Since joining YouthConnect in 2013, Diana Phillips, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), has established herself as a dedicated advocate for youths in her own hometown.
YouthConnect is BGCB’s advocacy and intervention program that helps the most at-risk young people make positive life choices through trusting relationships with skilled and compassionate social workers, such as Diana. Get to know her and YouthConnect in this month’s BGCB Employee Spotlight.
Hometown: Boston, MA
Favorite Food: Buffalo cauliflower
Favorite Movie: “Harlem Nights”
Last Book You Read: I Tried to Change So You Didn’t Have To by Loni Love
Top Weekend Activity: Relaxing and doing nothing other than prioritizing my Amazon purchases
Favorite Quote: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” — Maya Angelou
In Her Own Words:
What has your path to your current role at BGCB looked like?
I started working at YouthConnect in February 2013, and was assigned to the B-2 Roxbury Police Station. I loved that I started my YouthConnect career in the community that I grew up in because my experiences growing up in Roxbury are what lead me to the social work field. I was at B-2 for a year when I transferred to the School Police Unit (SPU). During this transition, I began to shift my focus from a community lens to a city-wide approach and deepened my understanding of trends within the school system.
Later that year, I also began to supervise a Master of Social Work (MSW) student. Supervising interns taught me so many skills that I was able to translate into my own work with clients and families. I also became a better advocate within the program and was given more opportunities to attend community meetings on behalf of YouthConnect, as well as to conduct workshops with community providers on topics such as gangs, community violence, and working collaboratively with police officers.
In 2018, I was promoted to Lead Social Worker while still assigned to the School Police Unit. During this time I still was able to directly work with young people and supervise MSW interns, but also began providing training and supervision to new YouthConnect social workers. In 2019, I was promoted to Senior Social Worker and transitioned out of the School Police Unit and became a member of YouthConnect’s management team. I look forward to what my future at YouthConnect holds and I know that I will continue to learn and grow.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job at YouthConnect is working with a population of youth that we serve. In my community, I know that growing up I had the potential to become a YouthConnect client had it not been for the many adults that were in my life that mentored me and kept me focused on the potential they saw in me. I look where I am in my life and where so many people I grew up with are, and I can’t help but be grateful for those adults who put so much love and attention into me throughout my life. I love that I can now be an adult that holds the potential and hope for my clients, and that I have the opportunity to work with so many young people and their families that others have written off; I get to experience them in ways many will never see.
I also love the flexibility we have at YouthConnect to truly meet clients where they are at, whether that means at home, school, in the community, or the Department of Youth Services. I’m still in awe that families agree to work with us during the worst times in their lives and are generally so grateful for the support. Families have a choice to work with YouthConnect, and I love that people have the opportunity to choose or decline the support. The program’s door is always open should they need assistance in the future.
What do you like most about YouthConnect and BGCB?
I love working with so many amazing people. I have never had work experience similar to the time that I have spent at YouthConnect. I have worked with so many people that are genuinely concerned about my well-being and professional growth. Very early on in my time at YouthConnect, I knew this was a special place when my supervisor tried to convince me that I had so much to give to others and that I should take on the role of supervising interns. I tried to convince her that I was not ready for the responsibility, but I have never been happier to have been so wrong.
I love that I am surrounded by so many people that can celebrate my successes but also hold me up when I need the strength to support families through challenging times. I will always be grateful to YouthConnect for connecting me to so many lifelong friendships.
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.