Staff Spotlight~ Megan Spinler
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” — John Wesley
Who’s this barrel of energy? It’s FSA Manager Megan Spinler! We want to recognize this remarkable woman for her exemplary service towards our mission and the kids we serve.
Hands down, Megan’s a go-getter! I mean, this lady loves outreach! And it shows! Our Shelby/Havre mentor and supervised visitation programs have grown exponentially since she’s taken them on.
And here’s the kicker! She’s expanded them while helping with every service line in her area.
That said, Megan loves people! Without question, she’ll go the extra mile to support the individuals in her world. And that’s reflected in the strong relationships she’s built internally and externally.
Megan’s teammates? They adore her. Her mentor crew? They will always go the extra mile under her leadership. And caregivers? They trust her to deliver stellar, quality mental health care to their kids.
Thank you, Megan, for the energy you bring into each day. Words can’t express our gratitude for you and everyone else going the extra mile right now to support kids and families.
Mike Dimmitt #YDIStrong
“A boss has the title. A leader has the people.” – Simon Sinek
Who’s this outstanding man? It’s Butte Area Manager Mike Dimmitt, and let me tell you, he has the hearts of the individuals he leads!
If you’ve met Mike, you know he radiates energy that’s hard to miss. You can feel his presence in a room. And that energy? It draws people to him like a magnet.
Here are a few words that his Community Office mates used to describe him:
- Amazing listener
Here’s the thing. Mike lives and breathes YDI’s core values. And it’s resulted in relationships built on a foundation of trust.
He sets clear expectations and does so in an empowering way. Whether coaching his team or the families we serve, Mike lets others take the driver’s seat and leads from behind, supporting and motivating everyone to meet goals skillfully.
Seriously, he’s like a ninja! Mike exuberates confidence and zeal yet has a calming way about him. He can defuse the tensest of situations and lighten the mood of even the heaviest day.
Honestly, we could go on and on about Mike. His teammates had so many fantastic things to say about him.
Thank you, Mike, for your commitment to your team and the kids we serve. Your leadership craft is on point, and we can’t say enough about how grateful we are to have you and your crew on board.
Staff Spotlight~ Cassie Peterson
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” —Napoleon Hill
Who’s this fantastic human? It’s none other than Star Youth Home Support Specialist Cassie Peterson! We want to recognize this incredible woman for her exemplary service to our organization and the kids in our care.
To start, Cassie has an optimistic, can-do attitude that’s simply electric. And that mindset bleeds onto everyone in her presence. Without a doubt, she spreads positive, motivational vibes across our homes, raising the spirits of her teammates and the youth they collectively serve.
Without a doubt, Cassie’s a leader. She does what it takes to ensure stellar outcomes for kids. She pulls in extra hours, moves around her schedule, and often trains new teammates on shifts, sometimes two at a time.
Thank you, Cassie, for your devotion to our organization, people, and the children we serve. Your dedication—it’s incredible. Words can’t express how grateful we are for you and everyone going the extra mile for the kids in our care.
Staff Spotlight~ Jessie Wilson
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – John Andres Holmes
Who’s this heroic human? It’s none other than River’s Edge Youth Home Support Specialist Jessie Wilson! We want to recognize this remarkable woman for her exemplary service to her team and the kids in our residential care.
First, Jessie’s committed to our mission! She’s a ray of sunshine and never hesitates to go the extra mile to ensure quality care for the kids we serve. And that shows in the relationships she’s built with youth at River’s Edge. The connections she’s fostered serve as a foundation for treatment, helping to create excellent outcomes for kids.
And Jessie’s dedication doesn’t stop there. She’s devoted to her team! You can count on her to take the initiative, whether by picking up shifts or offering a few uplifting words of encouragement to her coworkers. When it comes to supporting her teammates, there’s little this lady won’t do.
Thank you, Jessie, for your unwavering support of our organization, people, and the children we serve. Your work—It makes a difference. Words can’t express how grateful we are for you and your residential team.
Staff Spotlight—A Special Holiday Edition
We Are Grateful for You!
Hey, Youth Dynamics! It didn’t seem fair to choose just one spotlight, given so many of you have gone above and beyond this month. So, we want to dish out a little group recognition!
First, your work to bring holiday gifts to every child in YDI services was incredible. Thousands of presents poured into our locations over the last two months, each one wrapped and delivered with care. For example, our Shelby & Havre crew provided approximately two hundred and fifty gifts alone to kids, and that was just two of our areas!
But the charitable activities didn’t stop there. Donations poured in from across the state, and you put that money to good use. For instance, Billings teams prepared, packed, and delivered over twenty food baskets to local families, ensuring YDI kids don’t go hungry over the holidays.
Moreover, we came together to deck office and youth home halls to make the atmosphere magical. In Kalispell, the team even added a local, client-centered spin to the door decorating contest, bringing kids into the office to help decorate and judge the winner.
And last but certainly not least, we want to recognize everyone who decided to spend the holidays with the kids in our care. Your dedication is inspiring. The youth we serve will probably remember the time you’ve spent with them for the rest of their lives.
Thank you, Youth Dynamics, for giving so much of yourself this season. As the holidays wrap up and we move into the new year, know that every deposit you make into the lives of children is a critical investment. And together, we’re paving the way to a bright future, one child and family at a time.
Finance Team #YDIStrong
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson
Who’s this team spreading a little holiday cheer next to the Central Office Angel Tree? It’s our fantastic finance crew! Finance Director Leslie Falcon, Payroll Technician Robin Chapman, Accounts Payable Technician Zahra Sindle, and Accounts Receivable Technicians Diane Ude & Margie Kraiter work tirelessly to support our agency needs.
And you know what? We want to give them a shout-out for their dedication and commitment to our mission and the people who carry it out. These ladies face no shortage of responsibilities yet execute their duties with kindness and integrity—always acting as stewards of our people-first culture.
Thank you, Leslie, Diane, Robin, Margie, & Zahra, for all you bring to this organization. Hands down, we’re grateful to have you on our team!
Mandy Haller-Doris #YDIStrong
“Integrity: Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” — Brene Brown
Who’s this spectacular human? It’s Intake Coordinator Mandy Haller-Doris! And let me tell you, she exemplifies the YDI way.
To start, Mandy’s provided exceptional service to our residential kids, families, and stakeholders for ten years. She always goes the extra mile and truly embodies what it means to be actively caring and trauma-informed in every interaction.
Really, Mandy exudes the core values that make Youth Dynamics unique. She’s a skilled open, and respectful communicator, even in the most challenging of circumstances. This lady navigates difficult conversations like a pro, never burning a bridge or making the people around her feel unsupported.
And when it comes to empowerment, collaboration, and partnerships? It’s hard to hold a candle to Mandy. Her positive, can-do attitude is contagious! People love working with her! She builds relationships with everyone she meets—going the extra mile to ensure kids and families receive nothing short of top-notch care.
That said, Mandy radiates individual responsibility. As a program manager, she was known to answer calls and come into work to support our residential services without hesitation in the middle of the night.
And when something goes wrong? She’s accountable. You can always depend on her to do what’s right and take ownership of her actions.
Mandy, thank you for your commitment and outstanding service towards our mission. Your dedication is incredible. Words can’t express our gratitude for you and everyone else going the extra mile for kids and families right now.
Steph Aurand #YDIStrong
“Here’s to those who inspire and don’t even know it.” #Gratitude
Who’s this dedicated diva? It’s Kalispell Community Office Admin Support Steph Aurand! And you know what? This lady’s incredible! For eight years, she’s served Youth Dynamics with exceptional pride. So, it seems fitting we dish out a little appreciation.
First, Steph’s commitment—it’s clear. At the drop of a hat, she goes miles for our organization, her teammates, and Flathead County kids. This woman has covered audits for outside offices, guided her teammates between area managers, and even opened her home as a foster and adoptive parent.
And the kicker? She does so without a second thought. It’s just in her nature to bring 100% of herself to her work and interactions with others. Hands down, she’s a responsible, loyal, kind-hearted human being.
That said, Steph puts up a good front, but don’t let it fool you. Her heart? It’s pure gold. She cares significantly about the people in her world—always giving pieces of herself to others.
Honestly, whether it’s offering a listening ear to an officemate or going the extra mile to ensure clients receive exemplary service, you can count on Steph to do what’s right for the people around her.
Thank you, Steph, for your commitment to our mission, kids, and the people of Youth Dynamics. You bring so much to YDI, and words can’t express our gratitude that you’re a part of our team.
Wendy Fleming & Leslie Berge #YDIStrong
“Lead with integrity, follow with curiosity, serve with generosity, be with humility, love with humanity.” — Rob Kish
Who are these fantastic ladies? It’s Wolf Point Care Manager Wendy Fleming and Family Coach Leslie Berge! And you know what? It’s a big year for them! 2021 marks Wendy’s twenty-first anniversary and Leslie’s twentieth at Youth Dynamics!
Hands down, these two are seasoned in the YDI way. Wendy once told a story of writing client service notes before community office computers. And Leslie, being the Area Manager of Wolf Point & Malta for years, understands the workings of our organization inside and out.
That said, Wendy & Leslie have grit. These two relentlessly stay the course when it comes to delivering our mission to kids and families—even in times of adversity. Long ago, our Wolf Point Community Office was hit by tragedy when a fire consumed it.
But you know what? That didn’t stop these two! Despite unfortunate circumstances, they continued to serve clients with incredible dedication, advocating and ensuring they received nothing short of stellar care.
More so, they have hearts of gold. These women embrace diversity, our actively caring culture, and a humanistic approach to service. There’s no question that they’re stewards of our people-first culture, whether in their interactions with clients, referents, or the families they serve.
We want to thank Wendy, Leslie, and everyone else who’s celebrating YDI anniversaries this year for their extraordinary dedication. Words can’t express our gratitude for you and the exemplary work you carry out every day. You make an impact. And together, we’re paving the way to a bright future—one child and family at a time.
Marsha Hopkins & Michelle Ewing #YDIStrong
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
Who are these two fantastic gals? It’s Area Manager Marsha Hopkins & Lead Youth Case Manager Michelle Ewing! Hands down, these two ladies are hardworking, committed, and exemplary examples of the YDI way.
First, Marsha & Michelle don’t shy away from a challenge. Like so many others right now, we’ve felt the crunch of workforce shortages. And when these two felt the pressure? They rose to the occasion—banding together to support new teammates, complete documentation, and deliver much-needed services to kids in our care.
And the kicker? Marsha & Michelle did so with dignity and grace. They’ve shown incredible leadership. In a time where it’s easy to snap, be unkind, and give less than 100%, these ladies have not succumbed to temptation.
Check out the snip-it below of what Glendive Care Manager Philip Holden-Moses had to say about them.
“These two women carried the Glendive office on their backs—all the while training me with a great deal of patience and grace. They made me feel welcomed and took time out to appreciate what little assistance I could give.
Despite being deluged with work, Marsha made clear I could take whatever time I needed to situate myself, and Michelle trained me to be self-sufficient in a task before moving on to the next. The outcome was that she had time to put out fires while knowing that she did not have to micro-manage me. As a result, I felt trusted and like a colleague within days of joining the team.
Marsha and Michelle have that enviable quality of leadership that allows the employee to feel that they have accomplished tasks on their own without realizing they have been gently guided to success behind the scenes.
I have received unconditional support from Marsha and Michelle during a period when they should have been anxious and, potentially, irritable. I cannot express how comfortable in my own skin I have been allowed to feel.
At a time of great stress, Marsha and Michelle have been a pleasure to work with. Thanks, guys!”
Thank you, Marsha & Michelle, for being stewards of our agency culture and values. Your dedication—It’s clear. It’s such an honor to hear moving testimonials like these.
That said, words can’t express how grateful we are for you, the Glendive team, and everyone else rising to the occasion as leaders. We know the waters are a little choppy right now, with so much tension flavoring the world at large. But remember, together, we can navigate through any storm.
Alone, we are just one. Together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ Youth Home Support Specialist, Craig Sim
“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” — Nelson Mandela
This month, we want to recognize Youth Home Support Specialist Craig Sim for his exemplary service to his team and the kids at our Boulder Youth Homes.
Hands down, Craig’s outstanding! He’s demonstrated incredible dedication to our kids and mission. Without hesitation, he’s stepped up and put in some serious hours at our AYA campus—Turning his entire schedule around to help cover shifts. Honestly, he’s relentless in ensuring youth receive nothing short of exceptional care despite challenges.
That said, Craig’s a role model to everyone around him. The man never hesitates to go above and beyond to meet the needs of those we serve. He’s an extraordinary listener and is genuinely a caring human being. There’s no question he’s invested in excellent outcomes for our residential youth.
Thank you, Craig, for your service towards our mission. Your commitment to the kids, this organization—It’s clear. You’re a true steward of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Staff Spotlight~ Youth Case Manager, Brittany Carr
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Who’s this incredible woman? It’s none other than Missoula Youth Case Manager Brittany Carr! We want to recognize this outstanding human for her dedication to our mission and kids.
There’s no question about it. Brittany puts people first. Whether she’s guiding a client through crisis or supporting teammates, you can bet she’ll go the extra mile. Her heart? It’s humongous! Her personality? It lights up a room! She’s a ray of cheerful sunshine!
That said, Brittany’s a straight-up go-getter. When staffing started to get tight in Boulder, she didn’t hesitate to step up and volunteer to support our homes, still spending weekends covering shifts. Yet, her work at the Missoula Community Office hasn’t slipped. She provides stellar service and keeps close to flawless records.
And you know what? It shows Brittany’s an exceptional social worker. She navigates treatment with kids who struggle with significant trauma and mental health challenges skillfully—providing nothing short of extraordinary care.
Thank you, Brittany, for your service towards our mission. Your commitment—It shows. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and words can’t express how grateful we are to have you on our team!
Staff Spotlight~ ACD, Jordan Hinshaw
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John Maxwell
Who’s this selfless leader? It’s none other than Associate Clinical Director Jordan Hinshaw! We want to recognize this remarkable woman for her exemplary service towards her team and the kids in our residential care.
Honestly, Jordan never shies away from going the extra mile for the people in her world. She’s no stranger to sacrifice—working countless hours and even hunkering down at our North Skyline Youth Home last Thanksgiving during a lockdown in the height of a pandemic.
Truthfully, Jordan knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Her strength of character is hard to match—You can always count on her to do what’s right, regardless of circumstances.
Really, Jordan leads by example. She never asks anyone to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. Her spirit—It’s fierce. Her nature—It’s soft and giving. Hands down, this woman is ruthless when it comes to carrying out our mission.
Thank you, Jordan, for your unyielding commitment to our organization, people, and the children we serve. Your leadership—It has an impact. Words can’t express how grateful we are for you and your team.
Staff Spotlight—Honoring Those Going Above & Beyond for Our Youth Homes
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Who are these heroic humans? It’s just a few of the incredible people we have at this organization doing tremendous work across the state for the kids in our care. And you know what? We want to take a second to recognize each of you!
Honestly, it’s been humbling to watch the way everyone’s pulled together for the youth we serve. There’s no questioning the tenacious spirit of this organization—So many people’s lights are shining bright right now.
We have road warriors and many pulling in extraordinary hours to ensure their residential mates and the kids in our homes receive the support they need during this challenging period. Without question, your hard work, commitment—It’s a testament to the YDI way, and frankly, humbling.
To those working extra shifts at our homes, coming into work despite fears, traveling great distances to support their teammates, and carrying significant responsibilities or stretched thin—Your work doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s hard to express in words just how grateful we are for each of you.
That said, many have anxieties navigating the significant uncertainties flavoring today’s world. For some, simply showing up is a monumental task. We applaud your strength and also want to remind you to take care of yourself.
Practice self-care, utilize your mental health days, floating holiday, and PTO bank when you need it. And don’t be afraid to tap into free wellness benefits available through our EAP and health insurance plans.
We want to thank you for your unwavering dedication and drive to carry out our mission to Montana kids, even in the face of challenges. Repeatedly, Youth Dynamics has proven to be resilient because of the strength of character you demonstrate. Remember, alone—We are just one. But together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
James Powell #YDIStrong
When we help ourselves, we find moments of happiness. When we help others, we find lasting fulfillment. – Simon Sinek
Who’s this fantastic fellow? It’s Boulder Youth Home Manager James Powell, and hands down, this guy is dedicated. He’s been a rock at our AYA campus for six years, and even during a period laced with uncertainty, shows no signs of wavering in his commitment.
Without question, Jim lives and breathes our mission. Seriously, the man’s heart is enormous. He’s served troubled youth his entire adult life and was even named officer of the year by the Governor in 2013 for his work positively guiding kids at Pine Hills.
Indeed, James is a man whose presence commands respect. He sincerely cares about the people around him and acts as a pillar of support for his residential teammates. And you know what? He’s one of many who are going the extra mile right now.
We want to thank Jim, his youth home mates, and everyone who’s stepping forward to support our homes. At the moment, labor shortages are rocking the nation. Yet, despite challenges, you’ve pulled together to wrap around the kids in our care. Honestly, it’s incredible to witness the tenacity of the people of this organization.
Simply put, every single one of you is outstanding. Words can’t describe how sincerely honored we are to have each of you on our team. And truthfully, we couldn’t carry out our mission without your unified support. Remember, alone—we are just one. But together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ Phil Yanzick
“A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self-promotion but the hushed whispers of necessity.” – Mollie Marti
Who’s this fantastic man? It’s Program Manager Phil Yanzick! We want to recognize him for his dedication to our mission, team, and the kids at our Alternative Youth Adventures campus.
Hands down, it’s hard to hold a candle to Phil’s commitment. This man is wearing multiple hats to hold down the fort in Boulder right now. And you know what? He doesn’t think twice about it! Without complaint, he doesn’t hesitate to pick up a shift, grocery shop, organize meds, or do whatever else is needed to support the people around him.
