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Brittany Hilton






2/20/19

Brittany Hilton graduated from NL in 2012. She received a bachelor’s degree in English with dual minors in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During her time at IUP, Hilton presented at a conference about the language and issues surrounding Domestic Violence in the NFL. She also worked at a domestic violence shelter, which, along with her family upbringing of adoptive siblings, sparked an interest in mental health/ human services. After graduating college (in 3 years, thanks to college credits she earned at NL), Hilton worked with Youth Advocate Programs Inc. (YAP) as a youth advocate and family support specialist, helping young girls and families who may have been involved with Child Protective Services and/or the Juvenile Justice system. In order to connect families with their communities, she engaged clients in community service, like making dog treats for the human society, helping with the local Glass Slipper event, and even picking up trash in local parks.

Hilton spent a short time working with individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, helping individuals discover their strengths and find employment. She then decided to return to YAP as a “Multi-Program Specialist,” continuing as a Youth Advocate as well as directing staff for individuals with disabilities. Hilton was involved with a program called “Girls’ Circle,” a weekly gathering where girls could learn about self-esteem, healthy relationships, respecting yourself and others, etc. She also participated in outreach to businesses and agencies in our area to grow YAP's workforce development program, and her efforts helped YAP's supported employment grow tremendously. Hilton has spearheaded several initiatives to help spread the awareness of disability inclusion in the workplace. Today, she helps students and adults learn their strengths and interests from work assessments and job trials, assists them in finding employment, and teaches on-the-job skills. She also co-facilitates "YAPWORX" classrooms in high schools to help students with varying disabilities learn job and social skills to help prepare them for the future.

Hilton currently resides with her husband and two dogs, Coda and Tolkien, in Palmyra, PA. She is the oldest of eight siblings and has a chocolate lab and a pit bull. She enjoys managing her husband’s progressive/ psychedelic rock band, Space Cult. In her free time, Hilton watches Chopped and enjoys cooking (but not the mess that comes with it). She spends much of her time researching and continuing the fight for disability rights/ awareness and women's rights. Hilton appreciates much about her time at NL, including “all the trips that we were able to go on, as well as all the electives. I truly enjoyed my high school experience and some of my best memories are from our trips like Washington DC, the Cloister House & Shady Maple, Environmental Science trips with Ms. Sowers, Costa Rica and more. The electives I took throughout high school helped me to learn my true interests. I owe my interest and strength in writing to Mr. Miller and my curiosity of Psychology and Sociology to Mr. Hess. The classes were great experience for college, fun, but also very rewarding. I also heard NL is now teaching ASL which is totally awesome! I am now starting to take ASL classes to further my career to help those who are deaf and/or have trouble communicating.” The following is Hilton’s advice for current NL students: Take advantage of what you have in the here and now. Reach out when you need help or are unsure of what your next steps may be. Four years seems like a long time, but it truly does go by so fast. Cherish the time you have with friends and teachers, and do follow your heart. Don't settle for something that doesn't make you happy. I went into college for English because I knew I loved and was good at writing. I had no clue I was going to end up taking as many Sociology courses as English courses, nor did I know I was going to end up in a job I love working in human services. Something I wish was said more when I was in school was that college may not be right for everyone; don't feel like you have to go to college. There are trade schools, community colleges, internships and other jobs that are looking for someone like you!

To learn more about Hilton’s work with YAP, follow these links:
http://www.yapinc.org/Media/ArticleID/344/YAP-Helps-Employers-Appreciate-Workers-Like-Bethany-who-have-Special-Skills-and-Needs
http://www.yapinc.org/RainManEffect


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