Social Workers = Superheroes! Valorie Dassel, LCSW, LCAC, Youth First Social Worker at Mater Dei

Valorie Dassel, LCSW, LCAC, has been a Youth First Social Worker and a champion for her students for many years. Now as one of the organization’s dedicated veterans, she reminisced about the early days of Youth First when she originally started working as an intern.  Valorie said that before she even finished her shadowing process with Amy Steele, she knew was in the right place.

“I knew immediately I wanted to work at Youth First. I was hired and started at Lincoln Elementary. I worked there for one semester, then switched to Mater Dei in 2003. I always say I’m obsessed with teenagers. They are silly and fun and they embrace life. Mater Dei and Youth First were the perfect fit for me; I’ve been there ever since.”

Some of Valorie’s favorite moments on the job happen when her students take the time to write a note to express their feelings.

“Think of it, teenagers are always texting and posting. But when they stop and write a note, saying thank you, showing appreciation, or sharing with me that I have saved their life…it makes the work meaningful. It’s also a huge compliment when a parent calls in and requests I meet with their child because another parent told them I helped their child. That means another parent is willing to share their child went through something difficult. You know that’s hard to do. They must believe in the service.”

While working at Youth First has allowed Valorie to enrich the lives of countless students over the years, it has also given Valorie the opportunity to truly embrace her calling.

 “Youth First allows me to balance my career and my personal life. My job is perfect as a mother for my family because it aligns with the school calendar, so I’m always available to my family. Most importantly, my job is a good match for my values and ethics. I truly believe I am living out my values and ethics daily. The work I do is God-focused and centered on helping others. I have no doubt I am called to do this work. My life is full thanks to Youth First. Sure, sometimes my job can drain my emotional bank. Yet other times my job is making the deposits. It’s a balance. I have gained an appreciation for the “whole self” and I will always give credit to Youth First for my positive self-view.”