At KVC Hospitals, we know that the best way to serve our clients is to hire extraordinary people. Meet Kourtney Young, a Behavioral Health Counselor who joined KVC in 2017. Young works with children and teens at the KVC Wheatland Shelter in Hays, Kan. In her role, Young supervises youth who are waiting to be placed in foster homes, provides guidance to the youth and helps them complete homework and chores. In this Q&A, she shares how she was destined to help children and teens who were just like her.
Kourtney Young: I have always wanted a job where I can work with youth and make a difference. I didn’t have the perfect upbringing; I had divorced parents and currently have no relationship with my father. Growing up, I was abused by people I trusted and I still found a way to move past that trauma. So I have hope for the children and teens I work with every day. I was previously in a career field that I was not happy with and I was looking for a sign that I should change career paths and pursue my dream when I heard a radio commercial that KVC Wheatland Hospital was hiring. I know I’m on the right path in life because I am excited to go to work every morning and sad to leave each night.
What do you wish people knew about working with children in the child welfare system?
Young: These are all phenomenal kids who have had a really tough break in life. Many of the children and teens I work with are in the system due to no fault of their own, but they have to deal with the consequences. Some of the trauma they have experienced leads them to have some behavioral challenges that we help address. But, if you talked to them about what they have been through, it would help you understand why they act the way they do. It’s easy to judge people based on their past, but it’s hard to do that when you place yourself in their shoes.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Young: Being able to see each youth progress every day and know that I am positively impacting them in some way. I enjoy seeing their personalities come out as they get to know me and my story. I love that I have built a relationship with all the kids and that every child hugs me hello every morning and goodbye every afternoon.
At KVC, we practice Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) which is an evidence-based practice to promote the good things someone does. One day, I was telling a kid, “Thank you for cleaning up your room. I’m proud of you.” It’s something I say often, but this kid pulled me aside and said that nobody had ever told him they were proud of him. It’s moments like those that make me keep going, knowing that I have to keep helping these children know that they are special and amazing.
What would you say to youth coming to KVC Hospitals?
Young: My best advice for current and future clients is to work hard and focus on your future. It’s so easy to get caught up in your past and what you have been through, but keep your head up and your chin held high. The only person who can make your future great is you, and you have all the power and ability to do so. Focus on yourself and what you need to do to better yourself each and every day.
What advice do you have for someone interested in being a BHC?
Young: I’d say apply! Come help! The youth I work with need wonderful adults who care about them. Some days are hard, but most days you can find something that was good. If a child did all of his homework or completed all his chores, those are wins. All the smiles make it worth it.
Kourtney Young is just one of the many caring employees who work at KVC Hospitals. We’re always in need of compassionate people to join our team. If you are interested in a career in social work, browse the open positions on our careers page.