Meet Ashley Hartz: Chattanooga Family Intervention Specialist

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeet Ashley Hartz, a Family Intervention Specialist in our in-home services program (Intercept) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

What is your educational background (college, major, etc.)?

I attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York for my undergraduate studies. I double majored in Psychology and Hispanic Studies, with a minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies. In order to better combine my interests of working in the field of psychology and diverse cultures, I went to Castellon de la Plana, Spain to study a Master’s in Family Intervention and Mediation at the Universitat Jaume I.

What did you do before coming to Youth Villages?

Before coming to Youth Villages, I was living in Spain. I generally spent my days between work and play! I worked with the Spanish Red Cross, which actually focuses more on social mediation than natural disasters. I was primarily involved in a school program for at-risk students (6-20 years old), developing curriculum to promote and teach personal development, gender equality, health, and coexistence and tolerance. I also volunteered my time to an Equine Therapy program at the local farm where I rode.

What do you love about your city?

Chattanooga is a beautiful city. I love that it is big enough that there are a ton of things to do, but small enough that you easily feel like you know the city and the people in it. Chattanooga is a great city for those who love the outdoors – I spend my time hiking, canoeing, and going to music festivals.

What are your hobbies? (It is national hobby month!)

I have ridden horses my entire life. I spend my weekends and some weeknights riding, teaching ridding lessons and volunteering in an equine therapy program. I do not know what the equivalent of a “crazy cat lady” is for horse people, but that is me (I am also a crazy cat lady too if I am going to be honest).

What is your favorite part about your job/about working for Youth Villages?

My favorite part about working at Youth Villages is the rapid-growth I see the families I work with undergo. I do not believe there is a more effective treatment model than the YV model. I have had clients with a long history of treatment in multiple settings who have said, “I have tried everything, this isn’t going to work,” only to say at discharge that the process was influential and beneficial for them. Those moments remind me of how important my job is. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging, and least challenging, part of my job is the flexibility. You have to be good at time management – there are days I think, “I can just sleep in, I will do paperwork later,” but still have to get myself up because I do not want to leave that paperwork for later!

What is one fun/interesting fact about you?

In Spain I gave English classes to a controversial political leader, a reality star, and a famous band. Luckily, they were not in the same class.

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