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HSD Employee Spotlight—Tara Vallimont

Black and White image of Tara Vallimont with her dog

What is your role at Seattle Human Services?

I am a Senior Youth Development Counselor with the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP). My job is to support every aspect of SYEP programming: including establishing program procedures, collaborating with internal and external partners, overseeing the daily operations of SYEP, assisting with recruitment and outreach of youth, and facilitating workshops and learning sessions for youth. I also work closely with the entire SYEP team, serving as an escalation point, resource, and support.

What made you want to work in human services?

The ‘human’ part. Being able to provide a service that another person can truly benefit from is extremely rewarding.

How has your job changed in recent years?

I feel like Human Services in general has adopted a more holistic paradigm, looking at the whole person—past, present, and future—to provide the resources needed. My particular role is ever changing, keeping up with the growth and experiences of young people, ensuring they receive a positive experience in their work with the City.

What do you love about your job?

Headshot of Tara Vallimont in a black T-shirt with the Seattle Youth Employment Program logo on it

Working with young people who are just beginning their career journey and seeing them discover and own their greatness is the best part of my work. One example is this summer, I got a call from a past participant, letting me know she was not applying to SYEP in 2023 because she was able to use her natural talents plus the skills she learned in SYEP to obtain a Pharmacy Technician position. She checks in regularly and has been able to reach a major goal – buying a car. We check in from time to time and I’m excited to see how she goes about reaching her next goal of moving into her own place!

How do you contribute to HSD’s overarching goals related to racial equity?

Both with my colleagues at HSD and the youth we serve, I strive to intentionally lift up the voices of our BIPOC and LGBTQ+ young adults. I participate in our department’s Change Team as I am able, and I am a very strong advocate for racial equity in our employment and service practices.

Headshot of Tara Vallimont

What motivates you or keeps you going?

My chosen family and friends are what keep me going. But what motivates me are the thoughts of several young adults I’ve had the privilege of working with who we have lost to gun violence, substance use, and suicide. They all impact me beyond belief and shape who I am as an HSD provider.

What’s one piece of advice for HSD newcomers or recent graduates in your field?

Self-care is the most important thing you can do for yourself as a human services worker. If you aren’t good at taking the time, MAKE the time. Put it on your calendar. Burnout is real and the more we can do to prevent it, the better. If you’re not taking care of yourself, how can you expect to take care of others?