What is your position with Ellipsis?
My current position is a shelter supervisor.
How long have you worked here?
I’ve worked with Ellipsis since August of 2020.
Have you had any other roles/jobs during your tenure with Ellipsis?
I’ve served as a supervisor since 2021. Previously, I was a residential adviser and unit leader.
What drew you to work at Ellipsis?
When I first moved to Iowa, I was looking for a job. I read the job description for a residential adviser and thought it seemed like a perfect job for me.
Can you recall a moment (during your career with Ellipsis) when you felt like you were in exactly the right place, doing exactly what you should be doing? What was that like?
There are many moments like that while working in this field, but anytime I help a youth find more positive coping skills or teach a kid a new skill, I know I’m in the right place. One time, I was able teach a kid multiplication. By the end of his stay at shelter, he knew all of his times tables from 0 through 13. The smile on his face when I would walk in the unit with more math problems was priceless. It’s a moment that reminds me that I cannot see myself working outside of this field.
What are some of the more challenging aspects of this job?
A challenging aspect of this job is seeing the kids we care for go through tough family situations or deal with negative people who let them down. I hate seeing a kid excited for a family visit just for the family member to cancel. That definitely makes the youth sad.
What are some of the rewarding aspects of the job?
Seeing the kids’ faces during holiday activities is awesome. When kids are in placement during the holidays, you can see that they are very sad during that time. We try and make it as joyful as possible. Last Halloween at the shelter, we had a party where kids bobbed for apples, painted pumpkins, had a costume contest, experienced a haunted hallway and had a bunch of other games. It was such a great time for the kids and the staff. Little things like that are the most rewarding thing about this job, just to be able to have fun with the kids and bring them joy during rough times in their lives.
Why is it important to have residential programs in communities and qualified people working in them?
It is important to have these programs and qualified people working in them. Without organizations like Ellipsis, many kids and families would be left dealing with difficult problems alone. When trying to correct family dynamics, it is sometimes needed to have kids stay outside the home with qualified people to help the youth and family reach that goal. With programs like ours, we can do just that while keeping the kids safe.
What is a misconception people may have about mental health treatment? How do you dispel that?
A misconception I think many people have about mental health treatment is that it is a negative thing when it should be seen as a positive. Everyone has experienced a trauma or difficult situation that could cause a mental health issue in the moment or down the road. Completing treatment for mental health more than likely will help individuals be able to navigate future, past and present difficulties.
The best way to dispel this misconception is inform and advocate people like we do here at Ellipsis and to let people know that there should be no fear, guilt or shame with seeking help for mental health. Why make someone feel bad or scared about something that is going to improve their life? Instead, encourage and advocate for them.
If there’s anything else you’d like to add about your role, please feel free to do so!
I really enjoy working at Ellipsis. I can’t see myself working anywhere else in this time of my life.