Previously, I was working at an outpatient youth clinic which led me to discover my passion working with kids and adolescents and their families. On some level, there was a sense of distance and lack of impact from the work I was doing and the youth’s lives. I found that the few times I was able to collaborate with the youth’s schools I had better outcomes in their overall progress towards their treatment plan goals. Through experience I came to witness the power of collaboration between mental health and academic support with the inclusion and expertise of caregivers for students. Now, I’m in a school-based position where I feel as though there is more support around students to help them access academic and community resources to help them thrive.
One of my favorite proverbs which fuels my work is “It takes a village to raise a child” – it’s a helpful reminder that by working together we can provide resources to youth and model kindness and respect to all.
I have swam in dark underwater caves off the coast of Mexico : )
What does your average day look like?
My average day consists of providing individual counseling for students, documenting services online, and attending behavior intervention meetings. I work at three different school campuses and the constant challenge is to stay organized and keep all of my materials on hand. I focus my energy on providing everyone I speak with a sense of mindfulness by providing them my full attention as much as possible. My ability to fluctuate between different spaces AND mind sets which helps keep me on my toes and means each day is different and exciting.
Why do you do this work?
The privilege of entering student and families’ lives to find ways to support and work with them towards a better future is an invaluable experience. Although it’s challenging work, at the end of my days I feel satisfied to know I am a part of the puzzle which is working towards peace, empathy building, healing and creating better futures for these children and families. I feel truly blessed to work with such resilient youth who often teach me important lessons about life and how to stay humble in my work. : )
What hope do you have for the future of All-In?
My hope for the All-In program is that it expands to every school in state of California. The framework and lens we use with the Unconditional Educational model is so helpful, especially for communities and cultures in which students are experiencing high levels of stress and trauma. I hope that school educators, parents and advocates for our youth can all rally behind an unconditional educational model and adapt it to their work with children so that everyone may experience all the support needed to thrive in schools. The healthier students are, the better they can access their education and reach their future goals!