When it comes to the nuts and bolts that keep Ascend running smoothly, it’s all about the mentors. They’re there every day with the clients, helping them navigate therapy, meals, and everything in between. Because mentors do a lot of the heavy lifting within our residential treatment centers, they need reliable support from the best. And the best? Well, her name is Taylor – Lead Mentor at Ascend. Follow along with us to experience a day in her life.
What Does Taylor Actually Do?
Taylor does a lot of juggling as the lead mentor. She oversees and supports mentors, of course, but she also has to ensure our residential treatment houses are clean and organized, attend mandatory training and weekly meetings, teach gratitude groups and lead dance therapy for clients. In addition, she guides clients through times of crisis, helping them process intense emotions with DBT skills and a listening ear.
Forever A Mentor
Taylor got into this career path because of her empathic nature. From a very young age, she was the one people turned to for help and advice. Whether it was friends or family, she’s always functioned as a listener and problem solver – even for people far older than her!
As she grew up, Taylor began working with kids as a camp counselor. And when it came time for college, she turned to psychology to help support her interest in helping young people thrive. With a BA in Psych, she moved on to working in group homes for teens on probation. While Taylor learned a lot during her time there, it wasn’t quite the right fit and she transitioned to residential treatment, which eventually landed her at Ascend.
Here, she found her home for so many reasons. Growing up, Taylor watched her cousin struggle with addiction. This experience has helped her connect with many of our clients, pushing past their pain and insecurities to create a deeper bond.
Since Taylor worked at a residential treatment center very similar to ours, you might be wondering why she chose to accept a job with us. It turns out our dedication and understanding for both clients and staff resonate with her. She just couldn’t say no to working with such a supportive and close-knit team.
She also loves seeing the progress our clients make from the moment they arrive to the minute they leave. Getting to be part of their journey is such a special, rewarding, and fulfilling process that she can’t imagine missing out on! It can be incredible to watch the transformation from hopeless and resentful to grateful and cheerful – especially because she knows their hard work towards a healthier path is made possible by our structured program and dedicated staff.
Even though working with troubled kids can be stressful and challenging, Taylor finds relief in the positive environment we foster. While it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, we work hard to provide Taylor and her team with a consistently safe space in which to work. Our team encourages growth, education, and passion for everyone in our community.
Speaking of Passion…
Passion is an integral part of our treatment plans and an essential part of life. We encourage clients to focus on a passion project and spend part of their time in treatment creating something lasting. For Taylor, passion projects are also incredibly important. She’s pursuing teen treatment and mental health services on a massive scale. She sees many teens get left behind because of financial struggles and social stigma, so she’s made it her mission to help.
Taylor volunteers in after-school programs, providing information and resources for those who don’t have access to mental health services. Eventually, she hopes to transform the entire school system by integrating mental health education into classrooms, bringing awareness to the importance of therapy and decreasing depression, anxiety, and negative behaviors in young teens.
Normalizing mental health and the conversations that surround it is an essential part of a healthier society. Taylor believes that if we start teaching people how to navigate hardship and process difficult situations in our formative years, we can provide teens with the skills and tools they need to ensure their mental wellbeing.
Challenges & Motivation
Many people who work in treatment know that therapy can be a cyclical process. You watch people backslide, even as they work so hard to move ahead in life. For Taylor, it can be challenging to consider how many people would benefit from programs like Ascend, but many don’t get the chance to even try. On her toughest days, she reminds herself of the little boy and the starfish.
In this tale, an old man taking his daily walk along the beach sees a young boy saving starfish one at a time. He tells the boy that he’ll never make a difference when there are thousands upon thousands of starfish that need saving. The boy replies, “well, I just made a difference for that one,” before continuing on with his work.
This story is a powerful motivator for Taylor, who sees that the smallest things we do in life can make a big difference – tiny ripples that spread out to affect so many other things. Like the little boy in the story, Taylor has seen how a single conversation or compliment changes a client’s entire perception. This client later writes a Legacy letter or shares their experience with someone else, helping them learn, grow, and improve. And so, Taylor’s ripples extend ever outward to change the world for the better.
Taylor & Ascend – All the Way!
Taylor’s vision and philosophy truly align with our hopes and dreams for our clients and the mental health community at large. Even better, her upbeat energy and willingness to show up for anyone that needs it is a central pillar for our mentor team. While we may have taught her a bit about different types of therapy and provided a platform for her to change the world, Taylor is a major force for good at Ascend. We couldn’t see our company without her!
More Powerhouse Personalities Are Here to Stay
If you enjoyed this glimpse into Taylor’s world and you’re interested in experiencing a day in the life of some of our other team members, keep an eye out for spotlight posts that highlight other essential Ascend staff!