Meet YES Counselor Anna Kim
Anna Kim has only been with YES since February of 2018, but she has already found Youth and Family Counseling to be a rewarding experience. Anna started her career in nonprofits working as a legal aid in California. During this time, Anna also volunteered with survivors of sex trafficking at a safe house in Rosarito, Mexico, where she worked with girls ages nine to 18. She knew the work was going to be difficult and was unsure what it would be like to work with girls who had experienced significant trauma. Once there, she was happy to learn that these girls all had talent, passions, and quirks, just like any girl, and that all they wanted to do was play and be involved in their community.
“Working with the girls at the safe house in Mexico, I felt like I got to see hope in different capacities and I found that to be an incredible, humbling experience,” said Anna.
Seeing their resilience and hope, despite their trauma, was the moment Anna was inspired to pursue a career in clinical work, beginning with a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington.
It’s not surprising, then, that Anna’s favorite part of being a Youth and Family Counselor at YES is the hope for recovery from trauma. She finds it a great honor to have the opportunity to work alongside young people, support them through their issues, and inspire hope for their future. While it can be challenging to be exposed to other people’s trauma, Anna is a huge believer in self-care. “We’re tasked with taking care of others’ mental health, so I find it very important to take care of myself in order to show up better for my clients.”
Anna was drawn to working with YES through the vision and mission of the organization. She appreciates YES’ holistic and collaborative approach to addressing the mental health needs of young people and integrating mental health services into local schools and the community.
We asked Anna what advice she’d like to share with students entering their school year, and she replied; “Entering a new school year can be hard, but I encourage students to focus on long-term goals. Don’t sweat the little things; most of them won’t even matter in a year or two.”