Honestly, Phil’s a straight-up superstar! He’s a team player and thinks the world of his residential crew. He selflessly serves and is the epitome of what it means to be #YDIStrong.
And the thing is, the people in Phil’s world are pretty fond of him too! His team has nominated him time and time again for this honor. So, truthfully, we couldn’t be more thrilled to dish out this long-overdue recognition.
Thank you, Phil, for your service to our mission and the youth in our care. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Susan Schell #YDIStrong
Susan, You Will Be So Greatly Missed.
Do you know who this is? It’s Susan Schell, and while she was on this earth, her light shined bright! For eight years, she honorably served our organization as a Youth Home Support Specialist in Boulder. She was a loyal teammate and friend—A fearless fighter who loved with every fiber of her being.
For Susan, relationships were personal. Her coworkers were her friends, and dare I say, family. She adored them. There’s no question she gave 100% of herself to the people of AYA. Her smile? It lit up a room. Kind words were always pouring out of this woman’s mouth.
That said, Susan believed in what we do—the purpose behind our work. She was fierce, never hesitating to go to bat for our kids. But you know what? She did so with softness. Her presence was comforting, and her deep-seated sense of empathy—unique. Every living being was precious in her eyes.
Susan, we want to thank you for your commitment to our mission and the kids we serve. You brought so much value to Youth Dynamics and will live on through the countless lives you touched.
Shane Kieling #YDIStrong
A Handy Man With a Huge Heart!
Who’s this fantastic man? It’s Shane Kieling, and let me tell you, this guy always goes above and beyond to support our organization! He came on board as a contractor, but his commitment to our mission is hard to match.
Shane is always doing extra work to ensure our group homes and community offices are in tip-top shape. In fact, just recently, he showed up at our River’s Edge Youth Home in Billings for a spot job and proceeded to fix odds and ends throughout the entire house.
But it doesn’t stop there. This guy travels to the far reaches of the state to assist with handy work in our areas. And you know what? He does so with a smile on his face, spreading kindness and cheer where ever he goes.
Thank you, Shane, for everything you do for the people of Youth Dynamics. You are an ambassador of the YDI way, and we’re so grateful you came on board to help us with our facilities.
Staff Spotlight~ Brennan Maples
“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.” – Carl Rogers
Who’s this heroic human? It’s none other than Star Youth Home Therapist Brennan Maples! We want to recognize him for his exemplary commitment to our organization, people, and the kids we serve.
Hands down, Brennan is committed to our mission. This guy always volunteers to take on extra work in service of our youth. It’s important to him that every child receives the therapeutic support they need to thrive. In fact, he’s stepped up to carry a significant caseload, doing so without hesitation or complaint.
That said, Brennan has an energy about him that is truly unique. He’s personable, genuine, and can connect with every youth he serves. I mean, seriously, this guy is the definition of trauma-informed. He does a phenomenal job creating the safe space needed for our kids to explore attachment and regulation—supporting them in the healing necessary to move forward.
Clinically, Brennan is a sound therapist. He roots himself in research-based practices and communicates his knowledge in a way that’s easy to understand. And you know what? His insight makes him a fantastic leader for his team! He provides guidance and validation that bring our people together and equate to sound outcomes for the kids we serve.
Honestly, Brennan’s just an incredible person. He’s truly a good guy, treating everyone with respect and kindness, despite their history or position at our organization. This human supports the people in his world and cares deeply for our kids. There’s no doubt that he truly deserves this recognition.
Thank you, Brennan, for your commitment to our mission and the youth we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Rebecca Flores #YDIStrong
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Who’s this rockstar of a person? It’s none other than Human Resources Assistant Rebecca Flores! And truthfully? This woman has a heart of solid gold!
Hands down, Rebecca sees the best in everyone. She cares immensely about the people in her world and has a huge capacity for others. There’s an honest sincerity about her that’s truly unique.
This woman wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s genuine and never hesitates to bring 110% of herself into everything she does.
Honestly, there’s no question that Rebecca’s a beautiful person inside and out. Her smile? It wraps from ear to ear! She’s a fiery ball of positive energy. And that energy? It radiates out to everyone around her.
Thank you, Rebecca, for being you! You bring so much to this organization, and we’re so grateful you’re a part of our team.
Staff Spotlight~ Jessica Wojton
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
Who’s this wonderful woman? It’s none other than Lewis & Clark Youth Home Counselor Jessica Wojton! We want to recognize this spectacular human for her commitment to our organization and the kids we serve.
Really, it’s no secret Jessica is one fantastic individual. She has a heart of gold and a level of dedication that’s hard to match. Honestly, this lady moves mountains for the people in her world. And the kids we serve? They don’t doubt for a second her allegiance to our mission or charge to provide exemplary care.
That said, I typically ask for a few bullet points from teammates, then draft our spotlight posts myself. However, this time, I’m going to let our residential leadership do the talking. Below is what Associate Clinical Director Jordan Hinshaw, Program Manager Jimmy Trudo, and Home Manager Kelly Wojton had to say in recognition of Jessica.
“Jess is the definition of #YDIStrong and being a team player. She is willing to step up and help out wherever needed and always does so with a smile on her face. She’ll drive to Great Falls to help cover open shifts, sub to take kiddos to doctor’s appointments, grab groceries, and the list goes on. I love getting to work with Jess and having her on our LCYH/NSYH teams.” – Jordan Hinshaw
“It has been a pleasure working with and supervising Jessica. She cares about our kiddos, has a great attitude, and always wears a smile on her face. It takes a lot of patience, dedication, and genuine compassion to work with challenging youth, and Jessica clearly displays these traits every time she comes to work. She spends a lot of time with our kids taking them to appointments and outings, all the while completing her DAP notes and other job duties. I can honestly say that she enjoys her job.
Jessica also goes above and beyond, always willing to help out. Since working at LCYH, she has changed positions on three separate occasions based on the needs of our home without batting an eye. In addition, she’s been willing to help out on weekends and overnight shifts in Great Falls.
Our LCYH and NSYH teams are very thankful to have Jessica on board. She is easy to work with, loves working with children, and supports us whenever and wherever we need her. I just want to say thank you, Jessica. You deserve this spotlight.” – Jimmy Trudo
“Jess is just amazing to have here. She is very caring with clients, staff and always encourages supervisors to give her feedback to continue to improve her work at our group home. Honestly, she is just a sweet, caring person. She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.” – Kelly Wojton
Thank you, Jessica, for your commitment to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Allison Bighorn #YDIStrong
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Who’s this heroic human? It’s none other than Colstrip Care Manager Allison Bighorn! And you know what? This lady is one-of-a-kind!
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to cross paths with Allison, you know just how passionate she really is. Honestly, it’s hard to extinguish the flames that burn within her. When advocating for our kids or a coworker, you can count on her to gracefully champion what’s right.
But it’s more than just Allison’s fire that lights up a room. Her personality—It’s magnetic! Her laughter echoes throughout the halls of our Colstrip Community Office. She brings joy everywhere she goes, adding value to the lives of those around her.
Yet, Allison’s tenacious spirit has a softer side. This lady is kind and compassionate. She loves children and always offers a supportive shoulder to the people around her. Words can’t describe how much teammates appreciate this woman.
And wait, there’s more! Allison has some serious drive! She works day in and day out for the families we serve. On her watch, no detail gets missed. There’s no doubt this woman is pulled to make a difference—A truth backed by the exemplary work she carries out every day.
We want to thank Allison and the rest of you for everything you do in service to kids and families. Truthfully, you’re all vital members of team YDI, and we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, together, we are an unstoppable force in our collective goal to create a bright future for Montana youth.
Staff Spotlight~ Jade Miller
“Leadership is an action, not a position.” —Donald McGannon
Who’s this incredible lady? It’s none other than Great Falls Lead Care Manager, Jade Miller! We want to recognize this fantastic individual for exemplary service to our organization and the kids we serve.
Seriously, organized doesn’t even begin to describe Jade. This woman is on top of her game! Ask anyone in Cascade County, and they’ll tell you just how amazing she is. Really, she both coordinates and executes ITP meetings, community office training, intake scans, and more in a manner that seems almost effortless.
But Jade is more than just efficient. Her teammates have nominated her countless times for our monthly employee spotlight. There’s no question she’s a leader. Without hesitation, she completes all of her lead care manager duties on top of a caseload with vigor.
And you know what? It doesn’t stop there! Jade has a heart that doesn’t quit. This lady cares about people and understands they are at the center of everything we do.
When Jade’s not doing everything under the sun to keep operations running smoothly, she’s putting together community office celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries, and other important milestones. Under her watch, no teammate goes unappreciated.
Thank you, Jade, for your commitment to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Kay Brown #YDIStrong
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” – Fred Rogers
Who’s this one-of-a-kind woman? It’s none other than Administrative Support Kay Brown! And you know what? This lady is a unique gem! If you’ve ever called our Central Office in Billings, chances are, you’ve crossed paths with her and know just how far she’ll go to provide exemplary service.
Really, Kay believes in excellence— she’ll move mountains for anyone despite their title or status. And you know why? This lady loves people and wholeheartedly believes in the power of customer service. Because truthfully? She’s been doing administrative work for most of her adult career and is passionate about it.
That said, after seven years of proudly serving our organization, Kay will be retiring on Friday. And you know what? She deserves this! The woman has put everything into her role at Youth Dynamics. Even in her last week, she’s committed to tying up loose ends.
Seriously, over the past few days, Kay’s been feverishly plugging away at outreach projects—making sure everything is in order for the next person who takes her place. In fact, she’s gone as far as writing a manual for her replacement, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that operations can run smoothly.
But Kay’s more than just a dedicated employee—she’s one heck of a woman. This lady is direct and always says what’s on her mind. The thing is, you never have to guess where you stand with her. She has a unique honesty and an exquisite heart. Really, she gave a little piece of herself to everyone who came through our Central Office doors, and her legacy will forever live on at our agency.
Thank you, Kay, for all you’ve brought to our organization. YDI was a better place because you were a part of it. We are so grateful we got to spend the last leg of your career with you and wish you all the best in your well-deserved retirement.
Staff Spotlight~ Morgan Davis
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – Rosa Parks
Who’s this strong woman? It’s none other than Helena Area Manager & Youth Case Manager Morgan Davis! We want to recognize this fantastic individual for her exemplary service to our organization and the kids we serve.
Truthfully, Morgan is one of a kind! She has an energy that draws people to her like a magnet. Really, this woman is chock-full of compassion—always going the extra mile for her people. As a Youth Case Manager, you can count on her to go above and beyond for her families. And as a manager? She leads her team to excellence when it comes to top-notch, quality care.
That said, Morgan wears a lot of hats. She works another job, carries a caseload, and is a grad student. Still, this lady stepped into the area manager role when the Helena Community Office needed her most. And you know what? It was a great fit! She carries her responsibilities in a way that seems effortless.
Moreover, Morgan has a personality that glows. Her passion for her work is contagious. Honestly, this lady walks with grace but is a fierce advocate for the kids she’s charged to serve— no child slips through the cracks on her watch. Yet, even with her fire, she can lighten a room with a bit of humor.
Thank you, Morgan, for your commitment to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Staff Spotlight~ Mitch Klatt
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” – Zig Ziglar
Who’s this hardworking fellow? It’s none other than Missoula LAC Mitch Klatt! We want to recognize this fine individual for his exemplary service to our organization and the kids we serve.
Honestly, it’s no secret that Mitch is committed to what he does. This man cares about his craft and seeing kids succeed. And if excellent outcomes require stepping in to help other areas? He does so without complaint.
Does a group home need an LAC? No problem, Mitch is on it! He always goes the extra mile for the people around him. Under his watch, no child slips through the cracks.
Really, Mitch is a team player. He takes on a substantial amount of duties and does so without hesitation. Simply put, the man works hard. He comes to the office, shuts his door, and often doesn’t leave until dinner time. Moreover, he’s dependable. He never hesitates to take on challenging tasks or step up to assist the people around him.
That said, Mitch puts an incredible amount of thought into the intricacies of his role. Seriously, he’s a slave to the details. Under his watch, nothing gets missed. He’s intelligent but not arrogant. His strengths— they’re an asset to this organization. The people around him always seek out his knowledge and insight.
Thank you, Mitch, for your commitment to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Jimmy Trudo #YDIStrong
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” ~ Jime Rohn
Who’s this fantastic fellow? It’s none other than Program Manager Jimmy Trudo! And let me tell you, this man is wonderful! If you’ve crossed paths with him, you know just how far he’ll go for the people in his world. Really, he’ll move mountains for anyone at this organization.
Honestly, Jimmy has a heart of gold. For years he’s been dedicated to YDI, going as far as traveling the state to round up referrals for our group homes. There’s no doubt this man believes in what we do, the purpose behind our mission-based work.
The thing is, Jimmy sees the goodness in everyone. He treats people with kindness and always gives the benefit of the doubt. The man is a living example of what it means to uphold our actively caring, trauma-informed culture.
That said, Jimmy’s role is stressful. He’d be less than human not to feel the burn sometimes. And there are moments where that stress can show. But don’t be fooled. It’s because he cares so much about what he does. He believes in a job well done and following through with his commitments.
We want to thank Jimmy and the rest of you for all you bring to the table here. Each of you has strengths to be celebrated, and we’re so grateful you’re a part of our team. Remember, alone; we’re just one. But together, we’re an unstoppable force in our mission to create a bright future for our state, one child and family at a time. #YDIStrong
“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.” – Michael Phelps
Who’s this fantastic team of HR gurus? It’s none other than HRAs Rebecca Flores, Stephanie McLane, and Robert Taylor! Straight up, these three have passion! They work hard, day in and day out, to make sure we have the resources to serve Montana kids seamlessly. And you know what? We couldn’t be prouder.
Honestly, this crew doesn’t shy away from a little hard work! Last week, they hit a new low of 5% for our open job rate. And it doesn’t stop there! These three are onboarding twenty-seven new YDI team members in addition to serving our HR needs. Really, this squad is dedicated to our mission and supporting our people.
We want to thank these fine individuals for their commitment to the YDI way. They are the backbone of our organization, and we couldn’t carry out our impactful work without their support. Hey, Rebecca, Stephanie, and Robert! We appreciate you! Thank you for all that you do! #YDIStrong
Yolanda Pretty Boy #YDIStrong
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” —Scott Adams.
Who’s this sweet-spirited woman? It’s none other than Yolanda Pretty Boy, and let me tell you, this lady has a beautiful heart! If you’re lucky enough to work closely with her, you know just how she goes out of her way to make others feel special.
Really, Yolanda’s a people person. She loves those around her with her whole being and puts everything into a job well done. For years this woman was the Admin Support in Colstrip, and during that time, it was rare that something got missed. Now, she’s moved up the ranks to Youth Case Management and is nothing short of a pillar of support for her families.
Hands down, Yolanda’s an outstanding human being. This lady isn’t afraid to send birthday wishes, morning motivational messages, or words of encouragement to any of her teammates across the state. There is a kindness that radiates from within her that’s hard to match. No doubt, this woman’s light shines bright. She’s a beacon of sunshine for anyone in her presence.
We want to thank Yolanda and the rest of you for all you do to support those around you. Each of you is instrumental in our daily operations, and we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ Kristen Linn
“It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” – Steven Patrick Morrissey.
Who’s this dedicated diva? It’s none other than Billings Care Manager Kristen Linn! We want to recognize this wonderful woman for her exemplary service to our organization and the kids we serve.
Honestly, it’s no secret that Kristen has some serious drive! Ask around, and her teammates will tell you just how much she glows of responsibility. Hands down, the woman is goal orientated and never hesitates to step up to the plate when it comes to taking accountability or offering her team a little extra support. There’s no question about it; this lady’s a leader in YDI community services.
That said, Kristen might be focused on a job well done, but don’t get the wrong impression- she’s never too busy for people. Really, this fantastic female puts others first. She has a warm and gentle energy that’s hard to miss! Her heart has real depth, and everyone around her knows it!
Truthfully, Kristen’s always going out of her way to help the people around her. She provides stellar care to her families and will drop everything on a dime for her teammates. And when she’s not supporting the humans around her? This lady puts her whole heart into her fur babies, Leo and Leila! She’s a ray of positive sunshine for all creatures alike and can light up any room.
Thank you, Kristen, for your commitment to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Mischelle Chambers #YDIStrong
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney
Who’s this dedicated diva? It’s none other than Great Falls Area Manager Mischelle Chambers! And honestly, this lady’s a gem! She cares deeply about the services we provide and will stop at nothing to ensure our clients receive top-notch care.
To Mischelle, customer service counts, and it shows. Simply put, under her leadership, the Great Falls Community Office has become an institution. Well before we expanded into FBS, this lady grew client services exponentially in Cascade County. At one point, she oversaw approximately thirty clinicians, who together served over three hundred kids.
That said, I’m going to spill the beans on a little secret. Alongside her team, Mischelle built our empire in Great Falls from the ground up. And guess what? She did it all through strategic partnerships, outreach, and emphasizing premium client care. Really, this lady intuitively knows what it takes to create community service success.
Honestly, I couldn’t wrap this up without emphasizing how unique Mischelle truly is. She’s a zero-drama, straight-to-the-point kind of gal. There’s no question about it. You always know just what you’re going to get with this woman. Transparency is her jam. She might not be the queen of fluff, but her honesty is refreshing.
We want to thank Mischelle and the rest of you for your commitment to our mission and the families we serve. Youth Dynamics is the provider of choice because of you. Remember, alone, we’re just one. But together, we can make a significant impact on our state through the work we carry out each day. #YDIStrong
Kristin Thompson #YDIStrong
“If someone tells you it can’t be done. Smile and humbly agree. Then go back and work so hard that you can prove them wrong equally as fast.” – Avijeet Das
Who’s this wonderful lady? It’s HR Manager Kristin Thompson, and she’s a one-of-a-kind woman! She started as an FSA straight out of high school, spending most of her adult life climbing the YDI career ladder. Over the years, she’s grown from a spunky clinician to a timid operations staff and ultimately into a seasoned, polished leader.
