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!!

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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.

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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

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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.
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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.”

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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! 

Our Employee Spotlight is Shining Bright on Jessica

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Meet Jessica Haney, a Youth Villages Masters Level Residential Counselor!

Part of Jessica’s role is to work directly with youth on a daily basis providing individual, group, and family therapy to each resident; while facilitating treatment meetings and consultations. We asked Jessica to describe what she does in three words. The three words she chose was rewarding, fulfilling, and challenging. However, if you were to ask others what Jessica does on a daily basis, they would say, shaping our future.

Jessica has worked with Youth Villages for two years now. During those two years she has worked as a Masters Level Clinical Liaison and now a Masters Level Counselor. “I started as an intern with Youth Villages at the Rose Center for Girls during my undergraduate studies and I loved the experience of being able to make a difference with the population that we serve. As I learned more about the company, I was able to see a lot of opportunity for growth and development in my specific career choice of counseling and that sparked an interest in me to continue with the company.”

We asked Jessica for one lesson she wished she would have known before she started her role at Youth Villages, she said, “Having patience is a key factor for this job. Being able to stay patient with the youth along with the cases.” Jessica explained working in the social services field can be tough, but it is important to find something that you enjoy and helps you relax. Her best piece advice to a new employee about self-care would be, “Take time for you! Anything you can do to help you relax and take your mind off work.” Jessica makes sure to prioritize her self-care by going to the gym to coach baton twirling, going to get her nails done, or going to the park with her dog Maggie. She loves to spend time with her family and friends whether or not they sit at home or travel. Jessica H 1

Throughout her time at Youth Villages she has enjoyed being able to make a difference for the youth. She loves going into sessions and seeing the smiles on her girls’ faces when they tell her they used their coping skills when a peer made them upset or mad. Along with helping her girl’s problem solve, Jessica explained her proudest moment working at YV was the opening of Janie’s House. She was so thankful to be able to work with the girls to prepare for the opening and hear them talk to Steven Tyler about the work he does and how thankful they were for his service.

We asked Jessica if there was someone who has helped her throughout her career at Youth Villages, she explained, “Anyone who has been a part of the Bartlett Clinical team has helped me in so many ways. I could not be more blessed with a team that is as supportive and encouraging as the clinical team on the Bartlett Campus. We all work together to help one another in need, whether it is work related or not. I know that I can go to any of my coworkers if I need help or advice on a case or if I need advice about life in general. That is what makes working on this team so special, just knowing that you have that love and support from your teammates/coworkers. To name a few specific people, my first supervisor Elizabeth Okoli, she was so patient with me coming into the position and showing me how to enter documentation. Also Rankin Cox, she was my adviser while I was an intern and is still a support for me today at Youth Villages. She has helped me so much with providing advice on cases and treatment along with preparing me for licensure.”

To all future staff, here is a little piece of advice from Jessica: “I would encourage you to have an open heart and open mind to the youth that you would be working with, and I’d encourage you to be understanding with our kids as some of them come from backgrounds where they did not have a family or that love and support that they need.”

Thank you Jessica for your constant patience, understanding, dedication to Youth Villages! 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 Residential Counselor or Master’s Level Clinical Liaison.

 

Behind the Scenes Master Supervisor!!

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Meet Erica, she is out Clinical Supervisor over the Natchez, Vicksburg, Brookhaven MYPAC teams. As a clinical supervisor, Erica does a lot of her work behind the scenes supporting her staff who support the families of Mississippi! Erica is an extremely important part of Youth Villages Mississippi and we are excited to share some fun information about her!

 

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

I attended William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS with a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology.

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

Youth Villages is a fast pace environment and every day is different. You will learn how to be resilient and confident in your field of work.  Youth Villages staff receives adequate training and is offered Licensure Supervision. Youth Villages believes that children come first and we stand behind our mission and values. We work as a team and are supported by leadership. Youth Villages provides their employees with great benefit packages. We are given a laptop, which is called the “Dash”. The Dash allows us to sign monthly documentation, which eliminates the use of paper. At Youth Villages, our schedules are flexible and the job is rewarding.

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

I chose to work at Youth Villages in Mississippi because their mission and values are aligned with my personal beliefs. Also, this job allows me to work flexible hours and have time to care for my family.

How have you seen yourself grow while working here?

My therapeutic skills has improved over time with the support from our treatment team and trainings. After working as a therapist for three years, I was promoted to Clinical Supervisor. Youth Villages provides staff development trainings to prepare you for future opportunities and advancement.

Tell me some Fun facts about yourself!

I enjoy spending time in my daily devotionals. I love being a mom, fishing, shopping and traveling.

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

I would recommend they spend time learning their job efficiently, organize their work schedule in order to have time to spend with their family to develop a healthy work life balance. Self-care is important as well as seeking support from your immediate supervisor and team members. Most importantly keep an open mind when working with children and families.

 

We are currently hiring Mental Health Therapists in the Natchez, Vicksburg, Brookhaven area. If you would like to join the team please visit https://www.youthvillages.org/careers/ !!

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