Skills For The Journey

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Sarah Breyette, MSW, LGSW, prefers to talk about her work at YouthLink as “skill building” rather than “counseling.” That’s because so many of the young people she works with have become dependent on short-term survival habits born out of trauma and desperation. To move forward, she believes, they must replace those go-to habits with new, healthier skills for coping.

Sarah says, “The young people have learned to survive without stability in their lives. Unfortunately, that might mean a ‘fight or flight’ approach to solving problems. I help them recognize which patterns and habits prevent them from breaking free of pain and self-destructive actions. We ‘manage the moment’ to identify feelings while they’re happening. Then we build new skills to manage them without relying on old behaviors that might be harmful.”

With grant funding provided by a generous underwriter, YouthLink hired Sarah, a licensed social worker, to be a full-time, on-site, listening presence.

“We don’t label anyone here. That’s one of the things I love about YouthLink,” Sarah says. “We’re relationship-based, and that builds trust. We can focus on ‘now,’ because the youth know we’re here for them today—and tomorrow—no matter what.”

“I really love my job,” says Sarah. “I sometimes wondered if my education and skills were making a difference in the world. Now, I know I can help change lives and restore hope every day. YouthLink is a perfect fit for me.”

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