Cookeville, TN… An Awesome Place to Live!

Cookeville is a beautiful city located in middle Tennessee. It’s home to several lakes and rivers with tons of outdoor activities to engage in. The weather in Cookeville includes temperatures and humidity that are slightly lower than surrounding cities like Nashville, but you can still expect hot and humid summers with mild, cool winters. #FunFactFriday
Youth Villages is hiring Family Intervention Specialists in Cookeville right now! You can help children and families like the one in the photo. So if you enjoy the outdoors and beautiful scenery, check out our opportunity by clicking here:
We are offering up to $2,000 in relocation reimbursement plus a $2,000 sign-on payment! Come be part of making a difference and live the #YVKiteLIfeFoster Family2

Mosaic: Portland’s Transitional Hub!

Mosaic12Youth Villages provides transitional services for youth ages 17-22 via Mosaic residential group home. Our Independent Living Skills Specialist engage a diverse population of youth, assist community partners and evaluate resident’s progression. Mosaic is a small group home that offers life changing services for Portland’s homeless and foster care population. Program benefits include educational services, identifying barriers to community integration, and establishing a support system/independent living skills.

We have full-time career Bachelor’s level opportunities available. Specialists are needed for swing, day, and overnight positions. Youth Villages provides a nurturing environment for staff to grow personally and professionally. Benefits include competitive pay, tuition reimbursement, opportunities for leadership and development. Join the Force Today! Apply Now!

Happy Nurses Week! Devin Johnson, LPN, plays key role in residential treatment

*Interested in nursing at YV? We’re hiring an LPN in Memphis to work Monday-Friday from 2pm – 10pm. Apply at today!** 

Happy Nurses Week!

To celebrate, we’d like to recognize one of our amazing nurses who is committed to the excellent care of boys and girls at our residential programs – Devin Johnson.

Originally from Jackson, TN, Devin Johnson attended Tennessee College of Applied Technology and obtained her licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She started her career working in long term care & assisted living programs, which she loved, but it was time for a change. She wanted a more diverse environment and more opportunities for career advancement, which brought her to Memphis – a move that she was excited about.

devinjohnson“I love the diversity. I love that there are a million things to do in the city to meet new people and to network. One of my favorite things to do here is go to open mic nights or poetry slams, going bowling or to play the arcade basketball games.” She also loves to sing and dance, so Memphis was a good fit.

Along with the move came an exciting next step in her nursing career when she started with Youth Villages back in the fall of 2016. She wasn’t sure exactly what to expect working in a residential treatment facility for youth but has found that her already evident passion for nursing has continued to grow.

Not only does she provide excellent physical care, but she’s able to provide emotional support for the youth as they work through treatment.

“The most rewarding part of my role here at Youth Villages is being able to interact with all of the youth. They all have different personalities but one thing in common….they all want attention and they all want someone to love them. I believe that they feel like I truly care for them and their well-being because I do. The challenging part is seeing the youth disappointed or frustrated and not necessarily being able to relate because of a difference in backgrounds. I empathize with them a lot but I definitely cannot say that I have been in their position.”

Serving kids from different backgrounds, many of whom have experienced trauma, has also impacted her growth personally.

“I have learned more patience when dealing with situations that are beyond my control. I have learned how to communicate more effectively with different types of people. I have grown in the fact that I have more experience as a nurse with different demographics. I feel like it has made me more relatable and more open to seeing things from other perspectives.”

If you’re a nurse looking to work in an meaningful environment where you play a big role in youth’s treatment and are a part of a committed team, consider working for Youth Villages!

We hire RNs and LPNs to work in our residential campuses in Memphis, Linden (TN), and Douglasville (GA) (various schedules available!)

Check out our openings here and make sure to thank a nurse this week!

Brianna Hanson brings her adventurous personality, experience, and determination to Intercept in Columbia, TN

Singer, proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho (“EEE-YIP”), yoga lover, motorcycle rider, and self-proclaimed “gamer chick,” Brianna Hanson brings a lot of personality to her role as Family Intervention Specialist in Columbia, TN. During her drives to meet with her families in their homes and communities, she blasts music and prepares for the session ahead. And with 10 years experience in the social service field, she’s no stranger to the rewards and challenges of working with youth and families.

“What is rewarding is that after I have given services to families, many families find some way to contact me. I recently had a family call me just wanting to thank me because their daughter was just recently accepted in the police academy in Louisiana. That has always given me that drive to make a difference.

Most challenging is when you have given your clients all the support, resources, skills, and tools during treatment and then you find out months later something has happened to them. Even though I’ve been in this field a long time, it still hurts to know that.”

