Passionate Youth Villages Educator

BridgettHarrisToday Bridgett Harris who is an awesome educator at Youth Villages shares what makes Youth Villages so special for an educator.

What is your education background/what school did you attend?

I currently hold my Bachelors of Science degree from Rust College. I am currently working on my Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix. I also hold my license to teach high school science.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

I love my job. I have always prided myself in being great with the written word and I love the fact that I am able to be a teacher first and an administrator second. Most challenging? Attempting to balance my work life and my family life so that not either one suffers a “lack of” my attention.

 Why did you choose to come work at YV?

This is actually my second go around with Youth Villages. When I first moved to Memphis I worked with Youth Villages as an OTC with Coteswood Group Home. I left that position to work in my actual field of study. The company ended up moving to Canada, which I was given a position if I was to move. I opted to not move to Canada and remained in the area. I came back to Youth Villages because I felt proud of the work that I was doing with the kids that we serve and felt more accomplished in doing this than in anything else.

What have you learned most since coming to YV?

I have learned a lot about myself and my ability to touch the lives of not just the students that we serve but my co-workers as well. I have also come to the realization that if I help at least one child I have helped thousands. We come in contact with people every day and in one way or another we impact their lives whether positively or negatively. If I am doing my job to the best of my ability and I give my all to the girls that I serve I am making major ripples in the fabric of our world.

 How have you seen yourself grow?

For the most part I am a very passive person. Working here has really tested me to step out of that shell and become more assertive when necessary. What have you learned since starting as a principal? Just this week I have found myself having those very necessary, very awkward conversations. The ones that are difficult but very necessary to have if we as a program are to move forward and keep the kids that we serve at the forefront of our minds.

 Any fun facts about yourself?

I love to watch movies and I watch them over and over again to the point that I can recite them.

What’s your favorite part about living in Memphis /what’s your favorite thing to do in the area?

My favorite part about being in Memphis is the amount of life that is going on in the city 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is ALWAYS something to do here, no matter your taste.

 Anything else we should know?

Youth Villages, like any other company, has its ups and downs. It’s not just about the company that keeps us coming back, it’s also  about the way we feel when we see a child reunited with their families or united with a new family. It’s about getting the letters in the mail or emails saying “Thank you for all that you did for your child.” That’s what has kept and will continue to keep this company moving forward and touching the lives of the world.

Meet two of our Family Intervention Specialists and hear about why they chose Indianapolis!

We checked in with two of our Family Intervention Specialists in Indianapolis about their YV journey!

Join our Indy team! 

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What is your education background/what school did you attend?

Jami: I have my master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN.

Michelle: I have my master’s of science in Education, Concentration- Clinical Mental Health from Indiana University South Bend.

What is the most rewarding part of your role? 

J: So far, the most rewarding part of my role has been advocating for my kids in the school system. The most challenging part has been learning time management for this role!

M: The most rewarding part of my role is seeing families make lifestyle changes and the families’ willingness to want to learn new things. The most challenging thing would be trusting the process and getting families to trust the process. Once we can get through that obstacle things tend to be okay.

Why did you choose to come work at YV?

J: I chose to come work at YV because moving back to Indiana caused me to need additional internship hours to meet state requirements for licensure, even though I already completed my master’s degree. YV was willing to hire me at master’s level and work with me to obtain those additional hours. I also loved the number of positions and locations the company has!

M: I was looking to relocate and I wanted to get into the counseling field and when I was doing my research I liked the work that YV was doing. Have a small caseload of families was appealing to me. I knew I could grow as a clinician in the field by working for YV.

What have you learned most since coming to YV?

J: This role has been a great reminder of the difference we can make in people’s lives, good or bad. The role made me re-establish a new self-care routine for myself that helps with challenges I face day to day. It was a great reminder that my personal needs will change with the different seasons of life.

M: I’ve learned that kids do well if they can! This has been something I have adopted in my personal life I tend to say people do well if they can. We all have lagging skills and can improve in some fashion. I have grown by becoming a better listener and keeping an open mind.

Any fun facts about yourself?

J: When I lived in Nashville, TN I was part of the leadership team of a choir called SONUS. They are an alumni group of the choir I participated in during my undergrad, and leaving them was the hardest part about moving back to Indy. I also have 2 cats, and one of them only has 3 legs!

M: I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA I love the Steelers and I love to workout whenever I can.

What’s your favorite part about living in Indianapolis?

