Tiffany & Travis Claywell, President & Co-Founder

Tiffany has had a passion for helping families in crisis as long as anyone can remember. At the age of 13, she organized her first fundraiser--a 3 on 3 basketball tournament in her hometown of Woodland Park, CO to benefit survivors of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing. Tiffany continued to hone her advocacy for others from that point forward. Tiffany gave away her first car to a single mother when she was 16 and began advocating and working with children & youth at the age of 19. While on a mission trip to Russia, Tiffany’s heart was captured by the children in the orphanages. She took that passion back with her to the United States where she earned a bachelor's degree in counseling while mentoring young people at a therapeutic boarding school in Richmond, IN, where she also met her husband and would be invited to return as the Residential Director--a position she held for 3-1/2 years from 2008-2011. Between earning her degree and returning as the Residential Director, Tiffany worked at Bonnie Brae School for Boys--a “high level of care” residential treatment center in New Jersey. During her time at Bonnie Brae she was able to interact throughout the direct care, educational, logistics, and development departments and received much training & experience in working with violent offenders and substance dependent adolescents. Tiffany founded Awakening Youth in 2011 alongside her husband, Travis. After living in the home at Awakening Youth and serving as the Director of Residence and Families for 4 years, they restructured the organization and Tiffany now serves as the President. As President of Awakening Youth, 

Tiffany advocates for the needs of foster & adopted children lost in the mental health community; as well as the unique challenges that face single parents of all financial and social backgrounds. She views these as the modern day widows and orphans. Tiffany’s journey has taken her across the American continents, and throughout Europe, Japan, & Australia where she has encountered thousands of individuals who come to learn about her passion for restoring children and families.

Taylor Carvajal, Dean of Students

Taylor is from Greenville, South Carolina. In 2011 she was married to Mikey, and together they share an exemplary marriage. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 2010 from North Greenville University and went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Converse College in 2011. She has experience teaching students from preschool through high school, in general and special education settings. Taylor is passionate about seeing students obtain academic goals that integrate into a holistic set of life-skills they will need as successful adults. Taylor has always been passionate about teaching & education. So, she came to Awakening Youth to find a career that valued a relational academic approach. As Dean of Students, Taylor is able to meet the academic needs of students, as well as their emotional, social, extracurricular, and spiritual needs while being an interactive part of their lives. With an entire picture of the student and family, Taylor is able to curate and direct each student’s academic path to guide them in attaining the motivating vision for their life while balancing reasonable expectations, dynamic faith, challenging goals, and self-care. Taylor has been involved in missions work and has significant travel experience across the U.S. with Awakening Youth as well as with entertainment professionals.

Emily Horstman, Director of Residence and Families

Emily began serving at Awakening Youth in August of 2016. Before coming to Awakening, she and her husband, Jeff served together as missionaries at Torch House Ministries in Terre Haute, IN. During her life of ministry and service to others, she has acted as a mentor to young women and families, provided marital counseling services, and engaged in leadership of music & prayer ministry. Apart from her ministry & leadership experience, she brings with her decades of residential & family care expertise; having received intense training in the foster care system, she was also the Director of Residences at a therapeutic boarding school in Richmond, IN prior to moving to Terre Haute in 2008. Also included in Emily’s 35+ years of service to children and families she has been a youth pastor; had interactive involvement in the social work community; sheltered children & single parents in crisis; and led missions to the poor in Haiti, Appalachia, & elsewhere. She has truly had a profound & personal impact on hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Emily is a talented pianist & singer who is passionately in love with the direction and teachings of Jesus. Through her music she creates an environment of majesty, power, gratitude, peace, love, meditation, solace, and reverence any time she is invited to do so. As director of children and families at Awakening Youth Emily oversees the entire residence, interacts on a daily basis with the students and families, maintains contact with former students, ensures the peaceful environment of the household, and oversees the care of each family as she directs a team of volunteer, part-time, and full time care guidance staff.


Awakening Youth utilizes a team of volunteers, part-time, and full time care guidance staff that have exhibited exemplary lifestyles and involvement in the community. Each care guidance staff member comes to us through direct relationship with one of our staff or a family we have served in the past. Awakening Youth never hires or recruits through job postings or classified advertisements. Everyone involved in the direct-care or oversight of our students has a longstanding relationship with our organization and contributes to the overall therapeutic goals of Awakening Youth.

As seen on




A documentary detailing the harrowing journey of Brian and Jennea Welch growing up together with their radical courage and unconventional faith. This coming-of-age story grapples with teenage depression, the quest for identity, and the hope of a father willing to do whatever it takes for his daughter. The story of this family is a unique display of how Awakening Youth can tailor a program to an individual and their family.


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