Jessica Halling strives to connect with youth on a fundamental level in her role as program director for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a position she assumed in November 2017.
“I once felt like I was a victim of the system, a stack of mental diagnoses, police reports and hospital visits — instead of a victim of domestic violence, human sex trafficking and homelessness,” said Halling, who decided to tell her story to help others in vulnerable situations find the courage to continue. “I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to advocating for those who are hurting in our community and use my experiences as a medium to champion change.”
To this end, Halling received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from UNLV and a master’s degree in social work from USC, launching her career at Acelero Learning Head Start. She then joined the Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning as an educator and information officer for the Nevada Silver State Stars QRIS prior to assuming her current position with St. Jude’s, where she is responsible for oversight of operations for the Boulder City campus.
“I work with numerous community agencies and oversee my department’s budget, data collection, programming, reporting, grants, licensing and compliance,” said Halling, who has created new policies and procedures to have a more standardized approach to operations. “I have also leveraged personal experience to develop programs. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is working to build a healing center with homes for child victims of sex trafficking.”
Halling is on advisory boards for the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada and Power On through Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.