Originally from North Carolina, Brianna also worked in Texas and Louisiana before coming to Tennessee. Brianna says she likes new places, fresh starts, and new challenges – not to mention the chance to eat & cook some great southern food!

Not surprisingly, these experiences and her attitude helped make the move to Columbia, TN for an opportunity to work with an organization that implements effective, evidence-based models a easier transition (and put her in proximity to some excellent local wineries!)

Brianna recognizes her growth since joining the YV family back in early 2016.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth not only professionally but personally. Working with YV has allowed me to set goals, accept my weaknesses, and try to build them up by going to my coworkers, supervisors and directors to help me along with the way.  I’ve been in the trenches for a long time, and sooner or later I’ll be setting my goals for some leadership positions!”

With her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Louisiana State University of Shreveport and her Master’s in Human Service Administration from Capella University in hand, Brianna has also completed all but the dissertation for her PhD in Leadership Studies program. “I would love to go back and finish (and I will!)” – a sentiment of determination in line with the work that she does on a day-to- day basis in helping youth and families be successful.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to make a fresh start and take on new challenges while being supported by a great team, come to Columbia!

We’re hiring!

  • Crisis Responders **Can also work out of Murfreesboro**
  • Family Intervention Specialists **$2,000 relocation assistance available**

Meet Shelby – Champion for reuniting families in Indiana

Shelby Baber embodies one of our central beliefs at Youth Villages: that children are best raised by their families whenever possible.

Through our Intercept program in Indiana, Shelby works particularly enjoys helping reunite children in foster care with their bio families as they transition back home.

“The most rewarding part of my role is reconnecting foster children with their parents in our reunification cases. You just can’t match the feeling that you get when a parent thanks you at the end of services. The most challenging part of my jobs goes kind of hand-in-hand with that. When you get so invested in the lives of these families it is hard to just walk away at the end.” 

At our annual conference closing ceremony this past year, the national Youth Villages family got to hear from one of the successful families that Shelby has been able to come alongside and help support – an experience she describes as “an extreme privilege!”

Shelby is an excellent example of someone putting her energy (not surprising from a former college cheerleader!) and educational background as a BA Counseling Psychology & Theology grad from Kentucky Christian University to work for her.

“I chose to work at YV after speaking to a friend who was already employed there. She told me about all of the benefits, and the way that the company takes care of its employees. I think the thing I really admired was learning that they only promote from within, so there’s a lot of room to grow.

Because this was my first actual job in the field after college I feel like what I’ve learned is invaluable. There are so many different mentor and leadership programs that I’ve never felt as if I was thrown into something I wasn’t prepared for.” 

There certainly is a lot of room to grow!

Shelby started working with Youth Villages at our Cookeville, TN over a year ago but found she missed her Kentucky roots too much! She (and her two very sweet dogs) relocated to KY where she has continued to work for a few of our Indiana offices.

Whether you’re already a Youth Villages employee interested in moving closer to family & friends or looking for a company with flexibility, YV Indiana could be a great fit for you (and we’re now able to consider Bachelor’s level candidates!)

$3,000 Sign-on payment & $5,000 Relocation Reimbursement available!

** Now hiring in Madison, Jasper, Columbus**



Meet Dedra Watkins: Enthusiastic leader committed to greatness serving youth & families in Indiana

Whether it’s participating in national research studies, introducing mobile tablets to help with documentation to improve work-life balance, or adding a new team, Youth Villages is constantly adjusting and taking initiative to best meet our kids and families’ needs.

This enthusiasm is seen in all of our Indiana teams in six cities across the central and southern parts of the state. Our Indiana programs specifically provide intensive in-home treatment, which prevents at-risk children from entering foster care or institutions and helps successfully reunify children with their families if out-of-home placement has been needed.

Meet Dedra Watkins, one of the Clinical Supervisors for our Jeffersonville Program – a great example of someone who has also taken initiative and grown throughout her 5 years with Youth Villages in Indiana.

Starting as a Family Intervention Specialist providing direct therapeutic & clinical interventions after graduating with her MSW from Spalding University, Dedra explains why she wanted to start working with YV back in 2012: “….I believe in the mission of helping youth and families be successful. It takes a Village to raise a child and I love the commitment that YV has to helping families live successfully one day at a time.”

Her role as a clinician has had a deep impact on her growth professionally.

“Personally, I have grown as a clinician. I have learned to dig deeper into what is triggering or driving behaviors. I have learned how to meet families where they are and not where I or other’s feel they should be.  I have become a stronger advocate for myself, staff and the families that we serve. My confidence as a clinician and leader has increased. I am more organized and more conscious of time management and self-care.”

