Hawks to Watch: Chris McDonald, Youth Treatment Counselor

Chris McDonald, Youth Treatment Counselor at Denver Children’s Home, Relief Treatment Supervisor and part time Program Assistant for Easter Seals

Age: 24

KU Degree: African American Studies (2014), Minor in Applied Behavioral Science

Why he’s a Hawk to Watch:

Chris has a passion for giving back to his community in return for the opportunities he’s had. He works with youth, some of them coming from difficult backgrounds. He credits his time at KU as a turning point that propelled him into his career and prepared him to jump into his work.

Sidebar button template 2016 2.0_smallerWhat do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement is working with the youth at Denver Children’s Home. Youth live in the dorms there. Some are there temporarily due to behavior or other issues that causes them to be placed out of their homes. Some come from very difficult backgrounds. I have developed an excellent rapport with staff and students there. My biggest achievement is that after one year, new staff are put with me to train and I have been asked to begin training as a supervisor. Because of this experience, I have grown professionally and spiritually.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

I really enjoy my work, but the nature of the work can sometimes be difficult. We have had students try to run away. Sometimes students may attack staff at times if they are upset about something. Learning how to handle your emotions is important in this work. I have had great training and I rely on that during those times.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

One of my passions in my spare time is music. I am a drummer and I play at my church and other gigs. I hope to expand this and travel playing for different artists.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

I would tell my 18 year old self to not take anything for granted. Don’t be afraid to fail and keep pushing forward toward my dreams.

What’s your best career pro-tip?

My best tip would be to never give up and look for ways to create positives in negative situations.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

After I clock out, I enjoy both playing and watching sports, especially KU basketball games! Also, I enjoy playing the drums, listening to music. I am also a very spiritual person. I enjoy quiet time to pray and focus.

What is a fun fact about you that no one knows?

I enjoyed meeting Bishop Desmond Tutu during a PeaceJam conference in high school. He was very inspiring.