Meet Rebekah, Clinical Program Consultant in Memphis, TN!

Today we spotlight Rebekah Lemmons, a clinical program consultant with Youth Villages in Memphis, TN! Rebekah is a great model of how hard work, commitment, and a desire to learn has helped her develop into a leader that we can all look up to, whether we’re recent graduates or seasoned clinicians. We checked in with her about her journey and growth with Youth Villages.

Rebekah initially started off as a lifeguard on one of our residential treatment campuses before attending her master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis on Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Memphis. While pursuing her master’s degree, she was awarded a federal grant which allowed her to pursue experiences working with people with disabilities, medical chronic conditions, and intellectual disability populations.

rebekah lemmons

Her experience and education well prepared her for working in a full-time role as a residential master’s level counselor in one of our treatment programs, and she later was promoted to lead counselor, providing trauma focused clinical intervention & supervision for youth with a variety of behavioral & mental health needs.

Rebekah now uses her clinical expertise in her role as a clinical program consultant, where she provides clinical supervision and training for our residential programs in Memphis, and most recently obtained her Ph.D in Counselor Education from the University of Memphis! With YV’s flexibility, she was able to complete multiple required internships and practicums while working full-time, and took advantage of tuition reimbursement to make pursuing her goal more financially feasible.

Of course, this feat could not be accomplished without a lot of dedication and hard work. Rebekah shared some thoughts on how to balance some of these different professional and educational goals.

“Take advantage of new opportunities and stretch yourself to participate,” she encourages. “Push yourself personally and professionally, and take time to look at the big picture. It’s going to be hard at times. But whether you’re volunteering for new project, going back to school, or taking (Youth Villages’) leadership development classes, there are lots of opportunities to improve, grow, and open up exciting opportunities moving forward.”

Sometimes this has meant saying no to social events outside of her closest family and friends, but she’s found it worth it as she met her goal of obtaining her Ph.D. “Make sure you have good supports in place, are flexible, and able to prioritize.” She noted that the book “The Best Yes” has been helpful in figuring out to how to prioritize, and she most recently has said YES to a teaching role the University of Memphis where she’ll be able to instruct and support counseling students at her alma mater!

One of the things she’s enjoyed has been the opportunity to be involved in many different projects at YV, from shadowing and covering YVLifeSet consultations, working with organizational partners on model reviews, and most recently working on a pilot program working to improve legal representation support for the clients we serve. She’s also served as an expert on child sexual abuse prevention and been consulted by local news. Over the years, she’s also been a part of YV’s growth as we work to incorporate feedback from staff, apply research, and improve work life balance, and serves as a YVWay ambassador to help with improving internal culture. Through it all, she has kept the focus on providing the best level of care to the kids and families we serve, which is the most important part of all.

When she’s not busy learning, leading, or teaching, Rebekah is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys the shops and restaurants of South Main with her friends and family.  We are so thankful that Rebekah has committed to serving families and leading us all through her example of initiative, dedication, and service at Youth Villages!

To learn how you can start your career growth with Youth Villages, check out our careers page at www.youthvillages.org/joinourteam!

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Lover of Play Dates and all Things YV

briley and i beachI thought about this quote when speaking with Allison. Her passion for her work flows through her words. Keep reading to learn more about her!

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”—Maya Angelou

This is the quote that came to mind after speaking with Allison about her experiences with Youth Villages. She definitely has the passion to not only survive but to thrive in the Treatment Foster Care program! Here’s a snippet of our conversation.

TD: Hi Allison! Let’s just jump right in. Why did you choose to come work at YV? I came to Youth Villages because of the flexibility that the position offered along with the challenge of needing to gain immediate engagement and alignment with services from the families working with me in Intercept. I was referred to Youth Villages by a Regional Supervisor in Intercept at the time and I saw how much she enjoyed working for the company along with her longevity as an employee and thought that was a great indicator of the company.

TD: I’m so glad you were able to witness the passion of another employee.  After receiving an offer, what made you accept the position with YV?
AA: I was 6 days away from graduating from UTK and looking for a job in the social work field and was offered the position of Family Intervention Specialist in Knoxville, TN. I was excited to begin my social work career so quickly after completing my Master’s degree.

TD: That seems like pure luck! That’s awesome. It doesn’t always happen that way. Tell me, what is your educational background?
AA: I graduated in 2007 from UT Chattanooga with a BS in Psychology. I completed my Master’s degree in Social Work at UT Knoxville in 2011. Since that time, I obtained my LMSW in 2017 and have been working toward obtaining my LCSW since then.