That said, don’t let Kristin’s title fool you. She’s ultra-sweet! And while soft-spoken by nature, she always musters the courage to speak up for our staff. In fact, this lady embodies the “people first” pulse of our organization, believing wholeheartedly in the human-centered approach that makes us unique.
Moreover, Kristin’s a critical part of the engine that drives change at our agency. Every quarter, she slaves away at the Organizational Climate Survey to ensure we’re capturing your voice. Honestly, most of us don’t see what goes into that! And once the survey closes? This woman works tirelessly to prepare the data you gave us in a meaningful way for leadership, ultimately pushing for positive initiatives that empower our people.
Truthfully, Kristin’s one bright cookie! Anyone familiar with the HR field knows that the addition of her recent credentials is quite an honor. Obtaining a SHRM certification requires a significant amount of dedication. Really, an unfathomable degree of sacrifice, studying, and commitment to her craft. And the thing is, she achieved it while balancing the weight of responsibility at home and the office in an effortless manner.
We want to thank Kristin and the rest of you for everything you bring to the table at YDI. Each of you is an essential piece of the puzzle that makes up our organization. And truthfully, we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, alone, we are just one. But together, we are an unstoppable force in our mission to create a bright future for Montana kids. #YDIStrong
Amy Langel #YDIStrong
“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” – Sonia Johnson
Who’s this hardworking woman? It’s none other than Great Falls Lead Care Manager Amy Langel! We want to recognize this gracious gal for her exemplary service to our organization and the kids we serve.
If you’re familiar with Amy, you know that she’s one force of a fantastic human. Really, this lady was born to make waves! She’s driven to make a difference and will stop at nothing to do so. Ask her, and she’ll tell you that she derives a deep sense of purpose from her work with children and families.
Moreover, Amy carries a caseload and oversees nothing short of a stellar FBS crew. She’s a trained and dedicated teacher, something that’s intimately linked to her team’s exceptional performance. And when this lady’s not leading her people? Well, she’s going the extra mile for her clients! Each month she routinely hits 100% productivity. Really, this woman owns the hats she wears and sports them with style!
That said, don’t be fooled by, what at times, can appear to be a rugged exterior. Amy has a massive, empathetic heart! This lady is responsive to those in her world! She genuinely cares about the people around her and the families she’s called to serve.
More so, Amy’s a straight shooter and carries a zero-judgment attitude. Really, she’s an honest, no-nonsense type of gal who loves others, despite their pasts or shortcomings. Truthfully, this planet needs more people like her!
Thank you, Amy, for your dedication to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Joel Grinder #YDIStrong
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
Who’s this meticulous fellow? It’s none other than River’s Edge Therapist Joel Grinder, and honestly, this guy is pretty spectacular! For years, he’s been holding down the fort at our therapeutic group homes, serving as both a clinician and member of our leadership team. And with all the hats this guy has worn, no shortage of responsibility sits squarely on his shoulders.
Truthfully, Joel understands the meaning of sacrifice. From the day he started at our organization, he’s been a leader. He is both a veteran who’s served our country with honor and an esteemed presence among our residential team. Really, this gentleman is a man of his word who goes above and beyond to empower the people around him.
More so, Joel’s quite astute and one force of a human being. This guy is sharp and will stop at nothing to solve a problem his team throws in his direction. Honestly, there’s no end to his wisdom. He’s a quiet, deep thinker whose energy commands the respect of anyone he holds company with.
That said, Joel has a mellow way about him, but make no mistake, he works hard. This man is dedicated and never misses a detail regarding the kids’ care at River’s Edge. And when his teammates are struggling? Fear not! Joel never hesitates to support his people, lifting those around him with patience.
We want to thank Joel and the rest of you for everything you do. Each of you is unique and a critical member of Team YDI. Remember, alone, we are just one. But together, we can pave the way to a bright future, one child and family at a time. #YDIStrong
Kelsey Adcock #YDIStrong
“The responsibility of a company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve their people so that their people may better serve the customer.” – Simon Sinek
Who’s this sweet-hearted sister? It’s none other than Missoula Area Manager Kelsey Adcock! And truthfully, this lady is fantastic! She has a kind, mellow energy that could calm even the most wired among us. Really, this woman has a profoundly empathetic spirit, caring wholeheartedly for those she’s charged to lead.
Truthfully, Kelsey invests significantly in her team. She has an open-door policy and never shies away from putting her staff first. Honestly, there’s no doubt this lady is an ambassador of our people-first approach. It’s just the way she rolls, humans before numbers. She understands that leadership isn’t black and white- you can exude warmth while still holding people accountable.
That said, it’s hard to forget Kelsey’s days as a Youth Case Manager at the Missoula Community Office. The woman was a fierce advocate for her clients. She never quit when it came to insisting her kids had a voice, ensuring that not a single one of them got lost in the system.
More so, Kelsey went to great lengths to help each of her families, placing ads in newspapers and hitting the streets to gather donations. Under her watch, no child went without their basic needs met. And that’s just a tiny reflection of the magnitude of this lady’s heart. Her capacity for others is hard to match. Her genuine, giving spirit is extraordinary.
We want to thank Kelsey and the rest of you for everything you bring to the table. You are all unique and add value to our organization. And truthfully, we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, alone, we are just one. But collectively, we can pave the way to a bright future for our state, one child at a time.
Staff Spotlight~ Jenna Sieber
You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. – Rosa Parks
Who’s this smart señorita? It’s none other than Missoula Care Manager Jenna Sieber. We want to recognize this fine lady for her exemplary service to our organization and the children we serve.
Truthfully, it’s no secret that Jenna’s a one of a kind woman. This lady’s fun to be around and sharp as a tack. Really, the brain on her shoulders sets her apart from the pack. Moreover, you can count on her to pass on that knowledge. She’s always stepping up to do a little peer training, handing down her smarts to others within our organization.
More so, Jenna’s a fantastic presence in our Missoula Community Office. She’s got a great sense of humor, is an ambassador of our actively caring culture, and all around, an exemplary employee. She goes above and beyond to support her comrades, adding value everywhere she goes.
Honestly, Jenna leads by example. Despite a challenging year, she’s never once lost sight of the purpose behind our work. Regardless of barriers, she presses forward with our mission, always putting families first.
That said, Jenna’s focus on clients has led her to do some pretty stellar things. Just last month, she raised the bar by going out of her way to help two siblings separated through foster care connect over the holidays. Really, she relentlessly advocated to make it happen, taking her work up to the tribe to ensure her kiddos had a memorable Christmas. There’s no question that this woman makes a difference.
Thank you, Jenna, for your dedication to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Lyndie Gladden #YDIStrong
“A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” – Ray Davis
Who’s this wonderful woman? It’s none other than Accounts Payable Technician Lyndie Gladden, and let me tell you, this lady’s outstanding. She has a genuine spirit and is always willing to offer a helping hand. Honestly, her work ethic is unstoppable; there’s no question that it sets her apart from the pack.
More so, you can count on Lyndie to dive headfirst into a challenge and use it as an opportunity for growth. In fact, she never hesitates when it comes to learning new things. She’s flexible and always striving to do her personal best. Really, she’s a fantastic human and an integral part of our finance team.
That said, Lyndie’s known for putting people first. Her compassion for others is both unique and admirable. Her comrades can count on her to be kind, caring, and light up a room with her sense of humor. The thing is, she adds value everywhere she goes. There’s no doubt that she embodies the mindset of a leader.
Truthfully, the writing was on the walls earlier this week when I requested a few of Lyndie’s strengths from her teammates. They sent a flood of emails, all of which demonstrated that she is well-loved and appreciated. Clearly, she’s an asset to the Finance Department and our agency as a whole.
We want to thank Lyndie and the rest of you for all that you do. Each of you is a valuable piece of the puzzle that makes up our organization. And truthfully, we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, together, we can shape a bright future for our state, one child at a time. #YDIStrong
Nicole Bergman #YDIStrong
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Who’s this wonderful woman? It’s none other than Intake Coordinator Nicole Bergman, and make no mistake, this lady’s spectacular! She has a huge heart and is zealous about advocating for others. Truthfully, her fire for social justice is what brought her to us in the first place. Every ounce of her is pulled to make a difference.
That said, Nicole’s been the rock of therapeutic foster care at Youth Dynamics for six years. Many don’t know that in 2016, the program faced what seemed like insurmountable barriers. However, this lady refused to let it go down without a fight. She scoured the state, living on the road to license families everywhere from Wolf Point to Kalispell. Really, she’s the definition of dedication. Her passion for TFC is evident; her allegiance to our agency is clear.
But Nicole’s loyalty doesn’t stop at our organization. Those who are close to her know that she’s a fierce and devoted friend. This lady never hesitates to stand up for the people she cares about or what she believes is right, even if she knows she will be the lone voice of dissent. The thing is, her strength of character is hard to match. She’s a great friend, an outstanding employee, and overall, a fantastic human.
We want to thank Nicole and the rest of you for all you bring to the table at Youth Dynamics. Each of you has strengths to be celebrated and are a unique piece of the mosaic that makes up our organization. Remember, alone; we are just one. But together, we can face any challenges thrown in our direction. #YDIStrong
Steph Aurand #YDIStrong
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell
Who’s this wild woman? It’s none other than Kalispell Admin Support, Steph Aurand, and let me tell you, this lady is amazing! She has a fun, laid back energy that could draw in even the most rigid among us. Really, she’s a unique specimen. Her personality? It’s simply magnetic! Her work ethic? It’s unstoppable!
Honestly, Steph takes ownership of her position. For seven years, she’s been deeply devoted to our organization. Each day, she ensures that daily operations at our Kalispell Community Office go down without a hitch. But her sense of responsibility doesn’t stop there. At the drop of a dime, she’s repeatedly put down everything to support our other locations. It’s just the way she rolls. She’s a great person with solid core values.
That said, Steph puts up a stealthy front, but she’s a bleeding heart. She loves children, her teammates, and is incredibly dedicated to the YDI way. Time and time again, she’s gone above and beyond for her people. She’s a strong advocate and doesn’t back down in ensuring our little ones or comrades are treated well. Moreover, she’s a loyal and trustworthy friend. Those around her can always count on her character strength and ability to pull through under challenging circumstances.
We want to thank Steph and the rest of you for your commitment to our organization. Each of you is an essential piece of the engine that propels us forward in our mission to create a bright future for Montana youth. We know it’s been a turbulent year, but collectively, we can weather any storm. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ Austin Andrews & Alec Arana
“Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value.” – Albert Einstein
Who are these fantastic fellows? It’s none other than Rimview Youth Home Counselors, Austin Andrews, and Alec Arana. We want to recognize these fine men for their exemplary service to our organization and the children we serve.
Honestly, Austin and Alec are fabulous for a multitude of reasons. To start, their commitment to our youth is unmatched. At the drop of a dime, either will put aside everything to support their team or our residential kiddos. In fact, neither will bat an eye at working holidays, or even traveling halfway across the state, as Alec did, to be with our kids during a lockdown.
Really, these mellow men have giving hearts. They’ve got a fun and calming nature that makes them great with the children we serve. More so, their energy draws people around them like metal to a magnet. Those in their presence love them. They exemplify the actively caring-culture that’s at the heart of our organization.
That said, Austin’s teammates dished out a laundry list of qualities that make him one hero of a human, including everything from stellar communication skills to his comforting, strength-based approach with the kids in our care. But, his actions earlier this month spoke louder than words ever could.
Austin’s character undoubtedly shined through in his response to being selected for our employee spotlight. When notified, he requested to share the honor with his teammate Alec, who at the time was selflessly spending the holidays in Great Falls caring for our youth. Austin’s actions proved that within him is a fine individual with an honest and humble spirit.
Thank you, Austin and Alec, for your dedication to our mission and the children we serve. You are true champions of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Staff Spotlight~ Rimview Therapist, Bailee Schnell
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn
Who’s this hardworking human? It’s Rimview Therapist Bailee Schnell with her two adorable canine friends! We want to recognize this fantastic lady as one of our staff spotlights for her exemplary teamwork and commitment to the kids in our care.
Truthfully, Bailee has worked tirelessly over the past eight months to support the people around her. Without a doubt, she’s been a beacon of light, diligently helping those in her circle navigate the rough waters that COVID’s created. Really, the heavy burden of caring for highly traumatized youth amidst a public health crisis rests on her shoulders. But, despite that, she’s remained a pillar of patience for the children she serves.
That said, Bailee takes her role as a therapist seriously, particularly during these difficult days. Wholeheartedly, she recognizes that each child has a unique set of needs and invests in them accordingly. More so, the woman is creative in her craft. Without hesitation, she relentlessly ensures every youth gets what they need to succeed on their path to healing.
Thank you, Bailee, for your dedication to our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Gavin Sundquist #YDIStrong
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” —Abraham Lincoln
Who’s this king of kindness? It’s none other than Great Falls FSA Manager Gavin Sundquist! And truthfully, this man has a seriously selfless heart. Regardless of circumstances, he’s always giving, whether it be a few encouraging words or sacrificing his time during the holidays to serve our kiddos during a lockdown. Really, he has a warm, gentle energy about him that’s hard for anyone to miss. His positive vibes are simply uplifting. He can turn the morale of any room around.
More so, where ever Gavin goes, he adds value. His optimistic spirit and exceptional drive make him a critical component of the engine that pushes us forward in our mission to help children and families. In fact, this man gives 110% when it comes to supporting his teammates and Cascade County kids. Despite his two-week stent at NSYH over Thanksgiving, his service to our FSAs and the Great Falls mentoring program never faltered. Without hesitation, he completed two full-time men’s job duties, believing wholeheartedly in the purpose behind the work that we do.
We want to thank Gavin and the rest of you for your extraordinary efforts during this challenging period. Each of you is an essential piece of the puzzle that makes up our organization. And collectively, we couldn’t wade through these rough waters without your support. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ Program Manager, Rhonda Hedden
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Who’s this peaceful princess? It’s Program Manager, Rhonda Hedden! We want to recognize this fantastic lady as one of our staff spotlights for her outstanding work with her team and the kids in our residential care.
Truthfully, Rhonda’s labored tirelessly over the past eight months to support her comrades and the kids in our homes. In fact, it’s not unknown for her to pull 14-hour shifts and participate in a lockdown to ensure our children are well cared for during this challenging period. Really, this lady believes in high-quality care and will stop at nothing to promote services that foster resilience in youth. She relentlessly tends to every detail, making sure the kids in our residential program have only the finest experience at our facilities.
The thing is, Rhonda does it all with a calming energy that radiates from within. She holds herself in a way that her presence could tame even the most high-spirited among us. Honestly, this lady carries the weight of her programs with dignity and grace, despite the tremendous responsibility this pandemic has placed on them. She is fiercely loyal to our people, and it’s all-around a pleasure to hold company with her.
Thank you, Rhonda, for all you do to support our mission and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
NSYH Lockdown Crew #YDIStrong
ACD Jordan Hinshaw, Area Manager Vicky Warila, FSA Manager Gavin Sundquist, & Youth Support Specialist Alec Arana
Who are these selfless citizens? Meet Associate Clinical Director Jordan Hinshaw, Area Manager Vicky Warila, FSA Manager Gavin Sundquist, and Youth Support Specialist Alec Arana. These fantastic individuals are a true testament to the YDI way. Without hesitation, they forfeited their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones to support our NSYH kiddos amidst a COVID outbreak. Really, they sacrificed their health and holiday season to carry out our mission-based work.
Truthfully, their commitment to our children is humbling. Like us, the kids in our care have had a challenging season. Many of them carrying fear, anxieties and confronting the heavy loss that comes alongside not being able to spend the holidays with family. But unlike us, they don’t have the comfort of home or the freedoms we enjoy.
Still, a significant portion of the kids in our residential care live within the Montana foster care system. And for those children? They often don’t have the security of loved ones to lean on outside our organization. In fact, living with uncertainty is the norm; many don’t know what’s coming next after they leave our homes. These children will find refuge within our walls, our people becoming their family.
With that in mind, we know it’s been a tough year for everyone. But, we can’t lose sight of the purpose behind our work. Each day, you make a significant impact on the lives you touch. Every action, every word has a ripple effect. The seeds you plant today lay the foundation for a brighter tomorrow for our youth.
We want to thank our NSYH lockdown crew and the rest of you for your sacrifice this holiday season. Please know that your work towards the greater good does not go unnoticed. Remember, as a collective whole; we will weather this storm. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Staff Spotlight~ ACD, Jordan Hinshaw
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John Maxwell
Who’s this fantastic leader? It’s none other than Associate Clinical Director Jordan Hinshaw! We want to recognize this wonderful woman as one of our staff spotlights for her phenomenal work supporting her teams and the children in our residential care.
Honestly, it’s no secret that she goes above and beyond to ensure the people she leads feel appreciated, that they never second guess their value at our organization. In fact, do you know what she was doing in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning? She was dishing out a little cheer to her peers on our recognition platform while preparing to celebrate the holiday with the kids at North Skyline Youth Home during a lockdown.
The thing is, this isn’t the first time Jordan has sacrificed in support of our mission-based work. This lady never skips a beat in covering shifts at our group homes or picking up an extra task, even if she knows it will be a significant burden to bear. And, she does it all while carrying a positive attitude that can be felt by everyone in her presence.
But, altruism and unyielding support of the greater good are par for the course for this sweet-spirited woman. Really, she has a kind and giving nature, a warm energy that radiates from within. Her gentle spirit, combined with her unstoppable work ethic, leaves little question of her embodiment of the YDI values. Honestly, she’s a living, breathing example of what it means to be a leader during this challenging period.
Thank you, Jordan, for all you do to support our organization, people, and the children we serve. You are a true champion of the YDI way, and we’re honored to have you on our team.
