As a part-time worker at the Center for Child and Family Health in Durham, Kimberly Siefert spent much of her time helping children and families. The mental health service provides quality care for children that have dealt with trauma related to child abuse, neglect, and more. By implementing evidence-based interventions, the center also equips families to create safe and nurturing environments for their children before the onset of trauma occurs. Siefert developed a deep fondness and passion for working with children and families, which soon prompted her to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University to pursue her Masters in Family Life.
She later had the opportunity to work in Western North Carolina as a Family Services Manager for her local Early Head Start. The program serves infants up until age three and pregnant women by providing child development and family support services to low-income families. The Family Service Manager position required Siefert to supervise and coach Family Advocates, Home Visitors, and the Enrollment team who provided direct services to families. However, once the pandemic hit, Siefert engaged in deep reflection and realized her work was not bringing her the same joy and fulfillment she once felt at the Center for Child and Family Health. Her urge to begin working directly with families grew stronger and stronger every day.
She soon found a position working with the Children’s Home Society in Greensboro as a Healthy Steps Specialist. Her job allowed her to work alongside pediatric providers to offer guidance and support to parents during the first years of their child’s life. Siefert helps families navigate the role of parenting, informing them of how they can better adjust their life with their new child. Siefert explains that “The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical. What they see, experience, and feel during that time impact their entire life. To me, there is no greater reward than working with a family during this time frame.”
Kimberly looks back fondly on her time at NCSU. She explains that the graduate program’s rigorous academics thoroughly equipped her in her work life. By far, the most beneficial aspect of the program included the master’s capstone project, which allows students to design a project alongside faculty members or organization(s) that align with their professional goals. The life-long and indispensable relationships Siefert formed during her time at NCSU acted as continuous support systems throughout her journey to fulfill her passions. Siefert extends great gratitude towards Dr. Kim Allen, “the most incredible professor, mentor, and friend.” Dr. Allen served as an academic advisor to Kimberly and continuously shared her wisdom on balancing work and family life. She served as a constant reminder to Siefert to value her worth and supported her throughout her career.
As Siefert and her family transition to life in Greensboro, she hopes to continue making a difference in the lives of others. She explains that her “biggest goal continues to be doing all I can to make our community better for our children and equipping families and educators with the tools they need to do so.”