TD: You are really rocking! You identified a goal and with the licensure supervision benefit, we’ve been able to help you achieve those goals! What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
AA: As the clinical supervisor for Treatment Foster Care (TFC) in Chattanooga, I love being able to see the youth in TFC grow and develop from the time of admission to reaching permanency. We are one of the only programs within YV that can see this change due to having youth in care for the amount of time that we do. I really enjoy seeing the positive change that love, security, consistency, and clinical interventions bring about in the youths’ lives.

TD: You’re currently a TFC Supervisor, tell me about your journey with YV.
AA: I have been with Youth Villages for almost 8 years! I started in May 2011 working with Intercept as a counselor, was promoted to supervisor in 2013 and came over to TFC as a supervisor towards the end of 2014. I have been a supervisor for TFC since then and love my job and team!briley dance

TD: I can definitely feel the love! What motivates you to come back each and every day?
AA: I believe in what we do here at Youth Villages and that we truly do what we say we do, and that motivates me daily for providing the best services to our youth and families as possible. I have an amazing set of counselors on my team and I think knowing that my drive for assisting with the change process in our youth directly affects my counselors and therefore their motivation for coming to work as well. Ethics and working for a company that prioritizes ethical principles are very important to me and knowing that Youth Villages goes above and beyond for the youth we serve allows me to proudly talk about the services that we provide with other key players in the community.

TD: You’ve mentioned your team a few times. What’s it like working on your team?
AA: Well, I have had the same supervisor since November 2014 and I really enjoy this stability and the relationship that we have developed with each other through these years. My counselors are the backbone for my job in TFC and I love seeing their teamwork and willingness to always help each other out when needed. I really enjoy developing staff and see them grow and mature in their career path along with here at Youth Villages.

TD: That’s what it’s all about: growth. How have you seen yourself grow?
AA: I have experienced a variety of seasons of life while working with Youth Villages and I have had the support needed from my supervisors and co-workers during these various seasons. One of the ways that I have seen myself grow is as a mother of a 4 year old daughter, I want her to always be willing to see the positive aspects of everyone with whom she interacts and to not be judgmental towards anyone in any situation. I have learned and am still learning how to balance my work and home life together and how to keep those professional boundaries when I come into contact with children similar to mine who have experienced abuse and neglect.

TD: You are amazing. Thank you for your dedication to our families in Chattanooga and for your dedication to your team. Before I let you go, tell me some fun facts about you.
AA: I love to bargain shop and you can find me on most weekends at either Target or consignment stores in the area. I have a brother who is currently employed at Boeing as a structural engineer and is currently working on the SLS project to Mars. My daughter and I stay very active and we love going on multiple play dates with friends on the weekends attending local fairs/festivals, jump park, and nearby outdoor parks.

TD: What’s your favorite part about living in Chattanooga? What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?
AA: I love having quick access to Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville so that whatever the weekend activity may hold I am able to have access to any of these cities. Living in Chattanooga has allowed me to experience more of an outdoor lifestyle with various hiking trails and nature centers that are around the area. Chattanooga has a very active local performing arts community that also supports local artists (music, art, and theatrical) along with some very yummy local restaurants as well.

TD: Sounds so fun! Last question, how would you pique someone’s interest and get them to relocate to Chattanooga?
AA: Chattanooga is a pretty touristy area in SE TN and we are famous for the Chattanooga Choo Choo (there was a song), Rock City, Tennessee Aquarium, Chickamauga Battlefield, and other Civil War history on Lookout and Signal Mountains. Oh yeah, and Little Debbie, Moon Pies, Mountain Dew, and Krystal’s (as in the restaurant) are all from Chattanooga.

I think I’m sold! Thank you Allison!

If you are interested in relocating to Chattanooga to be closer to all these awesome attractions, visit our website!

When you love what you do, it’s not work

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Meet Ashley! She started as an intern and fell in love! Now she’s a Regional Supervisor for our YVLifeSet program in Knoxville, TN!

TD: Ashley! Hi! Thanks for taking time out of your day to chat with me! Let’s start by getting to know you! Tell me some fun facts about you.
AP: Anyone who knows me knows I have a fun, sweet, cute, spoiled 8lb Yorkie, named Diddy. I also absolutely love Mexican food.

TD: Mexican food! The thought makes me hungry!! What are some fun facts about Knoxville?
AP: We are about a 40 minute drive from Gatlinburg which has a lot of great attractions and is great for a weekend getaway.