Chloe Meltzer #YDIStrong
Who’s this sharp and sassy lady scrapping the windshield of her Youth Dynamics ride? It’s none other than Bozeman Area Manager Chloe Meltzer! And, let me tell you, this girl’s got one fantastic brain on her shoulders! She holds a Master of Public Health and is well versed in guiding a team through the trenches of children’s mental health during this challenging period.
Truthfully, this woman gives 110% all the time. Whether she’s putting some serious thought into a problem at hand or diligently making sure our families are well supported, you can count on Chloe to go the extra mile. Really, what most people don’t see is the exhaustive lengths she goes to ensure excellent outcomes, whether it be stellar audits or impressive client services.
Honestly, you can count on Chloe to, at times, be an overthinker. But in the end? She’ll deliver rock-solid results with the utmost care. Really, she’s a serious team player and has grown quite impressively into her role as a leader. She cares deeply about her staff’s well-being and never fails to go the extra mile to support our agency operations. Without exception, she never falters in following through with her commitments and is a true testament to the YDI way.
That said, we want to thank Chloe and the rest of you for everything you bring to the table at our organization. All of you have strengths to be celebrated and are a critical piece of the engine that drives us forward in our mission to serve kids. Please know how grateful we are for each of you. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Ken Maddox #YDIStrong
Do you know who this man is? It’s FSA Ken Maddox, and make no mistake; he was a fierce champion for Cascade County kids. For over 40 years, he relentlessly stayed the course, advocating for youth as a coach and educator in the Great Falls Public School District.
Truthfully, Ken had a serious soft spot for kids who were struggling. He worked nearly every day towards his mission to make a difference. In fact, when he wasn’t teaching, he spent his time fostering resilience in youth through our mentoring program.
Honestly, Ken stood for something. He was a strong advocate for racial equality and brought a black history unit to the Great Falls public school system, teaching the course with the highest level of enthusiasm. A quote that always resonated with him reads, “Judge me by the content of my character, and not the color of my skin.” And, he lived by those words. He always advocated for youth and kept an open attitude towards others.
But, Ken did more than just build strong kids; he touched their hearts. The man had a kind and gentle spirit, always giving pieces of himself to those around him. In his time as an educator, he impacted the lives of thousands of children, ultimately altering the course of our future through his influence. Really, he was passionate about molding the minds of young people, about creating a brighter tomorrow for today’s youth.
The thing is, he loved what he did. In an interview with the Great Falls Tribune last January, Ken expressed his passion for helping kids, stating, “I can’t believe I get paid for doing this,” referring to his role as an educator. His dedication was evident through his commitment to our children, never taking a day to rest, always serving our youth with great pride.
We want to thank Ken for his service to our organization and the children of Cascade County. While he only spent a short time with us, we already feel the impact of his loss. Ken, we are grateful for you and all you have done to build up those around you. Your spirit will always live on through the countless lives you have touched.
Rhonda Hiller, Riley Petty, & Tyler Petty #YDIStrong
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christoper Reeve
Have you met these devoted individuals? Meet our committed residential quarantine crew, Program Manager, Rhonda Hedden, and Youth Home Counselors, Riley and Tyler Petty. For the last fourteen days, these outstanding individuals have sacrificed everything to live full-time at our Lakeview Youth Home, putting their wellbeing aside to care for our children during a COVID outbreak. Really, they have stood the course with our kids, refusing to relinquish their posts, despite the challenges that come alongside full-time residence at a group home.
Truthfully, these three embody the very essence of what our #YDIStrong movement is all about. By any definition, you could call them heroes. Unselfishly, they put their own needs aside, rolled up their sleeves, and did what was right to support their team and the children we serve. But, they aren’t the only ones who’ve sacrificed. As we speak, we still have a crew hunkered down at our Rimview Youth Home, supporting our kids through quarantine.
That said, the strength of our residential services has certainly been tested over the past eight months. Our teams have confronted staffing shortages and a significant amount of uncertainty surrounding the virus’s spread in their homes. But where others may have cowered away in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances, we have come together as a stronger, unified whole.
Right now, we have everyone from residential leadership to community clinicians stepping up to support our teams in helping the kids at our group homes. Without hesitation, many of us didn’t skip a beat in offering to help, whether it be by living at our residences full-time or offering to donate a hot meal. Once again, we have proven that we are unshakeable as an organization, that we are not broken but strengthened by the challenges we face.
We want to thank all of you for your courage and leadership during this period of uncertainty. Words can’t express how truly humbled we are by your dedication to our mission and the children we serve. It has been an honor to watch you come together to support one another during this tumultuous time. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Vicky Warila #YDIStrong
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Who’s this fantastic female? It’s none other than Shelby Area Manager Vicky Warila, and let me tell you, this girl’s got grit! She works tirelessly to support our kids on the Hi-Line. In fact, she’ll drop everything to drive clear across the state to take a child to a higher level of care. Honestly, the lady’s a ball of energy! She never skips a beat when it comes to picking up a caseload, selling our services, or sending a little shout out to support her team.
Truthfully, most of us couldn’t hold a candle to Vicky’s stamina. But, the thing is, she’s not a machine. And her worth? It’s so much more than the work she produces. Really, this woman is passionate and filled with conviction. Get her fired up about something, and you’ll find that she’s a fierce advocate for what she believes in. And, if you mistreat one of her staff or kiddos? Watch out because she won’t hesitate to stand up for the people she cares about.
That said, Vicky also has a softer side. She loves people and has a huge empathetic heart. Honestly, the lady often carries the weight of the world on her shoulders- taking on so much so that others don’t have to. In fact, she will always be the first one to volunteer for a task, even if she knows it will be a considerable burden to bear. And, she does it all without a complaint. The thing is, she cares for others, and in turn, is deeply appreciated by those around her.
We want to thank Vicky and the rest of you for all that you do. Each of you is unique and brings something to the table to be appreciated. We know it’s been a tough year and that, in turn, many of you are tired. But, we must continue to press on during this challenging period. There are too many families counting on us, too many kids struggling right now for us to give up. Remember, collectively, we can make it through the storm. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Mikala Schumacher #YDIStrong
“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.” – Jessy and Bryan Matteo
Who’s this dedicated diva? It’s none other than Butte Care Manager Mikala Schumacher, and let me tell you, this girl’s committed! There’s no doubt she goes above and beyond for those she’s charged to serve. Whether it be delivering care packages to kids stuck at home during a pandemic or hitting the streets to round up donations for our families, there’s no challenge she isn’t prepared to face.
Truthfully, Mikala’s heart is enormous, and it’s led her to gradually stand apart as a leader among our community service clinicians. Really, she sets the standard when it comes to client care. Those she serves have come to depend on her to deliver nothing short of exemplary support to their families. In fact, she’s not above getting a little creative to help her kiddos. This lady is known to go as far as doing mud masks over Webex with children to boost their spirits.
But, it’s more than just her clients who have grown to appreciate her. Her teammates at YDI have come to rely on her too. You can always count on Mikala to pull through with anything, whether it be an ITP or a well-timed donation photo. And, while kids always come first in her world, she never shies away from a little PR or marketing opportunity if given the space to do so. Honestly, she prides herself on making sure our agency always puts its best foot forward.
We want to thank Mikala and the rest of you for all you do in your communities. You have been a lifeline to families during this challenging period, and truthfully, we couldn’t push forward in our mission without your support. That said, the best outcomes for kids happen when we work alongside each other in tandem. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Sarah Williams #YDIStrong
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Who’s this confident cat? It’s none other than Area Manager Sarah Williams, and let me tell you, this girl’s got grit! Don’t believe me? This strong-spirited señorita spent five months off the grid, backpacking the continental divide amidst a pandemic. Really, it’s hard to contend with her strength of character. When this lady puts her mind to something, she stubbornly stays the course until she accomplishes what she set out to do. Honestly, she just doesn’t quit!
More so, Sarah’s a strong leader who carries herself with credence and conviction. Ask her for some honest feedback, and you’ll find that it’s delivered with boldness and grace. The thing is, she’s truthful but has tact. She won’t hesitate to be honest, regardless of whether you’re her supervisor, a coworker, or a friend. There’s little doubt; this lady is one direct diva!
Truthfully, Sarah’s tenacious spirit is what brought her to YDI in the first place. She came to us with a passion for community engagement and was born to make waves. Really, her dedication to creating positive change is remarkable. It has led her to help countless Flathead County kids and license dozens of foster homes in the years she’s spent at our organization. Ultimately, it put her on the path to becoming an impeccable manager and influencing the lives of all of her Kalispell Community Office teammates.
That said, words can’t express how grateful we are to have her with us. She brings so much to the table, and it’s been an honor to watch her grow as a leader.
We want thank Sarah and the rest of you for all that you do. Please know you are so appreciated here. Each of you plays a critical role in carrying out our collective mission to help youth and families push through this challenging period. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together we are strong. #YDIStrong
YDI Employee Spotlight~ Michael Wren
This month we would like to recognize Michael Wren for his exemplary service to the YDI mission, his team, and families in Yellowstone County. Michael goes above and beyond daily to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth.
Lynsey Eberle #YDIStrong
“ Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” – Cory Booker
Who’s this quick-witted woman? It’s none other than Glasgow Care Manager Lynsey Eberle, and let me tell you, this girl’s got brains! Whether it’s coming up with fresh new ideas for engaging families or coaching her team on new technology, she does it all! Honestly, this lady’s an unspoken leader at our Glasgow Community Office, something that even her manager proudly boasts.
The thing is, Lynsey knows her limits but puts everything she has into her work with others. And, when it comes to getting those she serves excited about treatment? This woman knows how to sell it! She always has just the right words at just the right time! But, she does more than talk a big game. She’s a pro when it comes to meeting clients where they are. She walks alongside them on their journey, never judging, using empathy to guide all her interactions.
That said, you can count on her to be passionate and unapologetically honest in her communications. She isn’t afraid to tell the truth, even if it means creating waves. Really, she’ll never shy away from instigating a little change. In fact, she’s usually the first to volunteer for a committee or serve on a board in her community.
We want to thank Lynsey and the rest of you for all you bring to our organization. Each of you plays a critical role in carrying out our collective mission to create a bright future for Montana youth and families. Remember, together, we can navigate through this challenging period. Alone, we are just one, but together we are strong. #YDIStrong
Linda Lowney #YDIStrong
What’s Your Leadership Style?
Who’s this sweet sister? It’s none other than FSA Manager Linda Lowney, and let me tell you, this lady always puts people first! She leads with relationships and always goes out of her way to welcome anyone who patrons the Butte Community Office. Her heart is enormous, and all those in her presence can feel the warm and comforting energy she exudes.
Truthfully, this lady has tapped into her strengths to create nothing short of a stellar therapeutic mentoring program. She’s a strong and charismatic leader. Really, Linda has a vision for her program, that when illustrated, just about everyone wants to hop on board with. In fact, her team believes so strongly in it that the program grows organically. Her FSAs have become recruiters, hitting the streets to bring in new mentors to support Silver Bow County youth.
That said, Linda’s an absolute gem, and we can all learn something from her. Below are just a few of the lessons she has to teach us.
Relationships are key! Take the time to invest in them each day.
Kindness is always the right response. Treat all those in your presence with compassion.
People always come first. You are never too busy for a few mindful minutes spent checking in with others.
Put your whole heart into everything you do. If you don’t believe in the mission behind your work, those around you won’t either.
Be flexible, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The kids we serve are depending on us to be leaders in our communities.
We want to thank Linda and the rest of you for all that you do. All of you are integral to our mission and, truthfully, an ambassador of our organization. Remember, within each of us is the capability to impact the lives of those we are called to serve. As a collective whole, we can pave the way to a bright future for Montana kids. Alone, we are just one. But together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Will Tedrow #YDIStrong
Are You a Disrupter?
Who’s this disrupting devil? It’s none other than HR Director Will Tedrow, and let me tell you, this guy doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He’s a skilled project manager and loves nothing more than to lead a little change. Truthfully, he’s been the driving force behind a lot of the innovation we’ve seen over the last two years. But, if you point that out? Don’t try because this man will always pass the credit onto his team.
That said, Will is infamous for his relentless cheering of those within our organization. He goes out of his way to support us all, pushing us forward, even when things are hard, even when we’re discouraged. Honestly, he’s a ray of positive sunshine. You can always count on this man to dish out a few enthusiastic words of encouragement, whether that be through a quick email or a little Sage recognition.
Honestly, Will has been an unwavering champion for our teams over the years. He truly believes that it’s HR’s role to build up employees and has been one of the most vocal in making sure our voices are heard. With unmatched vigor, he’s worked hard to ensure that we have every opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally. More so, you can count on him to advocate for us to have all the tools we need to efficiently do our jobs, bringing us everything from Sage to our spiffy new training platform, Talent LMS, with his efforts.
Truthfully, Will isn’t where he is today at our organization by mistake. Starting as a therapeutic group home program manager, he worked his way up into an executive leadership team position with blood, sweat, and tears. He is living proof that within each of us is great potential. That with effort, the sky is the limit for our growth within this organization.
We want to thank Will and the rest of you for your dedication. Within each of you is significant leadership potential, and honestly, we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Every one of you plays a critical role in pushing us forward in the momentous task of carving out a bright future for our state. Remember, together, we can truly make a difference. Alone, we are just one, but united, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Kristen Linn #YDIStrong
What Do You Stand For?
Who’s this sweet and salty sister? It’s none other than Billings Care Manager, Kristen Linn! And, make no mistake, this woman has a heart of gold! She has a deep sense of empathy, loving all creatures with her whole being. But, if you step on one of her clients, you better get out of the way! Because this lady, she’s a bulldog! A fierce advocate for those she’s charged to serve.
That said, you can always count on Kristen to step up to the plate to get a job done. In fact, she regularly goes above and beyond. It was just a couple weeks ago that her Area Manager, Rick Watson, called to ask, “What can I do to get this girl a little recognition? It’s been so great to watch her grow into a leader amongst our team. I’m so proud of her!” And, honestly, hearing words like that is pretty moving.
Truthfully, we should all be inspired by Kristen’s hard work and growth as a leader, particularly during a time flavored by mounting stress and uncertainty. But, she’s not the only one who has risen from the ranks to show us what leadership is all about during this challenging period. Each of you has stood the course to help one of our state’s most vulnerable populations, despite carrying the weight of your own struggles. And we couldn’t be more proud of you for that!
We want to thank Kristen and the rest of you for the impactful work you carry out every day. Each of you is an important piece of the mosaic that makes up our organization. Please know, you bring so much value to the communities you serve and our agency as a whole. Remember, it takes a village to create change. Together, we can pave the way to a bright future for Montana youth and families!
Diane Ude #YDIStrong
Do You Have Strength of Character?
Who’s this crafty character? It’s none other than Accounts Receivable Technician, Diane Ude! And, don’t let her tough exterior fool you, because she has a lot of heart! Diane’s a caring creature who would give the shirt off her back to anyone she holds dear. Truthfully, whether it’s finding placement for a homeless feline, advocating for a friend, or quilting weighted blankets for our residential kiddos, you can count on her to go the extra mile! But, most of us would never know that because she does it all so humbly.
For six years, Diane has served our organization with great integrity—each of her job duties being done with the highest degree of diligence. Really, she’s quite the professional pro! She’s got an exceptional brain on her shoulders and is never afraid to put in a little extra elbow grease. She will zero in on a task with ultra-focus, paying close attention to detail and not quitting until it’s done with the utmost of care. Her commitment to our agency is unmatched. Honestly, there’s no one quite like Diane, nor should there be. She’s unique and genuinely appreciated by all those around her.
That said, we should all strive to embody Diane’s strength of character. Here are some of the lessons she can teach us all:
Act with integrity, even when no one is watching.
Do good for the sake of doing good, not for the recognition.
Be kind to others, even when no one is looking.
Remember, your work is an expression of you. Put all you have into everything you do.
Be empathetic and have compassion for all creatures- plants, animals, and people alike.
We want to thank Diane and the rest of you for your dedication to our organization. Each of you has unique strengths that you bring to the table. And, while we don’t say it enough, we are so grateful for each of you. Remember, by supporting one another; we can make sure that we stay strong as a collective whole. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Nina Hernandez #YDIStrong
Are you investing in YOU?
Who’s this laid-back lady? It’s none other than Development Consultant, Nina Hernandez! This woman has a relaxed, calming energy about her that could mellow out even the most jazzed up person. She’s level headed and clever with her words. You can always count on her to bust out the right rhymes at just the right time. For Nina, relationships are key. People always come first, no matter the circumstances. She’s a skilled leader, avid self-care advocate, and all around, a kind soul. In fact, she’s been known to deliver groceries to vulnerable populations amidst a pandemic.
Nina’s wisdom is infinite. Her worth, much more than just gathering money for our organization. She leads by example, and truthfully, we all have something to learn from her presence. It was this woman who taught me the art of balance; the value in slowing down to speed up, so to speak. And, we can all take stock in her wise words.
Below are a few lessons from Nina that anyone can use on their path to personal and professional growth.
Slowdown! Be purposeful in your communications.
Your writing is an expression of you! Proofread your emails before sending them.
Presentation is key! Smile at others and invest in your relationships.
Respond to people promptly. Business standard is 48 hours to return a phone call or email.
Invest in your development- we never arrive on our journey to professional growth.
Strive for balance in your work and personal life.
Make time for self-care! YOU are always most important.
Not everything is a crisis. Learn to step back and breathe before engaging.
Now, many of those things are easier said than done. The truth of the matter is that we are always growing, becoming more refined versions of ourselves.
We want to thank Nina and the rest of you for all you do to support one another and the families we are charged to serve. We are honored to be able to walk alongside you on your path to professional growth. Remember, to stay strong, we each need to invest in ourselves. Together, we can take our organization to the next level, one thoughtful minute, and intentional interaction at a time. #YDIStrong
Robert Taylor #YDIStrong
It’s time to dish up a little gratitude!
