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Director announced, will help develop plans for new Youth Recovery Center

Kristin Vernon

When Kristin Vernon sat down to have a conversation about her new role as director of the Youth Recovery Center (YRC), she passed along a message from her mother.


“My mom wanted to tell everyone that the job description was written just for me,” Kristin said with a laugh.


“She was like this is built for you, and I had the same feeling when I read it,” Kristin said.


Others who were involved in the hiring process agreed  — Kristin was the right person for the job.


“Kristin has a wealth of experience specific to supporting families and youth navigating crisis in Douglas County,” said Bert Nash Center Senior Director of Crisis Services Ryan Sztorch. “Kristin’s strengths and passion for supporting youth in crisis and systemic integration is needed as we strive to fill a resource void with our Youth Recovery Center. I am confident that Kristin can help us to build and lead our vision toward better meeting the needs of youth right here in Douglas County.”


Even though the opening of the YRC is a ways off — projected for 2026 — Kristin, along with the Bert Nash Center’s Senior Director of Crisis Services and other community partners, will be working to develop programming for the YRC, planned for the space at 3500 Clinton Place.

Bert Nash Center received a Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services grant to go toward hiring a director for the YRC.


Kristin, who is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker, has extensive experience in program building as well as working with youth and families in group homes, school settings and for a private practice, in addition to 18 years as a volunteer and staff member at HeadQuarters Kansas. The YRC will serve youth ages 6-17.


“I have learned a lot about leadership and program building, and the YRC is all about program building at the beginning, which is something that I love to do,” Kristin said. “Kids and adults are different, and so being able to serve kids in a space that is meant just for them is important. This will be a good addition for youth and families.”


The YRC is an important and missing piece in the community’s new youth crisis continuum of care.


“I’ve been so impressed with the crisis care continuum in Douglas County and how it has unfolded. I think this is an important role that we will be able to fill,” Kristin said. “It’s a huge need in the community, and I’m excited to be part of that.”



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