Where did you grow up?
Who is your role model?
Where do you live now?
What's your theme song?
Like the World is Going to End by Ben Rector.
Karli researched sexual violence in college and has always loved working with teens, so when she found a job that aligned with these interests, it seemed like an opportunity she couldn’t miss. She began working at Wichita Children’s Home as a mentor coordinator for the youth mentoring program, and recently became the survivor after care program coordinator. She’s also working to obtain her master’s degree in social work.
In her most recent role, Karli focuses on offering after care services that continue to support youth after they leave Wichita Children’s Home. While they are there, teenage girls who have been identified as victims of human trafficking can heal from their trauma in a safe space. They are provided with services including, but not limited to, therapy, life skills training, education opportunities and mentoring programs.
When they leave, Karli helps connect them to a network of services in the community, such as resource families to help them as they transition from the foster care system into society. “Every day I get to help girls heal from their trauma, begin to rediscover who they are and dream about who and what they want to become someday,” Karli shared.
As you can imagine, Karli has some hard days at work hearing the stories of these young women. She stays positive and motivated by leaning on her strong support system at home. Karli also traveled to Thailand on a mission trip. Her team consisted of four other women and they served in Thai schools and juvenile prisons, focusing on building relationships. They were able to share encouragement, laughs and authentic compassion with all the people they encountered.
Overall, Karli loves the work she does and helping others. She has always wanted to help people, and after she completes her master’s, she will work to become a licensed clinical social worker. This would allow her to council clients. Ideally, she wants to council youth in the foster case system or adopted children.
Why do you love what you do?
Every day I get to help girls heal from their trauma, begin to rediscover who they are and dream about who and what they want to become someday. What’s not to love about that? Plus, my boss rocks.
How did you discover your passion for your job?
I truly feel like this job fell into my life during a time when I was searching for direction. My research at Kansas State was on the topic of sexual violence and I have always loved working with teens, so when I found a job opening that aligned with both of these interests, it seemed like an opportunity too perfect to pass up. The passion for my work developed after spending time with the youth I work with. Their strength inspires me daily.
How do you define success?
Having confidence in your own self-worth.
What motivates you?
My faith in Christ motivates me to make a difference in the world. My dad motivates me to work hard.
What do you do in your role at Wichita Children’s Home?
I work in an undisclosed location that houses teenage girls who have been identified as victims of human trafficking. It is a safe home environment where they can begin to heal from their trauma. The youth are provided with a variety of services including, but not limited to therapy, live skills training, the opportunity to continue their education, participate in mentoring programs and receive after-care services. My role focuses on offering after care services that continue to support youth after they leave our care. I connect our youth with a network of services in the community, including resource families to walk alongside them as they transition from the foster care system into society.
Your job can’t be easy. How do you cope with the difficult days?
I have a silly personality. I’m always making dumb jokes with my coworkers, which helps to keep the mood light. At the end of a hard day, I have an incredible support system at home to lean on. My faith keeps my grounded. I trust that He holds their futures, not myself.
The person who nominated you mentioned that you just returned from a mission in Thailand. Can you tell me more about that trip? What did you do while you were there?
While in Thailand, I served alongside an organization called MB Mission, soon to be called “Multiply.” Our team was comprised of five women. With a smaller team, we were able to experience Thailand and its people on a personal level. Missionaries hosted us along the way, exposing us to their customs and daily life experiences. When most people think of mission trips, they wonder what did the team do while they were there. Did they build a church? A school? Did they plant a garden? While we did serve in the Thai schools and juvenile prisons, our main focus was on relationships, both with the Thai people and the missionaries stationed there. Authentic relationships are the key to sharing one’s faith. We were able to share encouragement and laughs with the missionaries and their children. Missionaries spend so much of their time selflessly pouring out that it is important for them to be loved on as well.
This or That
Early Bird or Night Owl
Facebook or Instagram
Podcasts or Audiobooks
Left Brain or Right Brain
Heels or Flats
Did you learn anything about yourself on that trip that might benefit you in your career?
I learned to trust myself in new and uncomfortable environments. I learned to be grateful for the everyday conveniences I frequently take for granted. I learned to live each day with joy and intentionality, mimicking the behaviors of those I met. This trip completely altered my perspective of the world. After traveling to the other side of the world, I realized we really aren’t all that different from our Thai friends. It also gave me a global perspective of the issue of human trafficking.
Why is it important to you to help others?
I’m not sure. It’s something that has always been on my heart. It’s difficult to describe the urge I feel to love others with what I have. I have been blessed beyond all measure and it feels selfish to not to share some of myself with others.
Can you tell me more about your manuscript in preparation? Do you have an expected publish date?
I was very involved in research while I was an undergraduate student at Kansas State. I learned an insane amount from my academic mentor, Amanda Martens. Together we collaborated on research ideas, studies and manuscripts. This manuscript has been submitted to a variety of journals for publication. As far as I know, we are still currently waiting to hear back about its acceptance or denial.
What do you hope to do after completing your master’s program?
After earning my master’s in social work. I would like to work towards becoming licensed clinical social worker. This would allow me to council clients. I would like to council youth in the foster care system or adopted youth.
How do you balance a master’s program and a job?
Time management is key. It’s a standard, boring answer, but it is true. I designate specific nights of the week for completing my assignments and studying. The majority of my graduate assignments are readings. It’s tough, but I’m managing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I know all this may make me sound like I have my life together, but I’m just a 22- (almost 23-) year-old trying to figure it out what post-grad life looks like. I’m constantly flying by the seat of my pants and hoping for the best. I work hard and love harder.