Who’s this fabulous fellow with a birthday and YDI anniversary this week? It’s none other than Administrative Support, Robert Taylor! This guy has been the glue that’s held our Missoula & Hamilton Community Offices together for four years! You can always count on him to support his team when they’re in need and to keep things cool, calm, and collected. And, the thing is, he does it all with a great sense of humor! He’s always the first to make it to the punchline, with a wittiness about him that always keeps things light.
Since he launched his career at YDI in 2016, he’s slowly transformed our Missoula location into a tropical rainforest, complete with plants, lights, and pictures of his prized bird, Atila. He has truly made our space his own, creating a welcoming atmosphere for all those who patron the office. And truthfully, he’s taken real ownership over his position, ensuring that nothing but the highest standards are upheld for everything from our medical records to the cleanliness of our kitchen.
Honestly, we couldn’t do it without him and are so pleased he’s chosen to be part of our YDI family. That said, like Robert, each of you shows your true colors every day through your commitment to our organization and the children we serve. You all have strengths to be celebrated, and bring something to the table at our agency that should be recognized. We couldn’t push forward in our mission without your support. We don’t say it enough, but we are so grateful for each of you and are truly humbled by the work you carry out each day.
We want to thank Robert and the rest of you for all you do to provide exemplary service to those around you. Whether you’re a clinician, manager, counselor, or administrative staff, each of you plays a critical role in fueling us forward in our mission to make a difference in vulnerable children and families’ lives. Remember, it’s up to each of us to work together as a team to carry out the impactful work we’re called to do. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Heather Nichols #YDIStrong
Are you maintaining meaningful connections with others?
Who this witty woman? It’s none other than Missoula Therapist, Heather Nichols! You can count on this lady to tell you exactly how it is. She never shies away from a little direct communication and will always tell you the truth, regardless of the consequences. But, don’t be fooled by her sharp tongue, because Heather has a heart of gold! She will stop at nothing to build up those around her and has been known to dish up handwritten cards and homemade gifts to her teammates. And, when you’re feeling low? This lady is never afraid to crack a joke. She has a sense of humor that could lift anyone’s spirits.
The truth is, Heather brings 100% of herself to all of her relationships. There is a realness about her that is truly unique and refreshing. And, the fact of the matter is, her willingness to put herself out there has resulted in her ability to build meaningful relationships with those in her presence.
Truthfully, each of us has the power to build more purposeful connections with those in our world. And, there’s real value in doing so! Social connection is correlated with everything from lower suicide rates and depression to increased physical health and longevity.
But how does one build more meaningful connections with others? We’ve got a few ideas that you can add to your wellness tool belt!
Be responsive to others.
Be courageous! Get out of your comfort zone and reach out to friends, family, and coworkers.
Send a quick email or even some snail mail.
Make time for those who matter.
If given the option, choose a phone call or video chat.
Stay connected by creating text groups with friends and family.
Be intentional in your dialogue with others. Relationships are built on the quality of interactions, not always quantity.
Be more mindful and accepting of those in your world. We all have flaws, and no one wants to be judged based on them.
Don’t hold back! Share your gratitude for those in your world.
That said, we understand that for some, maintaining social connections is difficult. So, if you’re having a hard time, you certainly aren’t alone. 47% of Americans report that they’re confronting feelings of loneliness right now.
If you’re one of those who are struggling, know that we’re here to help! We have tons of free resources available through our EAP, and for those on our health insurance plan, free counseling via Teladoc is available. Visit our Human Resources page on SharePoint or check our benefits tab on Sage to learn more.
We want to thank Heather and the rest of you for all you do to support one another. Each of you is making a difference in the lives of those around you. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Leslie Falcon #YDIStrong
Are you investing in your professional growth?
Who’s this wild woman? It’s none other than Finance Director Leslie Falcon! It’s hard to believe that this lady has been holding down the fort at YDI for 19 years! She came to us as an accounts payable temp at a time when we were most in need and loved us so much she never left! She’s like a living YDI history book, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone with as much loyalty to our organization as her. Seriously, this lady gives 100% of her heart to our agency each day. She’s so committed to our teams that years back, she wouldn’t even shy away from handwriting checks to make sure that all of us got paid!
More so, the support that Leslie throws at the people she works with is unmatched. She loves each of her team members and even has pictures lining the walls of them in our finance wing at Central Office. She carries each of those she’s worked closely with over the years near to her heart.
That said, she has demonstrated significant patience as she’s diligently worked her way from an entry-level position to where she sits today on leadership. And, that kind of dedication isn’t easy! It requires great sacrifice and bringing intention into each workday.
The truth is, each of us has the opportunity to grow within our organization and rise amongst the ranks. Really, to become something greater than we are right now. For those who are willing to invest their energy into professional growth, we want to provide you the tools to do so.
If you haven’t already, check out our professional tips & tricks by following the link below.
If you enjoyed these tips, visit our Professional Corner each week for new articles. You can find them on Sage under the Resources tab or on SharePoint’s home page.
We want to thank Leslie and the rest of you for your commitment to our organization and the children we serve. Please know, we are truly humbled by the work you carry out each day. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Duane Cordiner #YDIStrong
How Can You Be More Mindful?
Who’s this mellow man? It’s none other than Boulder Therapist, Duane Cordiner! This guy has a calming energy that could relax even the most escalated kiddo. No matter how difficult the situation, he remains cool and collected. He’s wise beyond his years, and his AYA teammates are drawn to his listening ears like a magnet. But, it’s not just the way Duane carries himself that makes him so great; he’s bright and has a genuine interest in fostering resilience in youth. He works with some of our most traumatized kids, yet always carries a laid back, non-judgmental attitude, helping each child navigate the rough waters that led them to residential care.
The truth is, what Duane has mastered is tricky. The ability to stay calm in choppy situations is not something that just any of us can do. So, how does he do it? How does he maintain such a relaxed energy despite the chaos that ensues around him?
The answer is mindfulness! Being conscious of the energy within us and what we throw out into the universe is key! Not only can being more mindful improve your relationships with others, it can also help reduce your stress levels and even improve overall health.
However, for some, the idea of practicing mindfulness might be new territory. So, for the newbies out there, below are a few tips on how you can practice the art of being mindful in your daily life.
Practice meditation for 10-20 minutes every morning
Drink water throughout the day
Chew your food slowly and taste what you’re eating
Write down your “top 3” priorities for the day each morning
Put your phone on airplane mode while you’re working and when you’re with others
Take a real lunch break every day
Get moving every day (do yoga, take a walk, play a sport, go for a run, anything!!!)
Write down a gratitude list each night.
Get a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours each night)
Moving forward into the new week, we challenge you to incorporate some of the tips above in your daily life. It takes practice, but with a little work, you can reap the benefits of a more peaceful, attentive life.
We want to thank Duane and the rest of you for the energy you put into each day. There’s little question that the work you do makes a difference. Remember, for us to push forward in our collective mission to create a bright future for Montana youth, we must commit to staying at our best. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Stephanie Sander #YDIStrong
Start the Trek into Labor Day Weekend with Self-Care in Mind!
Who’s this dedicated, laid back lady? It’s none other than Stephanie Sander, and let me tell you- she’s committed to the families we serve! She’s passionate about SafeCare and fostering resilience through her work with vulnerable populations. Really, this lady does it all! No matter how many things you throw at her, she takes it all with great stride and a sense of humor. And, when things get tough? She’s not afraid to do the work needed to make sure no child slips through the cracks! There’s little question of her commitment to our mission and those we serve.
The thing is, it takes a special person to radiate such passion while also staying cool, calm, and collected the way Stephanie does. Think about it, if we all carried ourselves in such a manner, we could breeze right through this storm.
The reality is, when we’re stressed and not feeling our best; our overall wellness begins to decline. We start to feel worn out, tired, and are much more likely to get sick. So, there’s no better time than on the heels of a three-day weekend to remind you to take the time to take care of YOU!
Do what you need to do to recharge your batteries so that you can move into the new week with your best foot forward. That said, if the idea of self-care has you scratching your head with confusion, we have a few ideas to get you started.
Spend time alone
Watch a movie
Call a friend
Get a massage
Go to bed early or sleep in
Go for a walk or hike
Cook a fancy meal
Take a bath
So, what are you waiting for? Make yourself a priority this Labor Day weekend by making the time for you! It’s not selfish! We have to do the things that fill our cup so that we can continue to give to others.
We want to thank Stephanie and the rest of you for the work you carry out each day. Please know that work never goes unnoticed. Remember, for us to continue to charge forward in our mission to make a difference, it’s up to each of us to stay #YDIStrong.
Jordan Hinshaw #YDIStrong
We Rise by Lifting Others
Who’s this strong and graceful woman? It’s none other than Associate Clinical Director, Jordan Hinshaw. Hands down, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has a bigger heart than this lady. If anyone needs anything, she’ll be right there, no questions asked. Despite her position, she puts herself above no one and will drop everything to lend a supportive hand. Does a night shift need to be covered at our group home? No problem, Jordan’s there! A friend in need? She’s got it! Jordan will do what it takes to make sure that everything is taken care of. But, don’t disrespect her team, because she’s a bulldog when it comes to advocating for her staff and the kids we serve.
Honestly, she’s gone as far as baking lasagnas for our homes during quarantine. Her ability to build up those around her is what our actively caring culture is all about. Without a doubt, this woman rises by lifting others. She never puts herself in the spotlight and brings great intention into each of her interactions.
Jordan’s ability to remain kind and compassionate during this tumultuous period is something we should all aspire to do. In times like these, it takes great strength to act with such dignity and grace; to embrace others so humbly and without agenda. Can you imagine what things would be like if we all behaved in such a way?
Truthfully, each of us can make the world a little brighter for others. We can act with intention by making the most of every interaction. Below are a few ideas on how you can practice kindness and be more purposeful in your relationships with others.
When someone does something you appreciate, tell them.
Make time for those that matter in your world.
Leave kind notes for friends and coworkers.
Practice forgiveness. None of us are perfect.
Listen to others, giving them your full attention.
If you make a mistake, apologize. Take accountability for your actions.
We want to thank Jordan and the rest of you for all you do to impact those around you. Please know, each of your interactions is of significance. Remember, collectively, we can navigate this storm. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Employee Spotlight~ Ashley Santos, AYA Home Manager
This month we would like to recognize Ashley Santos for her exemplary service to the YDI Mission, her team, and youth at our Boulder AYA campus. Ashley goes above and beyond daily to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth.
Richard Heusel #YDIStrong
What drives you to make a difference?
Who’s this kind and caring spirit? It’s none other than NSYH Home Manager, Richard Heusel! This guy is incredibly passionate about helping kids and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Not only does he routinely go above and beyond to support his team, but he’s been known to roll up his sleeves and put flooring in at our group homes. Ask him why he’s so committed, and he’ll tell you that he cares deeply about our mission and making a difference in the lives of youth.
Without a doubt, Richard embodies the YDI way! The positive energy he radiates can be felt by anyone in his proximity. He has a clear vision for NSYH youth home, and his enthusiasm brings everybody around him on board.
That said, Richard’s passion is something that we should all strive for. Great work happens when we’re invested in what we do. Each of us came to this organization for a reason. We want to make a difference.
Now, the last few months have been rough. With everything from COVID stress to the grief many of us are confronting at the moment, there’s no shortage of challenges. So, if you’re feeling low or exhausted, you’re certainly not alone.
The thing is though, when we’re not feeling our best, we can easily lose sight of our passion. That fire we have for the mission-based work that brought us to YDI in the first place. But we can’t lose our fire. Too many people are depending on us right now.
Our clients, teammates, and communities are struggling more than ever. They need us to be the beacon of support that guides them out of this storm. We must continue to carry out the work we do each day, knowing that every interaction we have with others makes a difference.
We want to thank Richard and the rest of you for the impactful work that you do. Please know how grateful we are for each of you. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Rebecca Folkerts #YDIStrong
It’s Hard to Say Goodbye
Do you know who this is? It’s Rebecca Folkerts, and make no mistake; she wasn’t for the faint of heart. She was a ruthless warrior, a fierce champion for those she was charged to support. She blindly went into battle for the people she cared about with blatant disregard for the consequences. Honestly, she was the epitome of a social worker. You could always count on her to fearlessly advocate for what she believed in.
If you were lucky enough to be in Rebecca’s circle, you knew that she loved with every ounce of her being. And, if you were privileged enough to get a glimpse of her smile, you saw that her spirit was clearly projected through it.
That said, Becci carried her warrior spirit with her until the day she died. Two and a half years ago, death stared her straight in the face and she spat on it. She refused to go down without a fight. Without question, she had some serious grit- each day working relentlessly hard in a battle that most of us will know nothing about. And, while some moments were harder than others, she carried on with dignity and grace. She wouldn’t abandon her post or those she was called to serve through it.
But, underneath that tough exterior was a woman with a kind and gentle heart, a woman who cared deeply for others and carried out her life to be of service to those who are weak, vulnerable, and disempowered. For six years, the YDI mission and everything it stands for pumped through her veins. She worked almost every day until the moment her spirit exited her body. Truthfully, Rebecca is the very definition of what #YDIStrong is all about.
More so, her strength of character was unique and could never be matched. Those who walked alongside her on her path knew that she was compassionate and carried herself with integrity. No matter how many times you messed up, she always readily forgave. She refused to let the world harden her heart.
But, she was also a woman to be respected. Every word that spilled out of her mouth was that of the truth. You could always count on Rebecca to tell you exactly how she felt, to give sound advice, and to be unapologetically direct in her communications.
Above all things, though, she was humble. Never once did she put herself above others. Whether you were an FSA or the CEO, she looked at you no differently. Respect was something to be earned, not readily given. If you cozied up next to her in a group carpool for agency business, you could bet that she volunteered to ride in the back. It’s just the way she was. She put others first, always rolling up her sleeves to work alongside her teams to make sure that no stone was left unturned; that no child slipped through the cracks.
Despite her private nature, she built a life around her time at our organization. Her team became her family, and she loved each of them deeply. If you were one of her managers, know that she spoke nothing but the best of you. She fiercely advocated for each of you during her tenure and cared with every ounce of her soul. And, for those stationed at our Missoula location over the years, you held a special place in her heart. You became her family, shaping the course of her life.
We want to thank Rebecca for all she has done to impact the lives of those around her. She was a mentor, friend, and leader to many. Becci, we want you to know that you are indeed an inspiration, and your presence will always live on throughout our locations. Your spirit carries on through the work you have done to build up those around you and the resilience you have fostered in countless youth. Please know, we can never fill your shoes. We will always carry a piece of you in our hearts.
Help Us Celebrate Becci’s Life
Given that Rebecca donated her entire life to this organization, it seems nothing short of fitting that we take the time to honor and celebrate her. So, if you would like to pay your respects, we have a couple of options below.
Join Us in Celebrating on SharePoint
If anything, Becci would have wanted us to smile when looking back on our time with her. She was a strong woman with a beautiful spirit, truly giving her entire being to her teams, our organization, and the youth we serve.
Please help us celebrate her life by sharing your favorite memory with her or some other kind words on our discussion board on the SharePoint Clinical Services page. In two weeks, we will share your responses in a special spotlight dedicated just to her.
If you have trouble posting your comments to the board, please email Public Relations Specialist, Katie Gerten, at email@example.com to have them included in the spotlight.
Attend the Memorial Service at our Missoula Community Office
At the request of her family, we’re holding a special memorial service at our Missoula Community Office this Friday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. There will be food and drinks, and we invite you all to join us. Please go to our SharePoint Clinical Services page to learn more.
Want to Help?
Becci created a life around her time at YDI and found family amongst our staff. Associate Clinical Director, Jordan Hinshaw, is organizing a meal train to help support her family during this difficult period of mourning. If you would like to help by donating a meal, please email Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org to state your interest and have your email added to the list of volunteers.
Even if you don’t live in Missoula, you can still get involved! Email Jordan using the contact details above for more information.
Jessica Bonogofsky and Kelsey Waller #YDIStrong
How Do You Start Your Day?
Check out this positive pair charging into their morning with a little iced coffee! It’s Administrative Specialists, Jessica Bonogofsky and Kelsey Waller! These ladies are fabulous! They have a fantastic attitude and are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure no detail is missed. And, when we’re down staff members due to COVID? That’s no sweat off their backs! They’ll pull together to support their own or any other administrative team, no questions asked. In many ways, these girls are the glue that holds our agency together. The teamwork they display is the foundation of what the #YDIStrong movement is all about.
But, how do these gals pull it off? How do they charge into each day with vibrance and energy? Among other things, the secret is a great morning routine. Truthfully, how we start the first few hours of our day sets the tone for the rest of it.
So, what’s the recipe for an exceptional start to the day? Have no fear! We’ve got a few ideas on how you can begin each morning with a positive glow!
Drink a glass of water
Eat a healthy breakfast
Set goals for the day
Practice deep breathing exercises
Of course, the foundation of any great day is making sure you’re getting enough rest. Regularly going without a full night’s sleep can result in everything from heart disease to mental health conditions. So, if you’re part of the 38% of Americans who are currently struggling with insomnia, we have a blog below that might help.
We want to thank Jessica, Kelsey, and the rest of you for all you are doing to support one another during this challenging period. Please know that we couldn’t carry out our mission without you. Remember, to help others, you first need to care for yourself. If each of us is accountable for our own wellness, we can all stay #YDIStrong as a collective whole.
Barb Connors #YDIStrong
How do you speak to yourself?
Who’s this wonderful woman? It’s none other than Associate Clinical Director, Barb Connors! This lady is a positive ray of sunshine and will stop at nothing to build up those around her. Despite being on leadership, she carries a humble, down to earth attitude, always making herself available to support her clinicians and fellow team members. She’s even been known to step up to the plate to help at the Bozeman Transitional School. Honestly, this lady has a heart that just won’t stop. It pours out onto everyone around her. Without a doubt, her welcoming, loving energy can be felt by all those in her presence.