J: My favorite part of living in Indianapolis is that I spent most of my life in Indy as a kid, so moving back as an adult I really do appreciate it that much more. It has so much history and culture that I never even noticed when I was younger. I love going to Indianapolis Colts games at Lucas Oil Stadium!

M: I just moved to Indianapolis and my favorite thing to do is spending time with my nephew and brother right now.

Anything else we should know?

J: I am extremely thankful to YV for this role and for the growth I know I will have because of it!

M: I like to play games on my phone during my spare time!



Meet Shauna from our Intercept program in Salem, OR!

spotlightWhat is your education background/what school did you attend?

I received my Bachelors of Arts in Communications from Western Oregon University and then attended the Master’s in Social Work program at Portland State University.

 What is the most rewarding part of your role? Most challenging?

Watching families, in whatever form, learn how to interact differently and support each other in a healthy way is one of the most rewarding parts of my role. The most rewarding part is seeing a child and parent feel whole with each other and relief that they were able to gain the skills needed to be successful in the community. The most challenging is working within a broken mental health system, the lack of resources, an underfunded school system, and lack of education or support for mental health needs.

Why did you choose to come work at YV?

I feel like YV chose me. I looked into many different job opportunities, YV sounded daunting at first, but I wanted a challenge. It is the work, the values, and the support of children and families that makes me stay.

What have you learned most since coming to YV? How have you seen yourself grow?

I have learned what kind of therapist that I want to be, how to look adversity in the eye and move forward, how to push my belief systems, and I have grown in my ability to handle different communication styles.

Any fun facts about yourself?

I used to want to be a journalist, then I became a Special Olympics Coach, and then I became a Social Worker. Being the difference means more than reporting the difference. I also love Zombies and watching zombie or action movies to unwind.

What’s your favorite part about living in Salem?

The interesting and diverse people that can be found throughout town, the growth, and the amount of independent business owners. My favorite thing to do is take a walk downtown with my 2 year old and then take her to play at Riverfront.

Anything else we should know?

Many of us do this work because we recognize ourselves in these children or they may represent a piece of our lives that we wish we could have changed. Making the difference now is helping to rewrite someone’s story. Every action makes a difference.


Residential Employee Spotlight: Meet Brittany!

 In a leadership role for the last couple years, Brittany Davis reflects on her start as a Behavioral Youth Counselor and what she’s learned along the way.

Brittany Davis

“I was born in Memphis but was traveled a lot due to being an army brat,” Brittany shares. She lived in Germany as a child, but ended up back in Memphis where she attended the University of Memphis and obtained a degree in Criminal Justice – a major that provides skills and experiences that can apply in a lot of settings.

“When I graduated I was looking for a place to start my career, unsure of what I wanted to do. I came to Youth Villages because I knew it was a place where I could grow and to discover if I wanted to use my degree to work with children or in other ways. Once I got here I realized that I enjoyed working with the youth and was pretty good at it!” Brittany explains.

She started off working as a Behavioral Youth Counselor, a bachelor’s level role working 4 days on, 3 days off in one of our residential treatment programs for youth with severe behavioral and mental health needs. Behavioral Youth Counselors build a strong therapeutic rapport with 10-15 youth and help them learn life skills, develop coping skills, and process through trauma by walking through daily treatment with them.

Youth are only placed in residential treatment when they need more intensive care then they can receive in the community, so Behavioral Youth Counselors provide very needed support and gain a wide range of experience with at-risk youth very quickly.

“Working in residential has taught me that there is nothing that I cannot handle. I have learned a lot about myself like the fact that I can have patience and I am really good at working with children and I really enjoyed being around the youth and seeing their progression.”

Brittany’s commitment to the staff and youth on campus is very evident to everyone that interacts with her. Her skills and dedication eventually opened up doors for her to transition into a leadership role, and she now serves as the campus’s residential coordinator. She facilitates the hiring and training of new residential staff while also providing on-call crisis support and additional leadership.

While her role has changed, it’s just as critical. “The most rewarding part of my role now is to see the new staff come in and find their love for working with children. The most challenging part of my role is not working with the youth directly as often as I used to. I have to remind myself that I am helping the youth in other ways by ensuring they have quality staff to work with them.”

Some reading her story might connect with Brittany’s commitment to working with at-risk youth and supporting the team and may also be interested in the variety of internal growth opportunities that Youth Villages provides. Her advice?

“The advice I would give to someone who is considering to work in residential would be to have a great work life balance. As long as you take breaks and make the most out of your three off days, you will definitely love this role and position.”

