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


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 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

Jessica H

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 !!

The Employee Spotlight Shines Bright on Courtney

Courtney Lowery

Meet Courtney Lowery, a Youth Villages Behavioral Youth Counselor. If you were to ask his family and friends to describe him in three words, they would say he is enthusiastic, genuine and honorable.

Courtney has worked with Youth Villages for four years now. During those four years, he has worked as a Behavioral Youth Counselor at Bartlett, a supervisor at Bartlett, and now works as a Behavioral Youth Counselor at our Coteswood Group Home. When we asked why he accepted the offer from YV four years ago he stated, “I felt I had what it took to impact youth on a positive level. I felt my life experiences could relate to what some of the youth have been through and they would be able to connect to my story.”

We asked Courtney for one lesson he wished he would have known before he started his role; he explained he wish he knew how many hours he would invest in his work once he joined the company. But the best piece of advice he received throughout his four years at Youth Villages was to address the concern with the youth first before trying to solve any problem.

In every career there will be tough days, but Courtney makes his self-care a priority by spending time with his kids and riding his horses. His best advice for self-care to a new employee would be to go downtown and make sure to enjoy your day off by unplugging from work.

Throughout his time at Youth Villages he has enjoyed being someone the kids can count on. One of his proudest moments while working at YV was when a youth discharged from Youth Villages, but called the program to give a positive update on how they were doing in life and saying, ‘thank you’ to Courtney for always being there despite the youth trying to push him away.

We asked Courtney if there was someone who has helped him throughout his career at YV, he stated Mr. Webster had made a tremendous impact on him and his career. He explained, “Mr. Webster has helped me develop over the last few years. We started out on the Bartlett campus and over the years he has been my go to for advice on how to perform my job better.”

To all future staff, here is a little piece of advice from Courtney: “This job requires a lot of dedication and understanding. You will need to make sure that you know when you accept a position here, you join a family. These kids will show you who you really are on the inside. So, if you’re up to the test, welcome to Youth Villages.”

Thank you Courtney for all the hard work and dedication you have given to Youth Villages over the past four years. We look forward to seeing the impact you continue to make on these youth’s lives.

The mountains are calling…a quick questionnaire with MST Counselor Mary Catherine Shoemaker

  1. What is your education background/what school did you attend? I received my Masters in Social Work from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. Sic ‘em bears!MCpic
  2. How long have you been with Youth Villages? 10 months (August 2018)
  3. Since starting with YV, what has your development and growth looked like? Where did you start and where are you now?  When I started Youth Villages I was fresh out of graduate school and lacked the professional confidence I have now. Since starting my role, my supervisors have poured time and effort into weekly meetings to promote development of my clinical skills, ethical practice, and self-care routines. Due to the wealth of experience I have encountered in my role, I have developed my own style and approach as a counselor that feels authentic and strengths-based. I am looking forward to pursuing leadership opportunities in the future as they unfold.
  4. We all know working in the mental health field can be tough, what keeps you going on those rough days? On rough days, I remind myself that the difficulties are making me stronger and sharper as a clinician and that the families I serve are learning new skills to apply to future problems. Going to lunch with my team mate always helps, too!
  5. Any fun facts about yourself? (Hobbies, interests, skills, etc.?) I have three dogs and two goldfish. I love to swim, hike, and camp. I keep everyone on their toes by changing my hair color and style often and love to practice self-expression through fashion and art.
  6. Are you originally from Asheville, NC? What’s the best part about living there?  I moved from Texas for my position with Youth Villages. My favorite parts of living in Western North Carolina are the beautiful mountain views, the delicious local food, and the new friendships I am developing.
  7. Any advice for someone starting within the field? Give yourself lots of grace, ask for help when you need it, and find your own ways to stay self-aware.

Thanks for popping in to learn about one of our very own Family Counselors in Asheville, NC! Ready to take the plunge (or hike!) and join the team? Apply online…our recruiters are excited to talk to you! 

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