After Victoria Patti graduated from Jamestown High School, she was not entirely sure what she wanted to do next.
“I changed my mind a couple of times when I was first starting out (in college),” she said. “Sometimes it takes a couple of internships or life experiences to teach us about our passions and what we are good at.”
While attending Jamestown Community College and then the State University of New York at Fredonia, Victoria gained insight into a career in social work through internships with Chautauqua Tapestry, Lutheran and Christ First Methodist Church’s Adult Day Care program.
“I think in social work, or the human services field, you have to have an open mind,” Victoria said. “It is so important to understand that everyone has a story, (you need to) listen to that story and embrace that person for who they are.”
In 2014, Victoria received her Master of Science in social administration with a concentration in child, youth and family social work from Case Western Reserve University.
“Since receiving my Master’s degree, I have been able to take on a new role to provide early screenings to young children to preventatively look at mental health risk factors,” she said.
Currently, Victoria works as an Early Identification and Recognition Screening Specialist with the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.
“I love my job because not only do I get to work with individuals, but I get to bring agencies and organizations together to look at how we talk about and approach mental health in our community,” Patti said.
Victoria is also the co-coordinator for The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which focuses on awareness, education and other efforts to prevent suicide in Chautauqua County.
“I think over the years, it has been become clear to me that our community has what it takes to make a difference,” she said. “ It has been amazing to see so many service providers and community members come together to work on projects, trainings and provide support to those who need it most.”
This feature is part of a series focusing on residents who have received scholarships from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and have moved back to or remained in, the area to live and work. If you, or someone you know, received a scholarship from the Community Foundation and would like to be featured, contact Sarah Shelters at 661-3390 or email@example.com.
The Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2016-17 school year. To qualify, students must have graduated from a Chautauqua County high school. Scholarships are offered to undergraduate and graduate students studying a variety of subjects and vocations at two-year or four-year colleges or universities.