NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | December 2016

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NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | December 2016

NewsFeed @ Youth In Need  |  December 16, 2016


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year! But for many of the children, teens and families Youth In Need serves, along the way, tough times have helped them lose their sense of wonder.

We believe that wonder leads to hope. And with hope, anything is possible. With your support, we can continue to help children and families restore wonder to their lives, build hope and believe in the possibilities. Now that would be truly wonderful!

May the wonder of possibility be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming New Year!

Pat’s Chat: Program Spotlight

Please enjoy my Q&A with Cara Merritt, Senior Director of Counseling, about Youth In Need’s Counseling program.

  1. What is the Counseling program? The Counseling Program is a combination of four different programs, Office-Based Counseling, School-Based Counseling, Teen Parent services and Therapeutic Supervised Visitation (TSV) services. The therapists providing office- and school-based therapy do so in individual, family and group counseling settings in two offices and in 14 school districts. The Teen Parent staff provide nursing and counseling services in the St. Charles County office and schools, as well as in-home. The TSV program services are provided in the St. Charles office in collaboration with and funded by the St. Charles County Family Court.
  2. Who are the staff? We have 39 St. Louis County Therapists, six St. Charles Therapists, one Nurse, six Directors and one Senior Director.
  3. Where do you work? The Counseling program has two office locations: the Burkemper Counseling Center on Jefferson in St. Charles County and the St. Louis County Counseling Office in Olivette, near 170 and Olive Boulevard. The Teen Parent therapist and nurse are located in the Burkemper Counseling Center, along with five other therapists and a Counseling Director. The other five Directors and four of the therapists are housed in the Olivette office. The remaining 35 therapists are embedded in the 11 school district schools that Youth In Need’s Counseling program serves. 
  4. Who do you serve? We serve youth, ages 3-19 in St. Charles County and ages 3-20 in St. Louis County. The only eligibility criteria is that the youth either reside or attend school in one of the two counties. Youth can be referred or self-refer to services for any issue they are struggling with, from grief and loss to anxiety and depression to abuse and neglect to peer and relationship issues.
  5. What are your biggest challenges? The biggest challenge that the Counseling program faces is keeping all the therapists connected to each other and to the agency since we are spread out from St. Charles and across St. Louis County. Thirty-five of the 45 therapists only see another Youth In Need co-worker or supervisor two times per week for their team meeting and supervision. The tough work that the therapists do every day with their clients and families (typically therapists have 20 to 30 clients on their caseload) necessitates that they get the supervision, support and connection that they need for their professional development, growth, learning and self-care.
  6. What are you most proud of? I am the most proud of having the privilege to lead such an amazing team of talented, creative, passionate, knowledgeable, committed and determined clinicians who collectively served more than 4,500 youth clients last year alone. The impact of the quality counseling services that our therapists provide to youth and families is beyond amazing!
  7. What does “success” look like for your clients? Success can look so many different ways: From a parent and child learning how to manage a tantrum better, to a youth healing from the impact of abuse and neglect, to a family rebuilding safe and trusting relationships after a period of disconnection, to a teen successfully graduating while working through issues of drug and alcohol abuse, to a group of children supporting each other through the agony of grief and loss, to a child learning how to speak out and advocate against bullying, to a teen mom giving birth to a healthy baby. All of these—and many more big and small steps—are seen as “successes” in the Counseling program.
  8. What’s a “fun fact” about your program? Last spring, the Counseling team won the Spirit Contest at YINFest (Youth In Need’s staff appreciation event) with the theme from the movie Inside Out. We had lots of fun costumes, acting and giveaways. The fun fact that most don’t know is that we were able to put the whole thing together without everyone ever getting together physically prior to YINFest. Each team created their piece of how they would represent their character from the movie and act it out during the YINFest performance. While I was slightly nervous as to how it would all come together, I was more than pleasantly surprised and then amazed that we won!
  9. Who is the contact person for more information? Contact Cara Merritt, Senior Director of Counseling, at 314-341-5030 or for more information.


Save the Date: Celebration of Youth

Centene Charitable Foundation presents Youth In Need’s 30th annual Celebration of Youth! Celebrate with us on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa as Youth In Need honors Don Kalicak, Vice President, Development for Mercy St. Louis. Don is a former Youth In Need Board member and longtime supporter and champion of children in our community.

Get involved and help Youth In Need celebrate Don by becoming an event sponsor, attending the event, donating an auction item or making a donation to support the event.  


Youth In Need Remembers Former Board Member

Youth In Need mourns the loss of former Board member Fred Newman. Fred, who passed away on Dec. 6, served on Youth In Need’s Board of Directors for 14 years from 1992-2006, including serving on the capital campaign committee in 1992 and the 20th Reunion Committee in 1994. Always an advocate and supporter, he continued to serve on the Board Advisory Committee for another six years after retiring from the board. Fred’s son Jim was one of the first youth volunteers at Youth In Need. He helped provide Youth In Need’s initial Emergency Shelter and 24-Hour Help Line services. Youth In Need later named one of its annual volunteer awards after Jim.

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