TD: That sounds like loads of fun! What’s your favorite thing to do?
AP: There are some great places to eat. There are a lot of different hiking and nature trails around that have some beautiful views. My favorite thing to do is to go down to Gatlinburg and shop at the outlet malls along with snagging me some good Mexican food from the large variety of restaurants in Knoxville.

TD: You really love Mexican food! Let’s change the subject before we skip this interview and head to the nearest Mexican restaurant! What’s your educational background?Image result for utk
AP: I attended University of Tennessee at Knoxville for my Bachelors in Child and Family Studies and Walden University for my Masters in Social Work.

TD: You’ve been with Youth Villages for 6 years, what made you accept the position with us?
AP: I interned with the crisis department in undergrad and fell in love with the mission and values of the company.

TD: That’s awesome. Since you started as an intern, did you have to complete various trainings as an intern and then as a full time staff?
AP: Yes, I did.

TD: What was training like for you?
AP: It was very hands on and staff made sure I had a good understanding of expectations. It was a little easier for me since I had been an intern.

TD: I can see that. We like to ensure our staff are properly trained before working with our families. What trainings did you attend?
AP: Initially, I attended orientation training, on the job training and field supervision.  Afterwards, I was able to attend YV 3Day Clinical Training to help me understand treatment planning and our clinical approaches. To assist me with transitioning into leadership, I was able to attend Foundations of Leadership, Social Styles, Challenging Conversations, Civil Treatment and Collaborative Problem Solving, to name a few.

TD: It’s awesome to be a part of a company that continues to invest in our growth from tuition and licensure reimbursement to leadership trainings. How have you seen yourself grow?
AP: I was fresh out of college when I started and very “green”. I have grown so much in my clinical skills and have grown confidence in myself. I also obtained my Master’s degree, using the tuition reimbursement benefit, while working full time and I never saw myself going past a Bachelors so that was a big achievement.

image1TD: Well, congratulations! I’m glad you pushed yourself past what you thought was possible! What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since working with us?
AP: Work life balance is important. It’s hard to pour from an empty cup so making sure that I pour as much back into myself so I can be helpful and useful to others.

TD: It’s hard to pour from an empty cup. I like that. What motivates you each and every day?
AP: I love what I do and I feel I make a real difference. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work.

TD: Love what you do. That’s very important. Ok, last question before I let you go. What advice would you give a new staff?
AP: It is ok to not have all the answers and you have a team of support behind you to help you.

Thank you so much! Your personality and bubbly demeanor makes it difficult to end the conversation.

Curious to know what positions we have for you? Visit our website!

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Team Vols and Team YV

UTK Fam

Pictured: Bradford’s wife, Laria, Bradford and their daughter Lariah

Bradford eats, sleeps and breathes sports! But of all the sports, he truly bleeds ORANGE! Not only does he support the VOLS, he graduated from UT Knoxville not long before relocating to Memphis, TN to work with youth. Let’s learn more about Bradford.

TD: Bradford, we know you graduated from UTK. What degree did you obtain?
BH: I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of TN – Knoxville in 2014.

 

TD: You’ve been with Youth Villages almost 4 years, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since working with us?
BH: Never judge a book (person) by its cover (their day-to-day life/environment) and be patient because everyone moves at their own pace in life.

TD: That is a really good lesson. How have you seen yourself grow?
BH: I’ve come a long way from working residential in Bartlett to working with LifeSet young adults. Every year gives more experience and knowledge in the field I’m working in and will help me advance in the future.

TD: What’s the most inspirational thing you’ve learned about the social services field?
BH: Youth we work with want to achieve.  We just have to figure out how can we build trust and lead them. We have to show them that they don’t have to accept “no” and just give up. There’s always a solution to any problem, we just have to find the right one that fits each person. Bradford and daughter

TD: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
BH: Being someone who can relate to the youth and give them reassurance because I was in their shoes 7-8 years ago.

TD: It’s great that you have a why, a reason that connects you with your role. What motivates you each and every day?
BH: Being a positive role model. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask someone who knows so we can continue to progress.

TD: Asking for help is sometimes hard for us. I’m glad you have people who will assist you. What’s it like working on your team?
BH: I like my team, Julie North is my supervisor. I work with people who are very intelligent and passionate. I can take their feedback and implement it with my work. Shout out to Jai Gervin, she’s A W E S O M E and a big help.