Brittany’s’ developed some of her own personal “coping skills” for her days off, including getting outside, enjoying the river in downtown Memphis, and walking through Shelby Farms. And giving us all the travel bug, Brittany shares about her love of travel. “I’ve been to several beaches within the US and the West Coast is my favorite! The beach is my coping skill!”

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If you’re looking for a way to use your criminal justice, social work, or psychology degree and grow professionally with the guidance of experienced staff and mentors like Brittany, consider applying for the Behavioral Youth Counselor position in Memphis, TN!

We recently increased the pay and are now offering $2,000 relocation assistance for anyone relocating 100+ miles!






Join us for an online info session this fall!

  • Are you a recent bachelor’s or master’s level grad looking to start off your career in the mental health field?
  • Are you an experienced therapist or social worker?
  • Are you a teacher looking to provide more individualized education for at-risk youth?

We have meaningful career opportunities for all of you at Youth Villages!

Sign up for a brief online info session (with extra time for questions) to learn how we are a force for families and a force for our employees!

To join the meeting:

For audio:

  • Toll free access number: 1-855-240-2575
  • Participant pin code:70386071

With behavioral & mental health treatment programs across 13 states, Youth Villages provides ample training and growth opportunities

  • Tuition & Licensure Supervision Reimbursement
  • Promotion from Within
  • Relocation & Sign-On Payment Incentives

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In the meantime, check out our current openings!

We look forward to connecting with you soon.



Youth Villages recognized for bringing mental health treatment access to rural Tennessee – join our team!

Check out the Tennesean’s article on how Youth Villages is helping to bring mental health treatment programs to rural Tennessee.

If you are passionate about making sure that all families have access to preventative care as well as support in times of crisis, check out our careers page for a complete list of openings &  see how you can start a meaningful counseling role today!

Featured Tennessee Jobs Include:



Summer Intern Spotlight: Meet Nancy!

We celebrated our summer interns this week with a minute-to-win-it style game night and an intern bash complete with canoe games and a cookout – a great time to come together as a YV family!

intern bash 2018

With two weeks left to go in the summer, we checked in with Nancy, one of our interns from Tennessee Tech University, who currently works at our Boys’ Center for Intensive Residential Treatment here in Memphis, TN.

Before she joined YV, Nancy had some previous experience interning and volunteering with several Child Life programs at children’s hospitals across the country, where she interacted with youth with behavioral & psychosocial needs.

“I found I had difficulty working with male adolescents who were noncompliant to their medical treatment. They also had behavioral and psychological issues which I found to be influenced by their home setting and family. I felt like I had lacked specific skills to help them be compliant —I needed to figure out what to do to better understand the home setting of nancy caldwelleach child.”

In her search to continue to build on those skills, she found the summer internship program with Youth Villages, and set a goal to work on building rapport and developing care plans to prepare for her career after graduation.

Internships can be really valuable experiences for students to connect with professionals in the field, gain exposure to different population, and open new doors. Our interns this summer have had a chance to connect with and learn from staff working in Youth Villages’ residential, in-home, transitional living, research, and performance improvement departments.

Nancy shared more about what she’s learned specifically from the direct care staff  who she works with on a daily basis:

“I have learned that being a Behavioral Youth Counselor isn’t easy. Their work and influence does not go unnoticed even though there are days when they may feel discouraged when working with the youth at times. It takes hardworking and caring hearts to continue to persevere knowing that the little things they do makes an impact on each youth’s lives.”

Our interns also make an impact with our youth (and our full-time staff often enjoy some of the creativity and passion that our summer interns bring to the team!) Nancy brings her previous experience with youth, her compassion and drive to learn, as well as leadership & teamwork skills she’s gained from her various involvements at Tennessee Tech. She’s a part of the BCM International, the Child Life Association, and the Omicron Delta Kappa honors program, just to name a few.

Throughout the summer, Nancy has been learning and giving back, but also has made some time for fun! While she was born & raised in Isaan, Thailand, she’s lived in Cookeville, TN for school (where we also have a YV office!) She enjoys hiking, climbing, camping, and tennis, and found that Memphis also has some great outdoor spaces to explore too – particularly Shelby Farms!  “I really enjoyed Shelby Farms because it was my first time seeing wild buffalo!” she shared.

Thanks for spending your summer with our kids, Nancy! We are thankful for you and all of our summer interns!

Interested in full-time opportunities with YV? Calling all Tennessee Tech alumni and anyone else interested in working in Cookeville, TN in one of our in-home treatment programs.

Interested in summer internships? We will start accepting applications next year starting October 1 at

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