By Meg Dickens
Vanessa Main, age 34, seems to be the definition of hardworking. Main is a mother, an excellent student, and a full-time worker. She plans to use her experience in behavioral health and education to go into a career in social work. Her children and the children she has seen in need motivate her to keep pushing forward.
“I cried so much,” Main described her reaction to making the Dean’s list. “I was so happy with myself. I never thought I could do something like this. I was overwhelmed with emotion.”
Main grew up in Pleasant Valley here in Johnson County but currently lives in Trade, TN. Her previous work at Mountain Youth Academy, a youth mental health clinic in Mountain City, triggered Main’s path to social work. She is currently enrolled at King University and about to start the Social Work program. Main is already certified as a QPR Gatekeeper, which is a program meant for many professions, including health care that focuses on reducing suicidal behaviors and suicide prevention.
“The kids I worked with had horrible pasts,” Main explained. “I really want to focus on finding a career where I can help these kids. I’m very passionate about helping kids.”
One thing Main wishes she could improve is her schedule. Between her job at High Country Recovery in Boone and pursuance of a Bachelors Degree at King, she does not have a lot of time to spend with her family. Main has a 13-year-old daughter, 2-year-old twin sons, and a 1-year-old son. She works the opposite shift to her fiancé, who watches the children while she is at work. The current pandemic and public schools’ jump to distance learning has been another obstacle.
“I have to remember that I’m doing this for them,” Main said while talking about her busy schedule. “I love them and want to make them proud.”
In the end, it all comes down to family, both in the literal and figurative sense. Main leans on her family, which provides “a great support system.” Her fiancé and soon to be mother-in-law help out around the house, her father cheers her on from the sidelines, and her work family does what they can to make the process easier.