But Barb’s kindness doesn’t stop at supporting others. She makes an active effort also to be kind to herself. When you think about it, kindness is one of the staples of our actively caring culture, but we often forget that means showing compassion for ourselves.
Think for a second about the words that you say to yourself. Would you speak to others in the same manner? If the answer is no, then ponder for a moment as to why that is? Why is it so easy to be kind to others, but not to ourselves? We deserve the same grace that we so readily dish out to those around us.
It was in passing conversation earlier this week that Barb laid down some sage words of advice. She suggested that a great way to change the way you speak to yourself is to get a plant and give it your name. Then, each day, say something kind to your plant, referring to it by name. Over time, you can change your mindset and subsequently, the way you speak to yourself.
Just think about it, some research suggests that plants can thrive on the positive vibes served up from speaking to them with kindness. So, can you imagine what would happen if we routinely spoke kindly to ourselves?
That said, we challenge you to take the time to examine your self-talk and shift it to a more positive conversation. Our actively caring culture begins with the care you express towards yourself.
We want to thank Barb and the rest of you for all you do to build up those around you. Remember, each of your interactions is of significance, even those with yourself. The #YDIStrong movement starts with you and the thoughts you water each day.
Kennedy Gavaghan #YDIStrong
Stressed? Remember, You’ve Got This!
Who’s this realist renegade? It’s Bozeman Family Development Coordinator, Kennedy Gavaghan! This lady has a fantastic head on her shoulders and is undoubtedly a passionate go-getter! She just doesn’t quit- she cares deeply for her program and will stop at nothing to advocate for foster children in need. She’s determined to make a difference and is always coming up with great ideas to recruit and support her families. Placement crisis? That’s no sweat off her back either! She’ll pull together with her team to make sure nothing’s missed and that everyone involved can cruise right through those choppy waters.
But, the truth is that all of that work can be taxing. While Kennedy carries the weight of responsibility well, she, like the rest of us, are only human. We can only do so much before we’re tapped out. When we become frazzled, overwhelmed, and the passion within us starts to fade, we lose sight of what’s important. We forget the mission that drives our work and the impact that our interactions have on others.
So, what are we to do when life becomes overwhelming? When the stress of our daily life becomes too much to carry? Below are a few ideas to help you manage everyday stress.
Make a list and prioritize tasks
Call a friend
Create and stick to a routine
Set boundaries! Remember, another’s crisis is not your crisis!
Communicate your needs
Schedule time for self-care
Most importantly, remember, you’ve got this! Thus far, you’ve sailed though 100% of the storms you have been faced with. Sometimes, although it can be hard at the moment, it’s important to step back and recognize that.
That said, for those looking for more tips on how to stay above water, check out the blog below.
We want to thank Kennedy and the rest of you for all you do to shape the lives of those we serve. Each of you is an integral part of the engine that propels our mission forward. Remember, no matter how tough life gets, we can get through this. Together, we are #YDIStrong.
Tamera Markuson #YDIStrong
How Bright Does Your Light Shine?
Who’s this wonderful woman dancing into the new week? It’s none other than Boulder Youth Case Manager, Tamera Markuson! Without a doubt, this lady’s soul shines bright. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done; she will embrace you regardless. Truthfully, she could find the gem in any stone. Each day, she gives everything she has to her teammates and the children we serve. Wherever she goes, people flock, attracted to her compassionate, kind heart like metal to a magnet.
Her caseload consists of some of our most traumatized youth, many of which have been victimized or have victimized others. But that doesn’t phase her one bit; she gives her whole heart to each of them, never judging or chastising, instead, walking alongside them on their journey to recovery. This exquisite example of a human being could find strength in anyone. It’s like the famous quote by Nikita Gill goes, “Show me the most damaged parts of your soul, and I will show you how it still shines like gold.”
Truthfully, the bright light that shines from Tamera is an inspiration to all of us. Right now, there’s no shortage of things weighing us down. Each one of us is touting some sort of baggage, whether it’s courtesy of past trauma or the sense of fatigue that comes alongside our world today. But, imagine how things would be if each of us dished up love and kindness as readily as we did judgment and hate?
There’s a saying that goes, “hurt people, hurt people,” and it couldn’t be more relevant then it is now. At the moment, a lot of us are hurting, but worse yet, we’re dishing up negative vibes readily, something that’s only making the heaviness of this whole situation worse.
Surveys show that over 40% of Americans are experiencing burnout at the moment. And can you guess what comes alongside burnout? Among other things, it’s frustration, cynicism, and crankiness.
That said, there’s never been a more important time to embrace others fully, look to our neighbors with compassion, and love without condition, building on people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.
As we enter into the new week, we challenge you to be a healer. To make a conscious effort to act with compassion. To be kind to others, even when they aren’t around, even when they aren’t kind to you. You don’t need to move mountains to change the world. You just need to be the tiny spark of change you want to see in others.
We want to thank Tamera and the rest of you for all you do to make a difference in the lives of those around you. We know things are hard right now, with many of you feeling stretched thin or overwhelmed. Remember, no matter how difficult things seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this. Not alone, but together, as a collective whole.
Travis Heitmann #YDIStrong
You can’t pour from an empty cup!
Who’s this sweet-spirited man? It’s none other than Kalispell Interim Area Manager, Travis Heitmann! This guy has a seriously kind soul and will stop at nothing to support his team and the children we serve. Without a doubt, you can count on this guy to be serving up some supportive words, regardless of the circumstances. And, when he’s not patting his teammates on the back? He’s making time to care for himself so that he can stay on top of his game!
Really, we should all be following Travis’s lead. No one can pour from an empty glass. We need to make time to do the things that fill our cup so that we can continue to give to others. Right now, we’re experiencing burnout and fatigue on a massive scale, with 54% of Americans reporting that they’re currently confronting a sense of emotional exhaustion.
That said, while self-care looks different for everyone, we have a few ideas to help you start recharging your batteries this weekend.
Go for a walk or hike
Take a bath
Spend time with family or friends
Read or write
Unplug from technology
Turn off cell phone notifications
Go to bed early
Schedule alone time
If you’re feeling a sense of exhaustion or it seems like you’re just at your wits’ end, we challenge you to carve out some time to take care of YOU! Even if it’s only thirty minutes, we promise that it will be well worth the sacrifice.
We want to thank Travis and the rest of you for all you do to support one another and the families we serve. Remember, to stay strong as a collective whole, we each need to take accountability for our own wellness. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Robin Russell #YDIStrong
What drives you to do the great work?
Who’s this selfless sister? It’s none other than Payroll Technician, Robin Russell! This amazing lady came to us three years ago with a drive to help others. With a love of numbers, she naturally found her place in our Finance Department, supporting our teams through administrative work. Without a doubt, this woman works hard to ensure that no paycheck is missed, no mileage reimbursement is overlooked, and no clinician is left unsupported. If ever anyone needs anything, you can count on Robin to answer the phone or have a lightning-fast response to email; it’s just the way she is. She’s committed to being of service to others.
That said, the deep sense of purpose that drives Robin to carry out her daily tasks is what makes the difference between good work and great work. It’s why so many of us have been able to persevere through these challenging times and pull together to serve, arguably, Montana’s most vulnerable population. When things get tough, when we’re placed under constant mental and emotional stress, it’s easy to lose sight of that sense of purpose, that personal mission that drives us to the career we’ve chosen.
The truth is, each of us can derive meaning from the work that we do. And, although it can feel at times like we’re just spinning our wheels, if you step back and look at the big picture, you’ll see that each of our interactions is of significance- they can either fuel us forward or stall us in place. Each day, you have the choice to become part of the driving force that pushes us collectively forward in our mission to serve others.
So, if this pandemic has left you feeling like you’re running on empty, take a minute to step back and explore the meaning behind your work. Tap into what has driven you to the career you have chosen. And, don’t forget whether you’re a clinician, counselor, or administrative staff, you are indispensable to us. We couldn’t carry out our mission to foster resilience in the lives of vulnerable children and families without your support.
We want to thank Robin and the rest of you for all you do to shape a positive future in the lives of those we’re called to serve. As a collective whole, we can face any challenge thrown our direction. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Jessica Adams #YDIStrong
Don’t let pandemic stress harden your heart!
Who’s this generous, kindhearted woman? It’s none other than Missoula Care Manager, Jessica Adams! This lady has a gentle, loving spirit and without question gives 100% of her soul to her teammates and the families we serve. In fact, without hesitation, this woman would give the shirt off her back to help anyone in need. She has a unique way of identifying with those we serve, recognizing when they’re struggling, and always providing a patient, non-judgmental listening ear.
The empathy that Jessica exuberates is unique and is just the type of quality needed during this tumultuous time. Right now, many of us are stretched thin due to stress, with a whopping 1 in 5 Americans experiencing physical manifestations as a result of it.
Now, we could let pandemic stress eat away at us and use it as an excuse to lash out at others. We could become defensive when others bark at us and let the ways of today’s world harden our hearts. But, we could also make the harder choice, which is to open our hearts, making the decision to be kind and offer an empathetic listening ear to those in need. That means understanding that when people are hurting, they often behave badly. And while we all need to take accountability for our decisions and behaviors, we also need to be able to forgive and give others the same grace we would want them to give us.
The truth is, we’re all navigating this storm together. And, while each of our experiences during this difficult period is unique, we’re all confronting the collective trauma that comes alongside this pandemic. Right now, we need to support each other and the families we’re charged to serve so that we can all make it through these rough waters.
We want to thank Jessica and the rest of you for all that you do to support one another and Montana families during these uncertain times. Please know, we are so thankful to have each of you on our team. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Colette Lemburg #YDIStrong
Let’s support one another with a little kindness!
Who’s this super sweet woman sending handwritten snail mail? It’s none other than Billings Family Development Coordinator, Colette Lemburg. This lady is seriously kindhearted and will stop at nothing to make others feel loved and appreciated. Without a doubt, she will always be the first person to handout a compliment and has a way of making anyone feel special. And, when she’s not building up the morale of those around her? She’s creating homes for children in need. But wait, don’t underestimate her, because she will stop at nothing to advocate for her foster parents and make sure that they receive the very best of everything they need.
That said, Colette’s warmhearted spirit and kind nature is a shining example of what each of us should aspire to be. Right now, there’s no shortage of stress that’s weighing us down, both at work and in our personal lives. And when we’re stressed, it’s easy to snap at others and not put our best foot forward.
In fact, recent surveys show that since March, approximately 50% of us are feeling more irritable, a statistic that’s not shocking for most. It seems like everywhere you go, people are lashing out and barking at one another, something that’s only making the heavy feelings associated with this pandemic worse.
But, there’s a way we can lighten the load for everyone, and that’s with kindness. The reality is, negative energy has a way of spreading like a virus, with one person passing it to another with ease. However, we can squash those negative vibes by making a focused effort to respond with kindness in all of our interactions, even when others do not.
For those who would like to practice more kindness in their lives, we have a few ideas on how to get started.
Smile at others
Send a handwritten card
Dish out a compliment
Offer help & support
Be mindful of body language
Be present with others
Remember, each of us is responsible for the energy we throw out into the universe. Your influence on your environment and the people within it is vast.
We want to thank Colette and the rest of you for all that you do to support one another and the families we serve. We know it hasn’t always been easy, particularly at the moment, but please know, we are so grateful for the work that you carry out each day. When things get tough, remember, we will weather this storm. Not alone, but together, as a collective whole joined together with a mission to foster resilience in future generations to come.
Vicki Lapp & Mike Schmidt #YDIStrong
Pictured: The photo above is stock photography. These two are elusive, working hard to evade the camera.
Check out this crafty crew! IT Manager Vicki Lapp, and IT/ Systems Technician Mike Schmidt, work hard to stay under the radar humbly, but make no mistake, the immense responsibility that sits squarely on their shoulders is vast. Despite the pressure of meeting the technology needs of an army of nearly 600 staff, these two remain cool, calm, and collected in all of their interactions.
Truthfully, the last several months have challenged the limits of our current digital infrastructure, with at times many of you needing to deliver services remotely. However, these two have worked tirelessly to make sure none of us skip a beat in our mission to foster resilience in vulnerable children and families. Without a doubt, these two are dedicated and exemplify the character that embodies what being #YDIStrong is all about.
We want to thank Vicki , Mike, and the rest of our staff for all that they do. For those at YDI who are reading, we couldn’t carry our our mission without you.
Rebecca Flores & Jennifer Sutton #YDIStrong
What Does It Mean to Be #YDIStrong?
Who are these strong ladies charging into the weekend? It’s none other than Human Resource Assistants Jennifer Sutton & Rebecca Flores. These two positive rays of sunshine are, without a doubt, serious go-getters! Jennifer and Rebecca, along with the rest of our HR team, have worked tirelessly to support us during this challenging period. And with all the rapid changes happening over the last several months, that has been no easy feat.
Really, the strength these two ladies have shown is just a small example of the amazing work that’s happening across the state. Each of you has demonstrated tremendous courage during a time riddled with uncertainty, sacrificing to overcome, what at times has felt like, insurmountable barriers in our collective calling to support Montana families and our fellow teammates. For that, words can’t express how truly grateful we are.
Earlier this week, we posed the question on our SharePoint discussion board, “What does it mean to be #YDIStrong?” It was truly humbling to read your responses. Below you will find what your captain and fellow teammates had to say.
“It means that we are doing our very best to deliver services to our most vulnerable children across the state of Montana, no matter what the challenge. We are united in our effort to persevere and enable our children to be resilient in a very turbulent time not only for families but for communities.” – Dennis Sulser, Chief Executive Officer
“To stand strong in the face of uncertainty and to be a rock for those in the mental health field who may not be able to remain strong in their hardship. It means supporting your peers on their rough days and celebrating the little things in life that bring us all joy, especially in these hard times. It’s being able to identify when you need a moment and having a friend there to have your back when you need it most. #YDIStrong means having coworkers who really are like family to you.” -Jessica Bonogofsky, Administrative Specialist
“#YDISTRONG is working together to provide amazing service for the youth and families we serve. It is helping each other out through the different areas and offering support to each other.” – Mandy Haller-Doris, AYA Program Manager
“Being #YDIStrong means working collaboratively, across all departments to provide reliable, effective services to our clients and providing a safe, positive place for our employees to achieve this common goal. It means being there and supporting each other through this difficult time and bringing one another up and focusing on being everything we can be!” – Dawn Wilson, Executive Assistant/Facilities Manager
“#YDIStrong means persevering in the tough times, coming together to help our youth and support our teams across Montana. It means working together to help each other. Without all of us, we would not be able to move through COVID or financial cutbacks and come out of those fires unscathed. ‘Alone I cannot, together WE CAN.” – Kelsey Waller, Administrative Specialist
“To me being YDI Strong means working as a team to help children and their families.” – Rosie Alferez, Great Falls Lead Care Manager
“I see our agency’s strength in its actively caring and trauma informed values. I have never seen an organization genuinely try to live out this core value. It’s great to see and experience it on a daily basis. I am truly blessed!” – Kimberly Brown, Marketing & Communications Officer
“Some days there will be tears, fears and disappointments. Being #YDIStrong means accepting your role as a human being; doing your best every day, taking mistakes and turning them into opportunity to improve and grow, taking pride in your accomplishments and leaning on others for support during life’s disappointments. It means remembering to stay humble and grateful as we work with youth and families who struggle, and fail, and try, and love, and cry, and succeed. We are in it together, before COVID, during COVID, and you bet we will be there after COVID. Thank you, my brothers, and sisters, my team. I am grateful for you and humbled by the strength we have as a team! Stay #YDIStrong.” – Doris Higbee, Intake Coordinator
“#YDIStrong is about employees that are caring, compassionate, strong, and energetic. Working together, for a better future for the youth of our communities. YDI employees being that person that they remember when they become adults and taking the skills into their lives and their future homes. Breaking the cycle of trauma and helping them have a better tomorrow.” – Mischelle Chambers, Great Falls Area Manager
“Being #YDIStrong means pressing on to be the rock that so many people need during this difficult period. It means, at times, putting our own desires aside and doing what’s best for the collective whole, approaching each of our interactions with empathy and kindness, and supporting one another through these uncertain times. And when we make mistakes, something that makes us essentially human, we take accountability, apologize, and move swiftly to rectify the situation.” – Katie Gerten, Public Relations Coordinator
“#YDIStrong means that we drop everything when we have a family or child in crisis and do what we need to, to support that family and child. #YDIStrong means that we work together as an amazing team with stellar communication so that we can serve the youth and families in our communities. #YDIStrong, in the Intake Department, means that we work very closely with all of our group homes, community teams and outside partnerships to build relationships built on trust. In the Intake Department, we want our people to know that they can rely on us and we will work tirelessly to get their children and families served.” – Shirley Bulluck, Intake Coordinator
“To me, #YDIStrong means being resilient, flexible, compassionate and courageous through the uncertainty of everyday challenges in today’s climate. It means being available for each other and the youth and families we serve and being a model for how our humanity can and will overcome all adversity. It’s never giving up on the hope that things will get better.” – Al Falcon, Associate Clinical Director of Substance Use Services
“A life lived for one’s self is meaningless. A life lived for others is worth fighting for.” – Michael Wren, Billings Care Manager
We want to thank each of you for the exceptional work that you do. Please know that it never goes unnoticed. When things get tough, we can’t lose sight of our mission and the deep sense of purpose we derive from the work carried out each day. Remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong
Michael Wren #YDIStrong
What Does It Mean to Be #YDIStrong?
Who’s this amazing man? It’s none other than Billings Care Manager, Michael Wren! This guy has a gentle spirit and is committed to both our organization and the families we serve. Each day, he shows up to work with a renewed sense of purpose, giving 100% of his heart to everything he does. Hands down, if you need anything, this guy will be there, no questions asked.
Truthfully, Michael is just one of the loyal and dependable people here at Youth Dynamics. Each of you brings all that you have to the table each day you come to work. And for that, we are truly grateful. Sometimes, we don’t say that enough, but please know that is always how we feel.
