Reaching out to youth in need
All it took was an anatomy class for Caleb Nixon to decide that psychology was his calling.
“I got interested in human nature and how behavior can be explained by our biology and how our brain functions,” he says.
Nixon’s average day as a Coordinator of Youth Services takes him from meetings, where he collaborates with teen and community center staff, to simply hanging out with teens — building trust by listening and offering support.
Nixon is one of many YES staff members whose role takes them out into the community. He works at five locations across the Eastside: the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue’s “The Club” Teen Center/Teen Excellence Center (TXL), Crossroads Community Center, Old Fire House Teen Center, Eastside Terrace and Spiritwood Manor. Although working with different teams and teens at five sites may sound hectic, Nixon loves the variety.
Ask him about his favorite part of his role, and you’ll hear about the anxious, isolated teen who he counseled on how to build lasting friendships; providing struggling and homeless teens with referrals for shelters or additional counseling; and supporting kids in the foster care system with referrals to support groups. It’s a perfect fit for Nixon, whose goal has always been to work with youth and families in need.
“It’s really rewarding to see someone I’ve been working with interacting better, getting along with their family, or experiencing less anxiety,” he says.
Nixon will complete his master’s in counseling psychology at Northwest University next summer, followed by his doctorate in three years.