Community Support Specialist Joins Library Staff

YOUNGSTOWN (For Release December 22, 2020) – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) has hired Jim Young as Community Support Specialist, a position that will enable the Library to better serve patrons with needs in social service and mental health areas.  

Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek notes, “We are pleased to have someone so well qualified on staff to connect people needing social services with community resources that may best be able to help. We recognize that many people in our community are struggling with issues beyond library service expertise, such as homelessness, addictions, depression and more. Mr. Young comes to the Library with an abundance of experience and will be available link our patrons to the type of help they need.”

Mr. Young holds a master’s degree in social work from Youngstown State University and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. He has been a licensed independent social worker since 2018.  

His extensive experience includes working for Youth Intensive Services as Clinical Director of Residential Treatment / Therapist; for Grace Hospice as a Medical Social Worker – Clinical Therapist; for PsyCare as IFAST Therapist (Integrative Family Systems Treatment); for Prime Healthcare as a Medical Social Worker – PRN; and at the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services as Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist. 

Mr. Young said, “I have a very diverse background and my social work experience gave me quite a few contacts in Mahoning County. I thought the Library would be a perfect fit for me. I see my principal role as acting as a link between our patrons and the community resources they may not know about.” 

A love of animals combines with his work in social services, as Mr. Young has two licensed therapy dogs, Katie and Kirby, both Labradors. “I started researching therapy dogs when I was in grad school at Youngstown State University. I knew the benefits of people having service animals and I thought it would be unique to provide that type of intense therapy using dogs. It is a relatively new field but is growing in popularity because of the immense benefits.” 

He noted that Katie and Kirby have helped with clients who may have been fearful or had issues expressing themselves. For example, he was working with a child who was unable to open up about trauma in his life. With the permission of the child’s mother, Mr. Young introduced this young man to Kirby and found that he started opening up to Kirby. “I learned that therapy dogs open doors,” he said.

Patrons who would like to talk with Mr. Young can contact the Library at 330-744-8636 or talk with a librarian, who will connect them.  He is ready and eager to work with people: “I want to be busy. I want to help people, so come and see me.” 

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