Thank you once again for all that you do. Please know that we are truly humbled by the work you carry out each day. When things get tough, remember, alone, we are just one, but together, we are strong. #YDIStrong.
Shaeley McMahon #YDIStrong
How are you carrying the mental load of this pandemic?
Who’s this dedicated diva? It’s none other than Bozeman Care Manager, Shaeley McMahon, sporting her face covering with style. Seriously, this lady is a bucket of positive energy, and charges into each day with vigor and grace. She gives 110% to the kids we serve, and will stop at nothing to find a solution when faced with a grueling challenge. Really, there’s no barrier too large for her to overcome or problem too difficult for her to solve.
The dedication and positive vibrations that Shaeley brings into each day serve as a testament to what’s needed to weather this storm. Believe us when we say, we understand how difficult things are for many of you right now. Each of us feels the heavy weight of personal responsibility bearing down on us during these uncertain times. But, as Lou Holtz so gracefully said, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
By reframing our thoughts, staying connected, and focusing on the positive, we can lighten the load and sail through these rough waters. So, we challenge you to start each day with gratitude, to be present with others, and to carve out time to take care of YOU.
Remember, there’s always a positive in every situation and something to be grateful for, whether it’s your health, friends, family, or even your freedom. In order to help give you a midweek lift, our CEO, Dennis Sulser, Ed.D., sent out a hilarious video on a principal’s pandemic plight. In case you missed it, you can view the video by clicking on the link below.
We would like to thank Shaeley, as well as the rest of you, for everything you do to support our organization and the children we serve. We continue to be amazed by your resilience and tenacious spirit. Remember, by practicing purposeful wellness and being there for one another, we can all stay #YDIStrong.
Jason Prater #YDIStrong
What Drives You to Carry Out Our Mission?
Who’s this diligent man, faithfully plugging away at assessments in the photo above? It’s none other than Licensed Addiction Counselor, Jason Prater! This man is both patient and persistent in his efforts to foster resiliency in Flathead County youth. Truthfully, he’s unshakeable. No matter how choppy the waters get, he relentlessly stays the course, keeping his goals and our mission top of mind. And, when he’s not serving youth? Well, he’s mentoring our LACs across the state, helping to build the next generation of Addiction Counselors in Montana.
Jason’s dedication highlights the deep sense of purpose that pulls each of us to do the work that we do. It would be naive not to recognize that many of us are here because we want to make a difference. We want to empower the weak, mend the broken, and ultimately shape future generations to come.
When things get tough, we can’t lose sight of that deeper sense of purpose. The one that drives us to do the difficult work that we do. The one that weaves us together with a thread of a common goal.
Right now, those we’re driven to serve need us more than ever. Our clients are counting on us to be there to guide them through this storm, while our communities are looking to us to stand tall as leaders during this unprecedented period.
We would like to thank Jason, as well as the rest of you, for sticking with us and standing strong during this tumultuous time. The work you do is truly impactful, and we couldn’t carry out our mission without your support. Remember, no matter how hard things get, we will make it through this storm. Not alone, but together as a collective whole, joined together by a mission to help those who need us most. Alone, we are just one. But together, we are #YDIStrong.
Rick Watson & Kristin Bauwens #YDIStrong
What Does It Mean to Be #YDIStrong?
Check out this amazing management duo! It’s none other than Billings Area Manager, Rick Watson, and Assistant Area Manager, Kristin Bauwens, standing tall to the challenges that lie in the week ahead. This pair works hard to advocate for our kids and ensure that the Billings Community Office is well supported. But, you want to know the best part about them? Not only do they show true dedication in the work that they do, but they also do it with a kind, warmhearted attitude.
The truth is, these two are just a small testament to the strength that lies within each of us. As an organization, we have a long history of standing tall when faced with adversity, using challenges as a tool for growth.
Over the past 39 years, we’ve faced crippling state funding reductions and service restructures, but while other organizations shut their doors, we grew; each time expanding our footprint across the great state of Montana. So, while the #YDIStrong movement blossomed out of the ashes of this pandemic, the spirit of it has always been within us.
We want to know what you think contributes to the tenacious spirit of our organization. What does it mean to be #YDIStrong? Below are a few ideas.
Embodying the YDI core values
Being accountable for our actions
Pressing on in the face of adversity
Acting with integrity, even when it’s hard
Setting boundaries to protect our wellness
Acting with humility, kindness, and grace
Being vulnerable & inspiring others
Being a voice for the disempowered
Tell us what you think on our SharePoint discussion board this week! To spice things up a bit, we’re going to share your responses in the YDI Weekly and in our #YDIStrong email this Friday.
That being said, we would like to thank Rick and Kristin, as well as the rest of you, for the amazing work that you do. Please know, that work never goes unnoticed. Remember, alone we are just one, but together, we are #YDIStrong.
The Results Are In! Check Out What Your Teammates Are Grateful For! #YDIStrong
ACD, Peggy Leinart-Murch, & Area Manager, Marci Davis #YDIStrong
Check out these two gracious gals! These ladies are spectacular, and they’re just a couple of our dedicated mental health pros who support youth through our community services. Without question, this dynamic duo works hard, often doing whatever it takes to ensure that no child slips through the cracks on the eastern side of the state.
But, here’s the kicker, they do it with a humble and gracious attitude! We would like to thank them, along with the rest of our clinicians across the state, for all they do to foster resilience in those they serve. Please know, your work never goes unnoticed.
That being said, we want to give you all a positive boost to help you start your weekend off right. On Monday, we posted a gratitude discussion board on SharePoint, and asked you to tell us what you’re thankful for in your life. We were overwhelmed by the positive energy you threw at us!
Here is what you and your teammates had to say:
“After some lengthy and deliberate consideration, I find myself currently being grateful for the following:
Smell of fresh brewing coffee
Quiet mornings when no one is awake yet
Cool morning rides on a motorcycle
Having a place to go for work everyday
And the Freedom to enjoy all of life’s additional pleasures.”
– Duane Cordiner, AYA Therapist
“My husband needs a kidney transplant. I am grateful for the people who have been tested to see if they can donate. I am grateful for my oldest son who won’t let us go anywhere and gladly shops for our groceries. I am grateful to have a job that’s allowed me to work from home so I don’t have the stress of not having an income.” – Wendie Vanderwater, AYA Therapist
“I am grateful to YDI and everyone working on the front lines who are putting their own health at risk to help others. I am also grateful for my family’s health and well-being through these difficult times.” – Jimmy Trudo, Lewis & Clark Program Manager
“While our parents were strict, they never pushed their beliefs on us. Whether it was religion, politics, or their own personal views, they just didn’t push it on us. While they were always there for support, they let us navigate life figuring things out for ourselves. This is what I am most thankful for!” – Mike Schmidt, IT/ Systems Technician
“I am grateful for the sense of security I have knowing I work for Youth Dynamics, surrounded by the amazing group of people here in Boulder, especially during these very difficult and uncertain times.” – Stacy Burton, AYA Administrative Support
“I am grateful to work with a team that works to support one another, especially when things get tough!” – Kelsey Adcock, Missoula Area Manager
“I am grateful for my amazing team. We had a crisis come up within the last two weeks, and we all pulled together and supported each other.” – Chloe Meltzer, Bozeman Area Manager
“I am grateful for everything today. My life is beautiful and the people I have chosen to be my tribe are the best.” – Kelsey Waller, Administrative Specialist
“I’m grateful to have a career that I love and for all the people in my life that support me.” – Katie Gerten, Public Relations Coordinator
“I am grateful for all the resilient and amazing young people I have met through my position at Youth Dynamics!” – Megan Leys, Missoula Care Manager
“I am grateful for easy access to the river running through town after work on 100-degree days :)” – Jessica Sowell, Missoula Therapist
“I am grateful for my family, my children, friends, my achievements and all that I have accomplished in life. I am also grateful that I wake up each morning to bring smiles to people’s faces and to be able to send blessings to people who need it. I am grateful for all of my experiences in life and the ability to learn and grow from them. :)” – Yolanda Pretty Boy, Colstrip Administrative Support
“I am grateful I have so many things to be grateful for! I have an amazing husband, adorable dogs, supportive family and an amazing job with fabulous coworkers here at AYA and across the agency.” – Mandy Haller-Doris, AYA Program Manager
“I am so grateful for my family (pets included, of course) as no matter how stressful of a day I have, I have them to look forward to when I get home. I am grateful for coffee, friends, my coworkers, having an amazing and caring boss, art, and a bright future to look forward to.” – Chloe Marcum, Great Falls Lead Care Manager
“I’m grateful for my health (and my legs particularly to carry me up the mountains). I’m grateful for my dog, Frank who makes it impossible to be in a bad mood for very long. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in Montana and enjoy the beautiful outdoors here.” – Mitch Klatt, Missoula Licensed Addictions Counselor
If you missed out on participating in this discussion, don’t fret! We’re going to keep the positive energy rolling by continuing to post engaging content on SharePoint so that you can connect with your teammates across the state.
To catch up on the latest discussion, visit our SharePoint home page and don’t forget to tune in to the YDI Weekly and our #YDIStrong emails to see the highlights. Once again, thank you all for everything you do. Remember, by supporting one another, together, we can all stay #YDIStrong.
Shelby Carver #YDIStrong
Shout out to the working parents!
Check out this multitasking queen! Meet hard working mama, Butte Care Manager, Shelby Carver. Two kids, no school, still pressing on to support her family and the ones we serve! No doubt, this lady works hard!
But, she’s just one of the strong parents we’ve got here at the moment! Seriously, being a caregiver is hard, particularly right now with all of the uncertainty floating around kids going back to school.
Will they be doing remote work? Will they need to wear a mask? Will there be childcare available for those that need it?
These are just a few of the questions that many of you and the families we serve are grappling with at the moment. And, it goes without saying that all of that uncertainty weighs heavily on many.
So, remember, go into all your interactions with kindness, empathy, and patience. When we’re stressed, it’s easy to forget that and say things we don’t mean. But, we can’t let that happen. We all need to be supportive of one another right now.
That being said, we would like to give some serious props to all of you, both our working parents and those who support them. You guys are amazing and we couldn’t carry out our mission without you. Thank you all for everything you do. Together, we are #YDIStrong.
Kevin Wyse #YDIStrong
Help spread those positive vibes!
This guy is too legit to quit! Seriously, Clinical Director of Residential Services, Kevin Wyse, is relentless in his support of his teams and the kids we serve. And, that dedication shows! Throughout this pandemic, he’s been both a leader and a ruthless supporter of us all, motivating each of us to keep pressing on, even when things get tough. Not only did he birth the #YDIStrong movement, but he’s always responding to agency spotlight emails, spreading that positive energy like gasoline on a wildfire.
We’re not the only ones who appreciate him though, the kids at our AYA campus love him too! Just look at the artwork they made and put on his door!
We would like to thank Kevin, as well as the rest of you, for your dedication to our mission, your teams, and the youth we serve. It will take a village to get through this, but together, we will make it through the storm.
That being said, each of us need to follow Kevin’s lead by working our best to stay positive and to support one another. To help foster connections and spread those positive vibes, earlier this week we posted a gratitude discussion board on the front page of SharePoint. On the board, we asked you to share with us what you’re grateful for in your life.
If you haven’t had the chance to participate, it’s not too late! You still have the rest of today and tomorrow to share with us. And, to spice things up a bit, we’re going to showcase your responses in the YDI Weekly on Friday.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop onto SharePoint and start spreading those positive vibes!
Maggie Pierce #YDIStrong
Do you have the grit to navigate rough waters?
This lady’s got some serious grit! Meet Maggie, an Area Manager that’s no stranger to dedication. She works tirelessly to support her team and ensure that no child slips through the cracks. And, when the work gets really difficult? Well, she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and put in a little elbow grease.
Really, the dedication that Maggie shows is a true testament to the YDI way. We work hard, day in and day out, to promote resiliency in those we’re called to support. Say what you’d like, but that my friends, is what leadership is all about. Doing what’s right, even when it’s hard, even when you want to give up.
Truthfully, each of us has the tenacity to press on when things get rough. Really, the grit to make it through any storm.
That being said, we would like to thank Maggie, as well as the rest of you, for your dedication and leadership during these challenging times. We know that the last several months haven’t been easy, and by no means are we out of these choppy waters yet, but together, we can navigate this ship through the storm.
Intake Coordinator, Shirley Bulluck #YDIStrong
Charge into the New Week with a Little Gratitude! #YDIStrong
Who’s this lady charging into the new week with a smile? It’s none other than Intake Coordinator, Shirley Bulluck! This lady’s a bucket of positive energy and is bound to lift the spirits of anyone she comes in contact with.
Really, she’s onto something here though. It turns out, a little positive energy can go a long way in helping each of us to stay #YDIStrong. There’s a host of benefits that come alongside the positive vibes that arise when we practice gratitude.
Here’s what the research shows:
Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
Gratitude improves physical health.
Gratitude improves psychological health.
Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
Grateful people sleep better.
Gratitude improves self-esteem.
Gratitude increases mental strength.
We need your support in spreading that positive vigor across the agency! To help, hop onto the home page of SharePoint and write what you’re grateful for on the freshly posted discussion board.
But wait, there’s more! Did you know that you can express gratitude directly to teammates through Sage? It’s true! Send a coworker a little kudos through Sage Recognition! Your kind words will be posted to the recognition board on the platform and delivered straight to your teammates email.
Remember, gratitude doesn’t have to stop at our discussion board or with Sage recognition. We encourage you to take the time each day to practice purposeful gratitude. Start your morning with a short list, and when someone does something that makes you thankful, don’t forget to pick up the phone or send a quick email to tell them.
What are you waiting for? We rise by lifting others! So, dive in, share your gratitude on SharePoint, and send a little Sage recognition! Remember, by supporting one another, together, we can weather this storm and stay #YDIStrong.
Great Falls Care Manager, Chloe Marcum #YDIStrong
Who’s this lady proving that we can all be stylin’ in face coverings? It’s Great Falls Lead Care Manager, Chloe Marcum, and if you haven’t had the chance to meet her, you really should! She’s kind, witty, and totally dedicated to her team as well as the kids we serve. In fact, if you visit the Great Falls Community Office, there’s little doubt that she will be the first person to welcome you in the door. Honestly, she never skips a beat in making sure her families are well cared for and her teammates supported.
Thank you, Chloe, for all that you do. Your kindness and dedication do not go unnoticed. We are so proud to have you, as well as the rest of our community clinicians, as part of our organization. #YDIStrong
Home Manager, Phil Yanzick, & Youth Case Manager, Kelli DeFrance #YDIStrong
Physical Distancing Doesn’t Mean Social & Emotional Distancing #YDIStrong
Check out these two masters of physical distancing! Phil & Kelli are just a couple of the dedicated, professional helping pros who are stationed at our Boulder AYA campus. With a sharp sense of humor and an altruistic attitude, this team selflessly gives to one of the most vulnerable populations we serve. #YDIStrong
But, that’s not to say that the work we all do isn’t difficult. This is particularly true now, at a time when so many of us are struggling with the emotional fallout that comes alongside our world today.
Surveys show that:
67% of people report higher levels of stress since the outbreak of COVID-19.
57% say they have greater anxiety since the outbreak.
54% say they are more emotionally exhausted.
53% say they feel sadness day-to-day.
50% feel they are more irritable.
42% report their overall mental health has declined.
So, how do we combat these unsettling statistics? Well, one of the biggest overarching factors in overcoming the pandemic blues is to stay connected to one another. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social or emotional distancing.
That’s why it’s so important to make the time to talk to friends, team members, and family, even when it’s tough or you feel like you don’t want to. To help with this, we have a discussion board on the front page of SharePoint where you can connect with one another and share valuable wellness tips.
So, what are you waiting for? Dive in, connect with your teammates, and help us all stay #YDIStrong!
Once again, thank you all for everything you do. By staying at our best, we can come out of this storm stronger. Not alone, but together, as a unified organization.
Kelly Carey & Jessica Wojton- What It Means to Stay #YDIStrong
Who are these amazing group home gals? It’s none other than Lewis & Clark Home Manager, Kelly Carey, and Group Home Counselor, Jessica Wojton! These two ladies are just a couple of our fierce residential warriors, working tirelessly to support the health and safety of the kids in our care during this pandemic.
So, how do they stay on top of their game? It starts with practicing excellent self-care! Surveys show that an overwhelming number of us are struggling with our own well-being at the moment. The best way for us to stay at our prime is to take the time to care for our own mental health.
In order to support you in staying at your best, both at work and outside of it, we’ve been stockpiling resources for your viewing pleasure! You will find those resources at the link below.
But wait, there’s more! Not only can these resources be found in Sage under the Resources tab, but you can now find them on the front page of SharePoint as well! To do so, just look in the quick launch bar on the left-hand side of your screen!
Remember, purposeful self-care is about ensuring that each of us stay #YDIStrong, both for ourselves and the collective whole. Once again, we would like to thank you for everything you do. Each of you are a piece of what makes our organization truly special. #YDIStrong
Britney Matzick & Kelly Althoff- Setting the Standard in Miles City #YDIStrong
Check it out! Miles City Care Manager, Britney Matzick, and Family Coach, Kelly Althoff, are setting the COVID standard! Follow their lead in helping us squash this bug by wearing your mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and most importantly, staying home if you’re sick!
Please know that your well-being means everything to us. Let’s protect each other, ourselves, and the families we serve. Remember, alone we’re just one, but together, we can make a real difference in helping end this pandemic and all the stress that comes along with it. #YDIStrong
Employee Spotlight~ Misty Blakeman, Billings Admin Support
This month we would like to recognize Misty Blakeman for her exemplary service to the YDI Mission, her team, and youth in our Billings community services. Misty goes above and beyond on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth.
