Taylor began her role as guidance counselor in the fall of 2015. While considering school counseling during undergraduate studies, she pursued a psychology degree and a career in social work. Prior to working in Ocean Beach School District (OBSD), Taylor worked in the behavioral health wing of Harborview Medical Center ER and as a counselor at Naselle Youth Camp.
In 2001 Taylor began coaching Track and Cross Country in OBSD, and began working in 2006 as the district’s Prevention Interventionist. During that time she pursued and received her Master’s in School Counseling. When she first heard about WellSpring, it tied in well with her work on preventing youth drug and alcohol use.
One big benefit Taylor has seen is a shift in school culture where underage drinking is not as visible or public. “There’s benefits for youth in [drinking] not being the norm.”
In large part Taylor contributes this shift in culture to the increase of mental health and treatment services in the school. These services are due to the district’s partnerships with Willapa Behavioral Health and True North, which were facilitated by WellSpring.
As the district’s prevention interventionist, Taylor says her favorite part of her job was being the advisor for Youth Action Klub (YAK), IHS’s prevention club, and taking students to the national conferences for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). It was at CADCA that prevention truly clicked for Taylor. CADCA’s youth program stands by the motto “Youth-Lead; Adult-Guided.”
“That’s where it cemented for me,” says Taylor, “that youth can and should be doing the advanced work.”
When looking back on her present and past positions, Taylor sites a love for her students: “Teens are my favorite people. They’re so funny and have this great energy. They have their own thoughts and opinions, and are still willing to accept guidance. I just enjoy them.”
She describes school counseling as the dream job she’s been working towards for fifteen years.
“It’s about helping youth with future planning in college or career, and finding out what they’re passionate about,” says Taylor. “You find out what they want to do with their lives and help them figure out the steps to make it real.”