In the Employee Spotlight we recognize a Youth Service, Inc. employee making an impact in the communities we serve. Artasia Clark is an Outreach Worker in the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

My name is Artasia Clarke, I am from New York City, and recently moved to Philadelphia. I am a first generation college graduate and am currently pursuing my Master’s in social work. I grew in the inner-city neighborhood of Jamaica, NY. I knew at an early age I wanted more for myself and others in my community, which lead me to the field of social work.

Q: How long have you been working at YSI and in what programs?

I have been a member of the YSI team for 11 months. I started off as a Youth Care Worker then after few months got I promoted to the RHY program as an Outreach Worker.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges faced by you working in this program?

The biggest challenge I faced with this program was learning about the youth of Philadelphia and their struggles with housing instability, which leads to them being homeless on the street. The challenge is finding them safe places to call home, especially when the city has limited resources for youth that are not in the DHS system.

Q: What do you do to overcome these challenges?

I stay focused and I collaborate with other programs that can assist me with finding the proper resources for my clients. I maintain and build promising partnerships with them that can be used in the future.

Q: What is one of your favorite success stories during your time at YSI?

A young lady who was residing at YES recently motivated me to believe in myself and the work that I am doing. She was kicked out of her home for being a Lesbian, which was something that was frowned upon in her Muslim family and community. The young woman was sleeping parks outside just at the start of winter. Despite these setbacks, she had a vision for herself and still manage to attend school and work two jobs. I, with the help of the rest of the YES team, was able to assist her find stable housing so that she could focus on accomplishing her goals.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working in this program and at YSI?

I enjoy the element of surprise because I never get the same day twice in this program.