Working as a Youth Guidance Specialist is often a thankless job but I love it. I have had the great pleasure of watching our boys grow in leaps and bounds. Our boys come to us broken and sometimes hopeless and it is my job to ensure that they all find their worth. I get to offer small gifts that haven’t always been present in their lives, gifts like a kind smile, a helping hand, or a warm embrace. I believe that we are called to love our neighbors. Love is something that these young men all too often lack. There are hard days. There are days when I feel like I’m not making a big difference. Then there are days when I look at where they are compared to where they started. The days when I get to have the honor of teaching a new skill to help them through life. Those are the days that make all of the hard days worth it. The days when I can see it all coming together and know that I help their healing process.

The relationships that we build set a foundation for their relationships in the future, helping them to know that there are good adults who care deeply about their well-being. I have watched relationships bud from unfamiliar and awkward to caring and nurturing. We are often just considered staff but I like to think that we are preparing them for family. I see the light in their eyes when they finally understand that these YGS who are tasked with my safety also care for my future. It is all ways a bittersweet moment when I watch one of my boys move down to the C Cottage. I know I will miss them but I also know just how hard they have worked for that. I have seen them struggle to break old habits and create new pathways. Watching them daily I am reminded that they are just kids who need a little help along the way.  I am honored and blessed to be a part of that healing process. I am proud to call them my boys.

Erica Norwood

White Fields Youth Guidance Specialist


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