Position: Clinical Intervention Specialist at Achieve Academy
What led you to your current position? I worked as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism after I graduated with my Bachelors. I loved working with young children but felt overwhelmed and under-trained when it came to working with their families. It was clear that they were struggling and needed support, and I slowly came to realize that I needed to treat the family as a whole in order to see sustainable growth in the children. It was after going to school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist that I came across the All-In! Partnership program, and I saw immediately that it’s values aligned with mine.
Fun Fact/Quote: I use knitting as self-care EXCEPT for a 4 month period from March to June where I take part in an international speed sock-knitting competition called Sock Madness. The past few years I’ve placed around 40th out of thousands of knitters all over the world. It’s my favorite time of year!
What does your average day look like? I walk to Achieve from Fruitvale BART and sometimes stop along the way to get a tamal or champurrado from my favorite street vendor. A lot of the students I work with struggle to transition from home to school, so I start my days checking in with them, making sure they’ve had breakfast, addressing any restorative justice needs from the playground before school, and giving them a morning hug or pep talk. I pull students for individual counseling until around lunchtime, where I start my lunchtime social skills groups. One of my favorite parts of this work is being able to support students in making connections and healthy friendships. Sprinkle in some consultation, meetings and supervision and that’s my day!
Why do you do this work? I do this work for altruistic and selfish reasons. I do believe that quality mental health treatment is systemically unavailable to people who are black, brown or living under the poverty line, and I try really hard to use my privilege to push against that norm and be the best therapist I can. On the other hand, I do this work because it fills a part of me that really loves to care for others, play with others, and be silly.