Ellen is an Americorps member and works as our Safe Place Coordinator. She’s a team player and always willing to help with a smile on her face.
1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger?
I work at a youth crisis shelter that provides emergency housing to youth who have run away, are experiencing a family crisis, are victims of abuse or neglect, or are homeless for other reasons.
2. What’s your typical day at work like?
Every day is a new adventure at Act Together! Each day I work to build rapport with all our clients and help them meet their needs. I process referrals, admissions, and discharges and provide case management to residents. I also complete Safe Place site checks and training with our community partners.
3. What is your favorite thing about working at Youth Focus?
My favorite thing about working at Youth Focus is getting to know the kids that we serve and being able to help the kids learn skills and coping mechanisms to work through conflict.
4. What is one thing you wish the general public knew about Youth Focus?
I wish the general public knew how supportive and interactive the staff at Act Together are with the clients. The staff provides a safe environment for the youth and is always ready when a crisis arises. The staff is also very supportive of each other. I know I can always turn to anybody on the team if I need encouragement or advice.
5. What energizes you the most outside of work?
Being creative! I love working on other projects. I am always painting, sculpting with clay, baking, etc. I love the process of creating something new!
6. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
The best advice would be to do what scares you. My mom has told me that the more we face what we consider to be scary, the less scary it becomes. Leaning into that vulnerability helps us gain strength, courage, and confidence. Each experience is an opportunity for growth.
7. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
I want the power to instantly learn, speak, and understand any language fluently. In an increasingly more diverse world, the power to communicate and interact with each other holds even greater importance. This power would allow me to connect with people from all over the world.
8. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Trust yourself, don’t judge yourself too harshly and, be kind to yourself. The only goal you can’t accomplish is the one you don’t go after.
9. What’s the biggest misconception people have about the youth you work with?
When I tell people I work at a youth crisis shelter, they assume I work with “bad” kids – that these kids are criminals. In reality, the youth we work with are good kids who are often dealing with complex family issues or abuse. We work to provide help and resources for our youth in crisis.
10. What’s one song you have completely memorized?
Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers