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Student Spotlights

Autumn Lott: Political Science

Autumn interned for Utah Youth Village as a youth mentor during Winter Semester 2022.

Describe a day in your life as an intern.

As a Youth Mentor, I was assigned to work one on one with three youth. Each youth was referred to the Village by DCFS or Child Services and had unique needs. I scheduled weekly visits with the youth and their parents, according to what was best for everyone’s schedule and how much time the caseworker wanted me to spend with each youth. It was my job to be an extra support to these youth. During our visits, I would plan different fun activities for us to do together. Sometimes we went to the arcade to play games, visited a waterfall, worked on homework, make a suicide safety plan, or went prom dress shopping. After the visit, I’d write up a case note to record what we did and how the youth was. I also attended training meetings throughout the month.

What industry/job specific skills did you learn?

I learned how to model emotional regulation and de-escalation. I also learned how to use motivational coaching and how to be flexible and adapt to my youth’s needs during our visits.

What are three things that you learned from this experience that could be applied to other settings?

Everything I learned will help me with parenting and with teaching/helping kids in therapy or in other settings. I learned that it’s not my job to control the behavior of my youth, instead I need to be the one who listens to understand them without judgment and use motivational coaching to help them learn problem solving techniques. I learned that most youth just get bossed around by adults and feel like no one takes the time to understand their perspective and how they’re thinking or feeling. I also learned how important it is to set clear expectations to avoid conflicts.

What was your favorite part of your internship?

Working one on one with my youth, because I knew I was making a difference in their lives. It was rewarding to watch them improve and have them open up to me.

How did this experience affect your future goals? I

t confirmed that I would love working one on one to strengthen struggling youth. It helped me understand better what kind of job I would like to do full time and whether or not I’d get burnt out.

How did you get your internship?

I found the Utah Youth Village at a virtual BYU Career Fair.

How did this experience contribute to your growth?

It allowed me to apply principles I was learning in class to real life situations with real people.

Because of privacy laws, I cannot take pictures while I’m working. But working with my youth brought so much laughter and insightful experiences that will bless me for the rest of my life!