Life can take us in directions we never anticipated for ourselves. When you work in mental and behavioral health, you see some of the harder parts of life, but also powerful stories of hope, growth, and healing. Many of us are touched by these stories and may not even realize it.
Our latest Victor Success story is one that shows the power of living out our values and pursuing our callings, even though we have no idea when they’ll show up.
Alex was living in Southern California when her brother sent the job posting for an office position with Victor. She wanted to be prepared for her interview and so she began researching the agency.
“The more I researched the company, the more I was like, okay, this is definitely a place where I could see myself working. I align with the values and what they stand for.”
She was finishing up her bachelor’s degree in Spanish during the time she applied. However, when it came time for graduation, she didn’t quite know what she wanted to do. As she spent more time working at Victor and being exposed to Victor’s therapists, clinicians, and clients, she realized that this kind of work was what she wanted to do.
The clinical part of the field was where Alex felt most called. She continued to work in administration until an adjunct clinical position became available and applied for it. It was 9 months between the time she began working in the Victor office and when she started her first clinical position. She then began her Master’s in Social work program (MSW) and was attending school full-time.
Taking the Next Step
Working in a behavioral support role and attending school full-time, Alex was fully rooted in pursuing the field she wanted to work in. Her situation of working and going to school full-time is not uncommon for MSW students, but it’s still challenging. With the support of her supervisors, she was ready to take it on.
Alex experienced the Victor culture as one in which her own growth and education were supported. Supervisors and colleagues provided her with guidance and helped her to succeed. MSW students are required to complete a set of supervised hours to become licensed in addition to their schoolwork. In Alex’s case, she was able to continue her employment as a clinician, while also obtaining supervised hours towards her credentials.
Balancing it All
There was a lot to balance during Alex’s MSW program between the work she was doing and the people she was working with, both at her school and internships. Every couple of months, her Victor supervisors found a time to meet with her school’s field supervisor. This created a valuable connection when it came time for Alex to start her second internship for the program.
Even through all the ups and downs, Alex felt supported by the team that surrounded her at Victor. She felt believed in. Her internship offered different trainings and opportunities to work alongside other professionals and learn from them. It was hands on and in depth enough to where she felt ready when she began serving clients.
Finding Her Calling
Because she was able to work for Victor while earning her MSW and completing internships, Alex was able to learn more about herself and specify where she felt called to work. She found the Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program and set her hopes on becoming a clinician within it. Here is a brief description of the program:
Transition Age Youth are a population getting ready to move into adulthood. At Victor we have specialized programs to help this group successfully make the transition to adulthood and in many cases independence, and we work to equip them with the skills they need to be as highly functioning as they can be.
At Victor we provide a coordinated and comprehensive array of services for TAY clients and allow them to selectively utilize services needed to maximize their individual potential (Resiliency/Recovery Model) and successfully transition into adulthood; services address all identified transition needs in the domains of employment, educational opportunities, living situations, community life, medication, mental health, physical wellbeing, drug and alcohol use, trauma, domestic violence, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
Alex communicated her goals with her supervisors and waited for an opportunity to open up within the program. When the time came, she applied, interviewed, and got the position!
Coming Full Circle
They say that all the hard work you put into achieving your goals will be worth it and Alex found that to be true for her experience. She found her calling in an unlikely way and had a lot of work and schooling to get to it, but it was like it was waiting for her all along.
Her older brother had mental health issues growing up and was hospitalized several times as a young adult. She wishes her family had known about a program like TAY that could have helped and supported him when he needed it.
“I think along the way I've very much connected to this TAY program, and I see the vision of what it is and how it can be helpful to families.”
Alex is passionate about Victor and the TAY program because she feels they both aim to solve the heart of the issues people face. There is a tendency for some people to just solve the immediate problem that is directly in front of them, but this approach doesn’t always provide the tools to create sustainable growth and healing.
When Alex was researching for her interview, years before she became a clinician, she realized that she connected with Victor’s values. The mission statement particularly stood out to her: Our mission is to be a catalyst for sustained improvement in the lives of those we touch.
“I think it's amazing that the goal of the agency and what they really value is to go in there not only to stabilize the client and the family, but to empower them to maintain that for the rest of their lives.”
Now as a clinician, Alex enjoys that every day her job has something new to offer. She continues her training and expanding her knowledge in order to better serve clients. There is also a collaborative atmosphere at Victor even though her work is primarily independent.
Victor’s Internship Program
Throughout her years at Victor, from office staff to clinician, Alex’s constant has been Victor’s support of her growth.
“For me, I've sought out the growth and that's why I've grown within this agency, and it's always been supported. They've definitely invested in me as much as I've been willing to invest back into them. And I think that's really important to highlight.”
Alex’s experience balancing her education, work and internships is common particularly among those in the mental and behavioral health and social work fields. Victor is hoping to positively change this experience by offering paid internships. By helping to alleviate some of the financial burden, our hope is the interns will be able to better focus more of their time learning their craft and client care.
We hope Alex’s story is one that communicates how Victor aims to value our clients and our staff. Perhaps it’s even inspired you to pursue your own personal growth or enter a field where you can help improve the lives of others.
If you are looking for an internship or know of someone who needs one, visit our website to learn more about our Internship Program and how to apply online.