In the Employee Spotlight we aim to recognize a Youth Service, Inc. employee making an impact in the communities we serve. Vanessa Ingram works in the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program at Youth Emergency Service (YES).

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

I’m from the greater Philadelphia area and hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in psychology. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in clinical psychology at Eastern University. Most of my professional career has been in direct care, working with youth and families in areas such as domestic violence and child welfare. I also serve as a doula to expecting parents. In advocacy work, I utilize my art to make an impact through poetry and music.

Q: How long have you been working at YSI in the RHY program?

I began my journey with YSI in 2010 at the Locust Street group home which was the first mother and baby group placement in Philadelphia. I have been working in the RHY program for five years.

Q: Why do you think the RHY program is important?

RHY is important because it serves as a safety net youth and focuses on preventing youth from entering the child welfare system when at all possible.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at YSI in the RHY program?

My favorite part about working in the RHY program is being able to engage youth about their options and advocacy, advocacy, advocacy! I enjoy giving people an opportunity to use their voice. We expect adults to be functional and appropriate, but we know full well that is not always the case. RHY programs protect children by providing a safe haven and moving them into a direction where their voice can be heard.

RHY is a voluntary service for youth ages 12 to 17 who have run away from home or who are uncomfortable with their current living situation and need support. The program provides them with short-term emergency shelter and helps them work with their family to resolve conflicts through mediation, support for family reunification, and advocacy for youth. The program also offers resources for healthy relationships, education, and physical health. To learn more, please contact Tim Massaquoi at 215-787-0633, x1101.