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May 22, 2024

Staff Spotlight: Katelynn

Meet Katelynn, a Youth Specialist at our Emergency Shelter! 

Katelynn’s CEDARS journey began in 2019 when she accepted a part-time position as a Relief Youth Specialist in the Shelter. A couple years later, she chose to join the team full-time after developing a love for the kids she works with.  

“Shelter is almost like a second home to me,” Katelynn said. “I enjoy those that I work with, both staff and youth, and can honestly say I’ve never had a boring day while in Shelter!” 

As a Youth Specialist, Katelynn works closely with teenagers that come to CEDARS Shelter. Often these kids are awaiting other placement options or needing a break from a tough home situation. Katelynn and her team work to give each kid the individualized care they need. This care might look like motivation to finish school, identifying coping skills to work through trauma responses, or even just providing a friendly face to someone that hasn’t seen one in a while. In addition to her work in Shelter, Katelynn has also joined CEDARS Inclusion and Diversity Committee, and she appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the continuing improvement of our organization’s culture. 

“Being a part of Shelter is like being a part of a (very) large family,” Katelynn shared. “Each staff member is here because they care and want to make a difference in someone’s life. I love that we all have so many different skills that we bring to the table as we do our best to essentially act as parents, friends, and caregivers to all the kids that enter this building. We may go through some difficult times as we try to navigate and understand the needs of the kids, but we always show up!” 

Born and raised in Lincoln, Katelynn is the second youngest of six kids. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, though her alone time is often spent with a book or curling up for a nap. One of her favorite pastimes is cooking, and Katelynn enjoys experimenting with cuisine from different cultures. She also credits her parents for gifting her with a humorous spirit and compassion for others. 

“My favorite days at CEDARS are when I get to hear from a past client. Kids who were placed in Shelter and then moved on to other placements, independent living, or back home with family often call to see how staff are doing. It makes me so happy to hear from them again and know that they are doing well,” said Katelynn. “Recently, a staff member and I met with a former client for lunch. He had so many positive things to share about how his life is going now, and he could not wait to show us his car now that he has a driver’s license. Every time past clients stop by just to say ‘hi’ because they were in the neighborhood, I am reminded of why I am here.” 

Thank you for believing in the kids we care for, Katelynn! 

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