As she advocates for her families, she also challenges and encourages her staff in her current role as supervisor.

“The most rewarding part as Supervisor is being a positive support and role model to staff, helping them be effective clinicians and helping them be successful in providing the best quality of services to families. The most challenging part is not always knowing if you’re making the right decisions or if you’re pushing staff enough to be the best that they can be.”

This commitment to greatness is what makes Indiana  such an ideal team to be a part of!

A Kentucky native, Dedra commutes across the bridge from Louisville, KY to the Jeffersonville office – just 20 minutes away. She gets the best of both worlds: city living & the chance to also enjoy the nice parks, quaint local dining options, and the beautiful scenery that Indiana has to offer.

In her spare time, she loves cooking, shopping, traveling, and couponing, as well as spending time with family and friends, and most importantly, making time to relax!

Right now, our Indiana office is GROWING – we’re adding a new team in our Columbus, IN office!

*** Now offering $3,000 Sign-On Payment & $5,000 Relocation Reimbursement!**

Where’s Columbus, IN?

– Perfect distance for day & weekend excursions to several major cities – 45 minutes from Indianapolis and Bloomington (Go Hoosiers!), 1 hr from Louisville,  1 ½ from Cincinnati

What does Columbus, IN have to offer (outside of working with a great YV team!)

** National Geographic Traveler ranked Columbus 11th on its historic destinations list in late 2008, describing the city as “authentic, unique, and unspoiled.”[8]

**Columbus won the national contest “America in Bloom” in 2006,[9] and in 2004 it was named one of “The Ten Most Playful Towns” by Nick Jr. Family Magazine.[10]

**The July 2005 edition of GQ magazine named Columbus one of the “62 Reasons to Love Your Country”

**Known for it’s Modern Architecture & Public Art

**Over 20 miles of nature running/biking trails

Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a social service field with at least one year experience required. Apply today!

Also hiring for our Indiana offices in Madison, Bloomington, & Jasper!

Meet Tess Sikma – Taking advantage of growth opportunities in multiples states at YV

At the annual Youth Villages employee conference held in Memphis, TN, you can find Tess Sikma center stage at the highly anticipated skit night where programs across the country sing, dance, rap, and act, competing to reign as champion for the next year. She’s been part of the skits for the last 5 years, using her college cheerleading background and love of dance to her advantage. She helped the Boys’ Center team take the title home, and last year, was a part of the Tulsa team who won costume contest for their rendition of Falcor from the Neverending Story!

Tess is also a leader for our Tulsa office, currently serving as Regional Supervisor. She started her journey with Youth Villages six years ago in Memphis, TN after graduating with her MSW from the University of Illinois Chicago and BA Psychology & Spanish from University of Dayton. During her time with YV, she has completed her licensure and earned her LCSW (using the licensure supervision & reimbursement we offer!)

Knowing that Youth Villages was located in several states and that there were numerous opportunities for experience and growth was an important factor for Tess when she first chose to work with Youth Villages. And in 2016, she relocated to Tulsa, OK to continue this growth.

“I relocated to Tulsa to seek opportunities to grow within the organization.  I started as a LifeSet specialist and was promoted to Clinical Supervisor and am, now, the Regional Supervisor.  I also wanted to work in the LifeSet program as it has seen significant success and growth in the last few years.” 

Tess is deeply invested in Tulsa and the rest of the staff that work there.

“The most rewarding part of my role is to be able to see the passion that the specialists and supervisors have for the youth and families in our programs and to be a component of the growth in them and the community.  The most challenging part of my role is that Youth Villages is new to the Tulsa area and we have worked hard to establish ourselves in the community.  It is the most challenging, but it is also exciting to continue to seek out new connections and relationships in the community in order to better serve our youth and families.”

And as she builds those connections in the community, she also highlights some other exciting parts of living in the growing Tulsa area:

“Tulsa is small and most believe that it is rural, but it is not!  Tulsa has experienced significant growth and the downtown is more vibrant than ever.  There is also an expansion project along the Arkansas River that will hold parks, playgrounds, walk and bike paths, shops, and restaurants.  My husband and I love to explore downtown and the Brookside area, experience the restaurants and art galleries, and catch a Drillers’ game at ONEOK field.”

If you, like Tess, find yourself aligned with the mission and values of YV, want to work in an organization making a significant impact on the communities we serve, and are looking to start fresh with growth opportunities in a new and vibrant city, consider opportunities in Tulsa!


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