Jase Elam Steps into Position as Youth Healing Team Lead

Shout out to Jase Elam, who was promoted to Youth Healing Team Lead in June, and hit the ground running. They came on board just as their supervisor, Kate Daugherty, stepped away briefly to attend Fellowship activities with the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity program.  Without Jase on board, Kate might not have been able to step away to do the Fellowship.

Jase, a former Youth Healing Team intern, was chosen for the role because of the many strengths they bring.  “They have an innate ability to present,” says Kate. “That’s a really important skill for the Youth Healing Team. They’re great at explaining particularly hard concepts like trauma and trauma-informed care.” Another key strength? “The ability to connect with other young people, and take the lead in terms of making sure that not only are they connecting with the people they are training, but making sure the rest of the team does as well.”

The Youth Healing Team Lead is a new position, created expressly to support the ongoing growth of one of Hopeworks’ core profit-making businesses.“Before we hired Jase, I was limited in how many training sessions I could offer, how many supervision sessions I could provide in a week—and that meant I could only hire so many young people,” says Kate. “Now, with two of us, we can double our trainings. Also, there always needs to be a staff member present with our young professionals when they give trainings,” says Kate. “We doubled our capacity there, too. Our goal is to do more trainings and hire more young people.”

Jase came almost to the end of their Hopeworks training before they learned about the Youth Healing Team. When they did, the sense of fit was palpable. “It was pretty much aligned with everything I had been doing the last seven years,” they said.

And those seven years were packed. Earlier in their career, Jase served in a leadership role for an LGBTQ organization. Volunteering as a young educator, they provided training designed to help other organizations better understand “what LGBTQ identities are, and how they, as an organization, can best serve their clients.” Jase moved on from there to another volunteer position, as a youth healer, with the Office of Behavioral Health in Delaware County, PA. “That was a collaboration of family and youth services, (such as juvenile justice, education, and foster care services.) Everyone was collaborating to provide the best quality of care to youth and families in the county. I was part of that, sharing my own personal experiences and also learning more about trauma-informed care, and what those processes are like. There, I did presentations for them where I talked about youth experiences and things like that.”

From there, Jase was encouraged to become a certified peer specialist “That’s someone who has lived experience with mental health, and uses that lived experience to work with folks,” they said. Jase worked as a peer support specialist at a specialized clinic for early intervention in psychosis. Their work was instrumental in helping youth who are in recovery live fulfilling lives and gain independence. Jase continued in that role for about 2 ½ years, until November 2019. 

By the time Jase found their way to Hopeworks, they had also created their own organization, Nebulous Healing. As Jase describes it on the group’s Facebook page, it is an “intentional peer support mission focused on helping people from all walks of life achieve and maintain their ideal wellness” Jase says they chose the name, Nebulous, in celebration of their own “brand of chaotic energy” and in recognition of the fact that healing is not a linear process. (At the time this was written, the website for Nebulous Healing was under reconstruction.) 

Nebulous Healing brought Jase into contact with Kayla Wilson, and the two partnered for a time on peer support work. Kayla introduced Jase to Hopeworks, and the rest is history. 

As Youth Healing Team Lead, Jase has much to contribute. Certainly, they will help grow the team. That’s a given. They also want to support Youth Healing Team members in finding niches where they can excel, such as Elise Vogue’s initiative to spread trauma-informed parenting. In time, Jase would also like to share with the team ideas they have about new ways to bring trauma-informed practices to bear on the culture inside Hopeworks. Jase hopes to incorporate direct support experience into their work on the Youth Healing Team and looks forward to partnering with the Youth Development Team to help young professionals thrive. As a young professional who has come up through the training, Jase is in a unique position to see what’s needed. That’s one of the benefits of hiring staff members from the internship pool. They have come to learn, and also to teach.

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