20 under 40: Willa Seybolt commits to the hardest aspects of helping youth | SteamboatToday.com

20 under 40: Willa Seybolt commits to the hardest aspects of helping youth

Willa Seybolt
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Caring for others is a beautiful thing, but in Willa Seybolt’s line of work, it can be gritty. 

Described as a kind and empathetic listener, Seybolt is in the process of becoming a forensic interviewer for children during which she’ll interview children who are either witnesses to or survivors of crime. 

“It’s meant to gather data, but it’s also done in their best interest so that they don’t have to tell the story over and over,” Seybolt said. 

The 29-year-old has worked at Partners in Routt County for a number of years, first as a mentor and now as a case manager. In rural communities especially, access to professional mentors can be inconsistent for youth and according to Seybolt, those in Routt County seeking mentors are often put on a waitlist.  

Since April 2020, Seybolt has been a mentor to a young girl. They go hiking, do yoga, get their nails done, and eat at their favorite restaurants. Seybolt believes mentorship enhances both long-term behavioral health and long-term physical health. 

“Mentoring also can be very positive and lovely, and it mostly is,” Seybolt said. “Sometimes, you’re supporting kids through hard times as well and it’s challenging but very rewarding.”

Seybolt is impressed by the amount of resiliency she encounters in young adults, and strives to amplify that characteristic in children.

If you go

What: 2022 20 Under 40 Celebration

When: 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1

Where: Snow Bowl Steamboat, 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza

Tickets: steamboatpilot.com/20under40

“The number one way to build resiliency is by having a trusted adult,” Seybolt said. “So, that’s how we do mentoring, because the science behind it is really interesting and it’s proven to have these really positive learning outcomes. Yeah, and it’s fun.”

Seybolt graduated college in Washington D.C., and shortly thereafter, she recalls seeing all her friends getting professional jobs in the area, but for Seybolt, things just didn’t feel right. 

So, she packed up her Honda Civic and moved out to Steamboat Springs. Her first winter driving that Civic around the snow-packed streets of Steamboat was like commuting to work down a black diamond ski run. 

Seybolt, a lover of the outdoors, first experienced Steamboat Springs while visiting her cousin as a teenager and said at that time, she perceived Steamboat mostly as a ski resort town.  

As an adult, however, she said she’s developed a greater appreciation for the art galleries in town, the awesome library and the abundance of nonprofit and volunteer opportunities. For Seybolt, volunteer work is an opportunity for people to connect with their community. 

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