April 1, 2015 Leave a comment
Meet Jennifer Wilson, Clinical Liaison in the Morristown, Tennessee office.
What is your educational background?
I attended East Tennessee State University, where I majored in Human Services, with a minor in Family Studies. I graduated Cum Laude in December 2013, while being a member of various Honors Societies as well.
What did you do before coming to Youth Villages?
While a student at East Tennessee State University, I volunteered multiple times weekly for several years at Coalition for Kids, Inc. During the last year of my undergraduate education, I was fortunate enough to receive an internship at the same facility. This internship allowed me to work with underprivileged youth between the ages of six and twelve. Originally, I was brought in and hired to fill a pilot position for the Intercept program at Youth Villages. After a couple of months in the field, I received a promotion to a full time Family Intervention Specialist. In November, I received a new position as Clinical Liaison at the Morristown office, where I began conducting Pre-Placement Assessments.
What do you love about your city/what do you do for fun in your city?
I believe the aspect that I love most about my city is the sense of community between the residents. I have lived in the same city since I was about three years old, and over the course of my lifetime, my family and I have made numerous lifelong friendships. Upon my return from college, these friendships held strong as each person expressed strong care for me still, requesting updates on my time away. The best aspect about my city is that the residents here are more than simply neighbors or friends; these people are extended members of my family.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
When I am not working, I spend the majority of my time with my friends and family. I strongly believe that in order to effectively assist the families in our programs, we have to be able to maintain adequate self-care. In order for me to re-charge my batteries, if you will, I spend time watching movies with friends and family; being outside on our family farm; cozying up with a good book and a glass of sweet tea; or going on walks with my dog (weather permitting). My desire to help others also continues to play a role in my daily life outside of work. Very recently, I became a sponsor for a child living in severe poverty in Vietnam. Closer to home, my family and I also donate time and resources to charities such as Habitat for Humanity regularly.
What is your favorite part about your job/about working for Youth Villages?
My favorite part of my job at Youth Villages is the overwhelming joy I receive once I have successfully helped a family. Whether it is my own case or I’m providing assistance to another counselor on their case, the joy I feel knowing that I am helping make a difference, no matter how big or small, is what motivates me every day to continue giving my all to Youth Villages. Not only do I attempt to help others with my educational services, but I also give a portion of my paycheck to Our Family Campaign in order to assist those needing financial support.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of this job for me is the realization that not every case can be a “success story” on an equally large scale. For instance, when helping one family, I might begin to notice significant improvements in their interactions and behaviors right away; however, with another family, I might not notice any significant improvements at all. However, despite the fact that “significant” changes are not being made, it is vitally important to note even the smallest of improvements. Ultimately, each one of our cases are unique and different; therefore, we can’t say any case is less successful than another. Maybe the child doesn’t exude his/her improvements visually, through external means; however, as counselors, we are looking for internal changes as well. Most often, it is difficult to feel as if we are making effective changes when they cannot be visually measured; however, each and every therapeutic interaction with our families is vitally important, and I strongly believe the key to success is remembering that as such.
What is one fun/interesting fact about you?
I think the most fun/interesting fact about me is that I live on a farm. We moved to my current residence when I was about three years old; therefore, this has always been home to me. The greatest part about it, is that over the years, various other family members have migrated to the “family farm” as well. Not only do my parents live on the farm, but also my grandparents, as well as two aunts and their families. When the weather is perfect out, we all get together and go four-wheel riding, have bonfires, or have dinner all together. In my mind, there is nothing better than spending quality time with friends and family; therefore, having all of us live so close together makes family gatherings almost a weekly occurrence. Having such as close-knit family helps me keep the Youth Villages motto “The Force For Families” close to my heart.