths and showed me my weaknesses. I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence in myself and my abilities,” she reflects.

While she originally started working in Johnson City, TN, she ended up relocating to Knoxville last July where she was able to continue working in the same role. “I decided I wanted to be closer to my family and friends. I wanted to live in an exciting city with things to do and Knoxville offered that to me. YV gave me the opportunity to keep a job I love and move to a city that better suited me and my career/educational goals.”

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Having the support network of friends and family can be immensely helpful, as the job can be hectic and dealing with a family’s lived experiences can be demanding.

Another way that Caroline has found to practice self-care? Yoga!

“I am training to become a registered yoga teacher! When I’m not working or practicing yoga, I love to play video games and I dabble in painting.”

We are certainly thankful for well-rounded people who are committed to our youth and families as well as their own personal & professional development.

“I’m so thankful YV gave me this opportunity to try a whole new role. I’ve learned and grown so much since starting this job!”

Come grow with us in Knoxville!

Fun fact Friday- Come Relax in Portland, OR!!!!

Forest Park trail

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Photo via Yoga Rocks the Park blog

Portland, OR is a relaxing place for everyone to enjoy trees and beautiful sights. For nature lovers, Laurelhurst Park is a family friendly park with picnic tables, basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. The park welcomes pets as well. Portland has four other parks to help families enjoy time together.


Come join us as a Family Intervention Specialist in Portland, OR. We will help you move to this beautiful city. We are offering $2,000 Sign-On Payment & $3,000 Relocation Assistance.

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