YFCS Alumna Undergoes Realization Amid Pandemic
As a part-time worker at the Center for Child and Family Health in Durham, North Carolina, Kimberly Siefert spent much of her time helping children and families. The mental health service provides quality care for children who have dealt with trauma related to child abuse, neglect, etc. 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 prompted her to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University to pursue a master’s degree 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 provides infants up to age three and pregnant women with child development and family support services. In this position, Siefert supervised and coached 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 every day.
Seifert soon began working with the Children’s Home Society in Greensboro, North Carolina, as a healthy steps specialist. She worked alongside pediatric providers offering guidance and support to parents during their children’s first years. She helped families navigate the role of parenting, informing them of how they can adjust their life with their new child. “The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical,” Seifert explains. “What they see, experience, and feel during that time impacts their entire life. To me, there is no greater reward than working with a family during this time.”
Seifert looks back fondly on her time at NC State. She explains that the graduate program’s rigorous academics thoroughly equipped her for her work. The most beneficial aspect of the program included the master’s capstone project, where students design a project alongside faculty members or organization(s) that aligns with their professional goals. The valuable relationships Siefert formed at NC State were continuous support systems throughout her journey. She extends great gratitude towards Kim Allen, whom she calls “the most incredible professor, mentor, and friend.” Allen served as an academic advisor to Seifert and continuously shared her wisdom on balancing work and family life. She also supported Siefert throughout her career and served as a constant reminder to Siefert to value her worth.
As Siefert and her family transition to life in Greensboro, she hopes to continue making a difference in the lives of others. 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.”