TD: A few more questions before I let you go! What advice would you give a new staff?
BH: Stay patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

TD: You’re right, things do take time. Ok, now a couple of fun questions. What’s your favorite part about living in Knoxville or your favorite thing to do in the area?
BH: Knox is a real chill, laid back city. I always support the Vols since I went to UT. I enjoy going to Vols football games when the opportunity presents itself. Being on UT campus is always fun.

TD: Anything else we should know about you, Bradford?
BH: I hope the Lakers make it to the playoffs. Ready for the Titans to take that next step in being a contender. Yankees need another championship and SOON. I relive my high school football moments in my head quite often (team was 1 yard short of making it to the Finals; we lost in semi finals my senior year). I love sports if you can’t tell by now!

I told you all he was a die-hard sports fan! Believe me now? That’s a wrap with Bradford. It was a joy speaking with him!

If you’re in the Knoxville area and would like to join our Knoxville team, visit our careers page!

 

Former UTC Moc, YV rockstar

I’ve had the pleasure of talking to several staff about their experience with Youth Villages but today, it was such a pleasure to chat with a fellow Moc! Meet Carisa, Clinical Supervisor for our YVLifeset program in Chattanooga, TN! Keep reading to find out how Carisa utilized our benefits to continue her education!

TD: We already know the answer but say it loud for the people in the back! What school did you attend?
CP: I graduated from the University of TN at Chattanooga.Related image

TD: There’s nothing like a UTC Moc!! Tell us about your education.
CP: I graduated from UTC with a bachelor’s in Psychology.  I later went on to obtain 2 Master’s degrees in Psychology and Social Services. I’m currently pursuing a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and also licensure.

TD: Are you currently utilizing the licensure supervision benefit?
CP: Yes I am! It’s saved me a great deal of time and money. It’s a blessing that YV offers that in order to better their employees.

TD: I agree! It’s a pretty amazing benefit. It proves YV is invested in its employees. How long have you worked here?
CP: I’ve worked for YV for 15 and half years

TD: Sounds like you’ve experience many employee conferences! What position did you start in and what position are you in now?
CP: I started out as a Pilot counselor. I was new to the field and it helped me navigate my way through the in home counseling experience and process. Since then, I’ve held several positions but my current role is clinical supervisor.

TD: Ok, let’s think back to 15 years ago. What made you accept the position with YV?
CP: I graduated from school and I knew I wanted to do something in the field of psychology.  I wasn’t sure which route to take initially.  I went on my first interview and I thought to myself if they give me a chance with no experience then I’ll ride for them for a while (laughs)! Luckily, MJ aka Melissa Jackson-Wade, saw through my tattoos and crazy red hair and gave me a chance. So…here I am (laughs)!

TD: That’s beautiful! I’m glad she gave you a chance. You are rocking your position! What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
CP: The most rewarding parts of my role are leading and developing my staff. I love to see them succeed and take on leadership roles.  I love watching my kids beat the odds and make leaps and bounds over their barriers.Carisa pics

TD: Honestly, that’s one of the things I love most about YV. We genuinely have leadership that care about our success. You have a team of your own now. What’s it like working with your team?
CP: Oh lord. You’d have to ask my staff what it’s like to work with me (laughs). They’d probably tell you I’m laid back, funny, and supportive. I give it to them straight, no chaser. I give them respect, and in turn I’ve earned respect from them as well. We are one team, and we learn from one another. Everyone has different personalities and work styles. I love all the differences. My team is the best hands down!

TD: I don’t know about that one! The recruiting team is pretty awesome (laughs)! I have a couple more questions for you before I let you get back to your families. How have you grown with YV?
CP: I started with the company before all of the new changes, which have improved work life balance tremendously. We’ve grown together in a sense. I’ve made so many gains towards my goals and aspirations. It was just me when I started but now I have an 11 year old baseball and basketball playing spelling bee whiz on my hands. Everything in my life has grown and gained light parallel with my time here at YV. I’m grateful.

TD: WOW! That’s incredible! Last question! This one is a little fun! What’s your favorite part about Chattanooga?
CP: I love downtown. I love the activities they have on weekends. The walking bridge is really nice as well as Coolidge Park.

I remember Coolidge Park! So refreshing! Well Carissa, that’s all I have for you today! Thank you so much for your time! Enjoy the rest of your day! YVStackLogoTag social scaled

If you aspire to help youth and families, Youth Villages might be the place for you! We offer rewarding benefits and several opportunities to grow. Contact us to discuss ways for you to join our team!