Employee Spotlight~ Chloe Meltzer, Bozeman Area Manager
This month we would like to recognize, Chloe Meltzer, as our employee spotlight for her exemplary service to the YDI Mission, her team, and youth in our Bozeman & Livingston community services. Chloe goes above and beyond on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth.
Intake Coordinator, Nicole Bergman #YDIStrong
Who’s this hardworking lady? Most likely, if you’ve made a referral to our therapeutic foster care program, you’ve spoken to this amazing woman. She’s kind, quick with her words, and extremely dedicated to the children we serve. Nicole will go to great lengths to find any child in need placement. In fact, she often works weekends, evenings, and even on her vacations. Thank you, Nicole, as well as the rest of our passionate staff for all that you do for Montana kids. Your hard work does not go unnoticed! #YDIStrong
Colstrip Administrative Support, Yolanda Pretty Boy #YDIStrong
Have you met Yolanda? Chances are, if you phoned the Colstrip Community Office you at least spoke with her briefly. This woman works hard, she never misses a call, stays on top of audits, and always has a kind and grateful attitude. In fact, most Fridays she takes the time to write an uplifting message to her coworkers across the state. Thank you, Yolanda, as well as the rest of our support staff for all that you do for Montana kids. You truly are the backbone of this agency and we’re so grateful for each of you! #YDIStrong
Missoula Assistant Area Manager, Kerry McKenzie #YDIStrong
Who’s this hardworking woman? Meet Kerry McKenzie, a laid back lady with over a decade of agency experience under her belt. Kerry is the queen of multitasking, balancing her mentor management duties while staying on top of the day to day assignments that come alongside being an Assistant Area Manager. Thank you, Kerry, for your dedication to your local team, as well as to the agency as a whole. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. #YDIStrong
Kalispell Care Managers, Brooke Pokorny & Travis Heitmann #YDIStrong
Meet our dynamic Flathead County duo, Brooke and Travis! These two are just a couple of the amazing staff we have at our Kalispell Community Office! For the most part, they stay under the radar, slyly avoiding pictures or anything else that would result in them being in the spotlight. But, make no mistake, they’re passionate and dedicated to helping Montana kids. Thank you, Brooke, Travis, and the rest of our Kalispell team for everything you do! We are so proud to have each of you as part of our YDI family! #YDIStrong
Billings Therapist, Austin Logan #YDIStrong
We would like to take a second to recognize all of our clinicians for their flexibility in the delivery of services over the past few months. Your true colors most certainly shined through your creativity in making sure children and families get the support they need during challenging times.
Thank you, Austin, as well as the rest of our teams for all that you do! We are so proud to have each of you on our team! #YDIStrong
Shelby Care Manager, Chloe Blevins #YDIStrong
Meet Chloe, one of the dedicated members of our Shelby team who works hard to support families on the hi-line. This lady is a kind, patient clinician who, like the rest of her team, drives long distances to support the kids she serves. Thank you, Chloe,for everything you do. Without a doubt, you and your team are #YDIStrong!
CEO, Dennis Sulser, Ed.D. #YDIStrong
Who’s this fearless fellow in the stylin’ fur mask? It’s none other than our CEO, Dennis Sulser! The last few months have been difficult at best, but he has been nothing but kind and supportive to all of us. He’s worked tirelessly to navigate us through this storm, and is truly invested in our mission to help Montana kids and families. Thank you, Dennis, for all that you do for us! Your work does not go unnoticed. #YDIStrong
Intake Coordinator, Doris Higbee #YDIStrong
Who’s this happy lady? Meet Doris, an intake lady with a ton of pizazz! Doris never skips a beat in her dedication to live out the YDI mission! She’s kind, caring, and driven to help Montana kids and families! She’s quite the woman and we’re so honored that she’s chosen to be part of our YDI family. Thank you, Doris,for all that you do! You truly are what this movement is all about! #YDIStrong
Boulder Program Manager, Mandy Haller-Doris #YDIStrong
Who’s this wild woman? Meet Mandy, she’s a ball of positive energy! Without a doubt, this lady works hard and is a fierce advocate for her team! It’s not unheard of for her to work multiple back to back shifts in order to make sure everything is covered for her team and Boulder residents. Here’s the kicker though, she always maintains a cheerful demeanor and a genuine gratitude for everyone she works with. Thank you, Mandy, for everything you do. Your kindness, humility, and loyalty do not go unnoticed. #YDIStrong
Care Manager, Tamara Barnhart & Administrative Specialist, Kelsey Waller #YDIStrong
Who are these social distancing divas? Tamara and Kelsey are teaching us all how to do it right, with style! Seriously though, these ladies are fabulous! They work tirelessly each day to support those they are charged to care for, whether it be clients in the community or our staff through completing administrative reports. Thank you, ladies, for all that you do! We are proud to have you on our team! #YDIStrong
Boulder Group Home Therapist, Abbi Fetters #YDIStrong
Have you met Abbi? She’s absolutely amazing! This lady is hard working, has a kind spirit, and a witty sense of humor to boot! Like the rest of our therapeutic group home teams, Abbi has worked tirelessly to serve the kids in our residential care during this difficult period. Thank you, Abbi, for all that you do! You’re what this movement is all about! #YDIStrong
Billings Care Manager, Verity Seeman #YDIStrong
Meet Verity, one of our amazing Care Managers in Billings! Like the rest of our community teams, the Billings Community Office has been working hard to serve all of the families needing support during this difficult period.
In the photo above, Verity shows off a picture colored with one of her kiddos during an FST meeting. We would like to thank her, along with the rest of our staff, for all the work they have done over the last few months. We know it hasn’t been easy, and we are so thankful for each and every one of you! #YDIStrong
Boulder Home Manager, Phil Yanzick #YDIStrong
Have you met Phil? This guy is awesome! Phil has a great energy about him and a delightful sense of humor. Seriously, this man is devoted to his team, YDI, and the children we serve. Thank you, Phil for everything you do! We are honored to have you as part of our YDI family! #YDIStrong
Bozeman FDC, Kennedy Gavaghan #YDIStrong
Bozeman was prepared for this pandemic! Not a shocker though, our Gallatin County FDC is quite the go-getter! This lady is always looking to round up more referrals to expand our homes in the area for vulnerable Montana youth! We would like to thank Kennedy, and the rest of our Family Development Coordinators, for all they do for foster parents and children in Montana. They are truly making a difference, one home at a time! #YDIStrong
Glasgow Care Manager, Lynsey Eberle #YDIStrong
Who’s this stylish lady? Meet Lynsey, one of our rockin’ Care Managers from Glasgow, Montana. Our rural Montana teams work hard, often traveling long distances to provide crucial services to families in need. In the photo above, Lynsey sports a fun face mask as she prepares to meet face-to-face with one of the kids she serves. #YDIStrong
Bozeman FSA Manager, Evon Kolar
This lady’s great! Meet Evon, our amazing Bozeman Mentor Manager. Evon has worked tirelessly to support our Family Support Assistants during this difficult period. She has always been an amazing advocate for her team of mentors and a patient trainer for her fellow FSA Managers across the state. Thank you, Evon for all that you do! You’re an amazing lady and we’re so proud to have you as part of our YDI family! #YDIStrong
Assistant Area Manager, Kristin Bauwens #YDIStrong
Who’s this wild woman? Meet Kristin, a clinician who’s always wearing multiple hats. This woman can do it all- LAC work, local leadership, and case management! She is never afraid to jump in and do what needs to be done for the good of her clients and team! On top of everything else, she also goes to graduate school full-time! Thank you Kristin for all that you do! You’re an amazing woman and we’re so proud to have you on our team! #YDIStrong
Lewis & Clark Program Manager, Jimmy Trudo #YDIStrong
Who’s this awesome fellow? Jimmy manages to be fun, hardworking, and has a great sense of humor, all while helping his team navigate the rough waters of COVID-19. You can always count on this guy to be there, whether you need an engaging photo for the YDI Weekly or have a youth in crisis at one of our homes. Thank you, Jimmy, for all that you do! You’re what this hashtag is all about! #YDIStrong
Missoula Area Manager, Kelsey Adcock #YDIStrong
Who’s this bossy chica? Kelsey has worked tirelessly to support and lead her team over the last couple months. But, did you know that outside of work she’s a full-time MSW student?
In the photo above, Kelsey enjoys a lukewarm cup of coffee in celebration of happier times ahead. Thank you, Kelsey for all that you do to support your team and the families we serve! You’re amazing and we are so grateful to have you as part of our YDI family! #YDIStrong
Great Falls Care Manager, Adam Lenz #YDIStrong
Who’s this awesome guy? Adam has a great of humor, and lives and breathes the YDI mission! His coworkers report that he is a joy to work with, really cares about his team, and is dedicated to the clients we serve. Thank you, Adam for all that you do! You’re a prime example of what this movement is all about! #YDIStrong
Intake Coordinator, Shirley Bulluck #YDIStrong
Who’s this fabulous woman? Meet Shirley, a fierce advocate for YDI staff and the kids we serve! This lady hasn’t skipped a beat, she’s been processing 70-80 referrals a month, even through this pandemic. But it doesn’t stop there, outside of work this wild woman is an amazing grandma and even plays a touch of piano! Thank you for all that you do Shirley! You are a prime example of what this hashtag is all about! #YDIStrong
Executive Assistant & Facilities Manager, Dawn Wilson #YDIStrong
Who’s this wild woman? Meet Dawn, our dedicated jack of all administrative trades! Did you know she was the mastermind behind that slick PPE you all received last week? It’s true, she worked long hours to pack and organize all the stylish gear to ensure your safety would be number one as we phase back in face to face services with clients! Thank you, Dawn, for all that you do! You’re a YDI super star! #YDIStrong
Great Falls FBS Care Managers, Amy Langel & Heidi Deshayes #YDIStrong
Check out these FBS divas! These ladies are total rock stars, working hard to ensure families receive the much needed preventative and reunification services that kids need to thrive! In the photo above, Amy and Heidi sport the #YDIStrong hashtag to show their unwavering support of their teammates across the state during this difficult period. #YDIStrong
Program Manager, Rhonda Hedden & Home Manager, Kelly Raidiger #YDIStrong
COVID-19 isn’t going to stop our group home teams from getting their Mandt on! Our residential crew has worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to support our kids in care! Thank you Rhonda, Kelly, and the rest of your team for all that you do! We would be lost without you! #YDIStrong
Administrative Specialist, Jessica Bonogofsky #YDIStrong
Our Central Office crew is amazing! They really are the backbone of all the crucial support services that we provide to Montana kids and families! Pictured above is Administrative Specialist, Jessica Bonogofsky, showing her unwavering support for our teams across the state. Thank you for all that you do, Jessica! You are outstanding! #YDIStrong
Great Falls FSA Manager, Gavin Sundquist #YDIStrong
Have you met Gavin? Shout out to this guy, he has a heart of gold! He’s super dedicated to his team and the kids we serve! Thank you for all that you do, Gavin! #YDIStrong
Bozeman Care Manager, Sam Weishoff #YDIStrong
Have you met Sam? Like so many of our Care Managers, Sam has worked tirelessly to support Montana kids and families through these trying times. Above, she is photographed practicing social distancing at our Bozeman Community Office. #YDIStrong
Payroll Technician, Robin Russell #YDIStrong
Have you met this spectacular lady? Robin has worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure that no one skips a beat with their paycheck! Hats off to you Robin for being an amazing woman! #YDIStrong
Butte Area Manager, Maggie Pierce #YDIStrong
Have you met our Butte Area Manager, Maggie Pierce? This lady is amazing! She has a kind heart and is a fierce advocate for her team and the clients they serve! Thank you Maggie for all you do. You’re what this hashtag is all about! #YDIStrong
Billings Care Manager, Tamara Barnhart #YDIStrong
To stay #YDIStrong you need to set aside time for you! In the picture above, Billings Care Manager, Tamara Barnhart, takes a break from an eventful Mother’s Day weekend to pose for the camera with her Mini-Me. #YDIStrong
ACD, Bryan Cantwell #YDIStrong
It doesn’t matter what position you’re in, we’re all united in this together. Pictured is Residential Associate Clinical Director, Bryan Cantwell, sporting the #YDIStrong hashtag to show his support for our teams across the state. #YDIStrong
Kelsey Harriman, Karessa Longmire, and Abby Mcknire #YDIStrong
We love seeing pictures of our Residential & Community Teams coming together! Pictured are Helena Area Manager, Kelsey Harriman, and Helena Group Home Counselors, Karessa Longmire and Abby Mcknire, showing their #YDIStrong!
We would like to thank all of our teams for all they’re doing to support kids and families during this difficult period! Please know how much we truly appreciate each and every one of you.
Butte Care Manager, Mikala Schumacher #YDIStrong
Have you meet Mikala? This girl is amazing! During this difficult period she has been supporting her community by painting hearts on the Butte Community Office windows to show that we are all together during this period of social distancing.
It’s not just that though, she has been making activity packets for the kids she works with and hand delivering them to their doorsteps! We even caught Mikala having a virtual pampering session, complete with face masks, with one of her kids! #YDIStrong
We would like to thank all of our teams for all they are doing to support kids and families during this difficult period!
Missoula Admin Support, Robert Taylor #YDIStrong
Robert, like many of his admin counterparts, has been working hard to be the glue that holds his office together during this difficult period. #YDIStrong
To fill his cup, he has been turning the Missoula Community Office into a tropical forest. Here, he is shown tending to his little green friends with some spring repotting.
We would like to thank all of our Admin Supports for everything they do. They are true YDI heroes and we are honored to them on our team!
Miles City Care Manager, Ida Aldred #YDIStrong
Ida, like many of her teammates, are working long hours to support our kids across the state during these uncertain times. #YDIStrong
We would like to thank each and every one of you for everything you do to support the kids in our care. We are honored to have each of you on our team!
Our AYA team members have been working themselves to the bone supporting the health and safety of our kids in care! They created this awesome board so that they could remind themselves of what makes them #YDIStrong during their most difficult moments.
We would like to thank each and every one of you for everything you do to support the kids in our care. We are honored to have each of you on our team!
Billings Care Manager, Kristen Linn #YDIStrong
Like many of her teammates, Kristen Linn, is working hard to support clients remotely. Above, she shows her support for her YDI comrades with her canine friend, Miss Lailah. #YDIStrong
Thank you for all that you do Kristen! We’re so happy to have you and Miss Lailah on our team!
We have an awesome team at North Skyline Youth Home! Pictured are Home Manager, Richard Heusel, and Youth Home Counselors, Isaac Howard & Alex Strom showing their #YDIStrong!
Across the state, our group home teams have been working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our kids in care. We are so grateful for all of the amazing work that they do!
Christy Rickett~ Miles City Care Manager #YDIStrong
Christy, along with her Miles City teammates have been working tirelessly to support our kids and families during these uncertain times utilizing digital services. #YDIStrong
We are so grateful for everything each and every one of you are doing across the state to support each other and Montana kids. It’s the work that you do that makes us the provider of choice for Montana youth and families!
Chloe Meltzer~ Bozeman Area Manager #YDIStrong
Did you know that Chloe has a Master in Public Health? She’s been prepared for this moment, and is guiding her team well through these uncertain times. Thank you, Chloe, for all that you do and for being an exemplary example of what YDI leadership looks like! #YDIStrong
We would like to thank all of our teams for the tremendous effort they are putting forth to support each other and the kids in our services. You all are a living example of what the YDI mission and values are all about.
Kelsey Waller~ Administrative Specialist #YDIStrong
Kelsey Waller has come into work at our Central Office everyday over the last couple of months, working tirelessly to support our teams during this difficult period. When asked about her dedication, she reported, “This company and its mission mean everything to me. I love this place and what we do!” #YDIStrong
Kristin Troy~ Livingston Care Manager #YDIStrong
Kristin is one of many Care Managers who are working hard to embrace the new norm of client care through utilizing technology to support families remotely.
We would like to thank Kristin, along with our other clinicians, for maintaining a positive attitude during these challenging times while also working immensely hard to provide care to Montana kids in need. #YDIStrong
Zachary Berteaux~ Youth Home Counselor #YDIStrong
Zachary is one of many Group Home Counselors working extraordinarily hard to support the kids in our care during this period of uncertainty. In the photo above, he shows his #YDIStrong with his canine friend while taking a break for self-care. #YDIStrong
Linda Lowney~ Butte FSA Manager #YDIStrong
Linda Lowney is one of the many community service team members who are going above and beyond to support the families in our care during this difficult period.
Recently, Linda donated an old vehicle so that one of the families in our Butte services would have a car large enough to fit their entire family. We would like to thank Linda, as well as the rest of our employee donors, for everything they do to support our mission and the kids we serve. #YDIStrong
Cassie Parker~ Miles City FSA Manager #YDIStrong
Cassie Parker is one of many FSA Managers across the state who are working closely with our mentors to provide support during this difficult period. She, along with the rest of her community teammates, are working diligently to be there for our families while also adjusting to the new norm of service delivery that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic. #YDIStrong
Ashley Santos~ Boulder Home Manager #YDIStrong
Ashley Santos stands united with her teammates across the state in the photo above. She, along with her local team, are working tirelessly to support the health and safety of kids in our Boulder group homes. #YDIStrong
Katie Gruss~ Butte Assistant Area Manager #YDIStrong
Above, Assistant Area Manager, Katie Gruss, shows her #YDIStrong with her two little ones. Like so many of us, Katie wears multiple hats, including that of Mama and full-time employee!
Joellen Brennan~ Billings Community Therapist #YDIStrong
Above, Billings Therapist, Joellen Brennan, fearlessly showing her support of her teams across the state during this difficult period. #YDIStrong
Did you know that Joellen has been making it a point to write letters to the kids she works with. She reports, “Every child likes to receive mail.”
According to Joellen, children have even requested that she draws pictures for them. So, in order to meet their requests, she sought out a few tutorials on YouTube and put her new-found art skills to work- drawing magnificent portraits for the kids.