May 01, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Angie Corll
Angie knows what it feels like to run away. She did it for years, running away from abusive and neglectful homes, opting for freedom and danger of the streets over security. This life on the run led her down many dark paths for years until she became the kid that no one wanted to take in. Finally, in 1993, with the help of her probation officer, she entered a Janus residential program. That was a turning point. Says Angie, “I was blessed to have been given a second chance.” Now she works as a Youth Care Specialist at our Oak Grove shelter in SW Washington, helping youth who are facing similar life crisis as she did. We talked to Angie to find out how her experiences has prepared her to serve our youth.
What does a Youth Care Specialist do?
I work the swing shift at Oak Grove—a secure shelter for runaway and at-risk youth arriving from a juvenile detention center or through law enforcement. Often youth are here for a few days. The goal of the program is to reunify youth with their families within 48-hours of placement through on-site crisis intervention and family-mediation services. We connect youth who require greater assistance to services designed to promote safe family reunification. My role is to spend time with each youth, make sure they are safe, clothed, fed and listen to them.
How has your life experiences help you in your work?
Because I was once a runaway youth, as well as a sex-traffick survivor (CSEC), I understand many of the feelings these youth have. I pay attention to their facial expressions, body cues and consider each as a unique individual. While I have my own personal testimony, I rarely share it unless it is relevant to help a youth. I focus the conversation on them, giving my full attention. Sometimes it works, other times they may not be interested in talking. Usually they let me in.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
One of the best parts of my job is playing a role in making sure there is one less homeless youth on the street. I appreciate getting phone calls from youth or seeing them in a public place and they tell me about the progress they are making with their lives. They may tell me about aging out of foster care into independent living, or getting a job or staying in school. Some will say, “I remember you being very kind to me.” Helping youth get that second chance as I did makes me feel like I am doing something to make a difference in their lives.