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A look into Boone, NC with Keri Lastinger!

Today we’re taking some time to hear from Keri Lastinger, a Clinical Supervisor with our Boone, NC team! Take a seat, cozy up with your favorite warm drink (it IS a snowy winter in the mountains after all), and learn a bit about Keri, her journey with YV and what it’s like working with our families…and maybe a bit of advice to cap it off! klastinger

  1. What is your education background/what school did you attend? I have my Bachelors in Social Work from Appalachian State University.
  1. What is the most rewarding part of your current role? Most challenging? The most rewarding part of my current role is seeing successful family outcomes, and seeing my counselors being proud of their work. The most challenging part of my current position is learning all of the different social styles and tailoring myself to be able to coach specific social styles that I do not always easily connect with.
  1. Why did you choose to work at YV?  I was referred to YV by a friend and former coworker at my past job. I did some research and fell in love with YV’s morals and values. After my first interview, I knew this was home for me.
  1. How have you seen yourself grow while working at YV?  While working at YV, I have definitely grown, not only in my career but also personally. I have grown in learning how different people communicate and what they are saying by the way they say it. I have also developed clinically and changed my mindset of demanding that families change, to helping families grow and change on their own time and pace. I also love that YV offers the opportunity for growth constantly, by providing trainings and always making me feel supported.
  1. Any fun facts about yourself? (Hobbies, interests, skills, etc.?)  I am very organized with my work, and each thing has a special place. It really helps with time management and getting things accomplished. I also love to read fiction books, as it is a coping skills of mine to just have a good book and a cup of coffee, and escape into another world for a little while.
  1. Are you from Boone? If not, why did you relocate? What is your favorite part about living in Boone and/or favorite things to do in the area?  I am originally from Ga. My family moved to Burlington, NC when I was 17. We moved to NC to be together again. My mother had met my now stepfather prior to him taking a job in NC. I then moved to Boone, NC for college, then moved to Statesville, NC for a job, and now I’m back in Boone as I was promoted to supervisor and needed to be closer to my home office and team. I love the mountains here, there is just something about them that makes my soul feel at home. Some of my favorite things to do here are go thrift shopping, walk around downtown, and grab food at local restaurants.
  1. What advice would you give to someone starting out in this field?  Keep a positive mindset, and know that there are days that are not easy, but this is a very rewarding job even with the tough days. It is always  great to hear about families that are successful, or thank us for making positive difference in their lives.

If learning about Keri and our Boone, NC office has tapped your desire to move to the mountains and do great work with kids and their families, please visit our careers page! Boone Careers

Meet Deidre, one of our Rural West Crisis Responders

It’s always a privilege to chat with our staff who working closely with our youth and families. This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Deidre, one of our amazing Crisis Response Counselors in Jackson, TN. Sit back, grab some coffee and read more about Deidre and her journey with Youth Villages! img_0266

Deidre, tell us how you got here. How did you become a Crisis Responder? Well, I wanted to impact the lives of others and I enjoy working with children so I went to Freed Hardeman to obtain my undergraduate degree in Social Work then to Union University for my MSW. I applied at Youth Villages because I knew, here, I would be making a difference.

That’s good stuff. You were able to find the career you enjoy while making a difference. What has it been like for you since working here? Let’s see. Training was very thorough which I appreciated since it was my first job out of graduate school. I’ve definitely grown in confidence since I started this job. I was very nervous when I first started but I definitely feel that I can competently do my job.

What motivates you to come back each and every day?  I enjoy what I do and even when it gets stressful, I have a solid team that I work with and excellent leadership.

What’s the most rewarding part of your role? In crisis, we only (hopefully) see that child or family one time but I still leave that assessment having built a relationship with and putting the family on a track for success.

You mentioned having a solid team. What’s it like working on your team? It’s great. I know that if I ever need anything or have a question, anybody on my team would help in a heartbeat.

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Deidre and her dog, Kanye.

Let’s switch gears. What advice would you give to a new staff? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.

That’s good. What’s the most inspirational thing you’ve learned about this field? No matter what someone has been through, there is always hope for the future.

Last question! What’s your favorite thing to do in the Jackson area? My go to is to get Thai food with friends.

Awesome! Thanks so much for chatting with me!

If you (or someone you know) would love to work with Deidre in the Jackson, TN area, click here to apply online! Want to know more? Visit our careers site, www.youthvillages.org/careers.

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