Category Archives: Staff
On this final Wednesday of National Adoption Awareness Month, we celebrate the opportunities we’ve had to partner for permanency this month and throughout the year so that more children are connected to safe, loving, and permanent homes. There are over 100,000 young people who wait an average of 2 years for the opportunity to be with their adoptive families. As many of you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones, we want to leave you with this touching story from the Adoption Stories Network about the moment we hope every child can experience – where they are acknowledged as son or Daughter. Read more here
Their youthful presence and zealous energy will have you thinking our corps members are all 20 something’s with the pomp and circumstance march still playing in their heads. While this is true for a number of them, we select from a diverse pool of people from all backgrounds who have the right amount of courage and maturity in them to commit to this type of work.
You’ve already heard from one of them already, Kristin Gowin. Check out her blog post, “The Pseudo First Day and Snow Patrol.” Ms. Gowin, originally from Knoxville Tennessee, made New York her home when deciding to pursue a graduate level degree in psychological counseling with a specialization in mental health before her bout with Children’s Corps. She cites her experience working in as domestic violence counselor as her inspiration for joining the corps.
“It was during her Master’s level internship experience working as a Domestic Violence Counselor/Advocate at The Children’s Aid Society’s Family Wellness Program that Kristina realized the passion she has for working in community agencies in the child welfare system. After completing her Ed.M. program Kristina joined Children’s Corps and is now employed at The Children’s Aid Society as a Sociotherapist in the Treatment Family Foster Care Program where she provides in-home supportive counseling to high-need youth and foster families. Kristina’s ultimate career goal is to work with youth and families as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor using trauma-focused therapy in both community agencies and private practice settings. “
Some of them have families of their own and some have undergone major career, lifestyle and location changes to do meaningful work.
“I recently graduated with my BA in Psychology and Latin American Studies, which ultimately led to my disillusionment with the field of Psychology for many reasons- principally, its tendency to pathologize individuals rather than the societal factors all too often leading to their circumstances. Originally from Hawaii, I had quite the nomadic childhood- bouncing between 9 different states over the years. This familial instability and the arduous lifestyle that fueled it have ignited my empathetic desire to empower children and their families to be proponents of their own social change. My volunteer experiences with the marginalized youth of Latin America have also sparked my sense of personal responsibility to use my education/life experience to benefit the lives of others who are systematically denied those very rights. I am excited to have found a career that accommodates my critical views and desire for change!”
We are fortunate to have people from far and wide answering our call to action and we are equally excited to have individuals who’ve been locally born and bred like Steven Franco representing both for the men in child welfare and the native New Yorkers. Steven, like many of his peers, sees Children’s Corps as a way to do his part in leaving the world a better place.
As you can see, there are several differences that make this group unique. Eager to learn the ropes from veterans who’ve already made careers in the field, collaborate with others who share their passion for justice, sprinkled with a little tenacity, a lot of personality and doused with even more optimism, these individuals all share the belief that their time is marked with the opportunity to make progress. It is a belief that has been held by classes preceding them and that will be apparent to those who encounter them. Don’t believe us? MEET THE NEW CLASS
Well, our Corps members wrap up training today and officially “graduate” from our pre-service program. What a whirlwind it’s been! Every single person that has come into contact with our members has been so impressed by their engagement, energy, and professionalism. I’m so proud to have each of them in the Corps, and so excited for this next phase. Some members start work on Monday, others start after Labor Day, and some in between – but all will be full-time caseworkers by early September! There’s still so much to learn and do, for us behind the scenes and for the members on the front line: mentoring, regular trainings, and social outings will all be ways for us to continue the community of support that has been established over the last couple of months.
Thanks for reading with us through the summer! I have to keep reminding myself – it’s not an end, but a beginning. Our members will keep updating with news from the field – their work promises to be both challenging and rewarding, and I’m sure there will be much on which to reflect. For now – let’s celebrate! Congratulations to the staff and the members of Children’s Corps!
When I am asked about my summer internship, I have a hard time explaining Children’s Corps concisely because I’m so excited about the program that I want to talk all about it! My answer always starts with, “It’s awesome!”, which is about as concise and accurate as it can get (although may not be the most intellectual vocabulary ever used by a future MSW). Usually it’s an acquaintance who is asking about my internship because it’s the polite thing to do, so they aren’t expecting such an enthusiastic answer. I’ve said all along that Barry and Viviane’s passion is impossible to say no to, and clearly it’s rubbed off on me!
The goal to recruit a rockstar inaugural class and provide a 5-week real world, how-to training to be a foster care caseworker has been far exceeded. As I sit in the back of the training room taking notes on the training Jen, Sarah and I helped hammer out, I can’t help but think back on my last year doing preventive family therapy in East New York, Brooklyn and say, “If only I had someone to tell me this stuff before I started!” My learning curve would have been greatly improved if I had heard half of what is being given to CC members. That coupled with the across-the-board outstanding quality of the members makes me beyond confident that foster care families and agencies in the New York City area are going to benefit greatly.
Sometimes we joke about if the members only knew what went on behind-the-scenes. At times it has been hectic, I’ve gotten a crash course in the amount of work it takes to start a new program. This experience is perfect for me, as my long-term career goal is to develop, implement, and run programs for teens. The past few weeks have been incredibly informative in curriculum and evaluation development. It’s nice to hear members’ feedback which is by far positive, but it’s the areas for growth that are the most important. I know this year has laid a great foundation for future years.
The conference room table is covered with training materials. We haven’t seen Jen for hours…she is too busy making copies to come up for air. Rachel is fighting with the hole puncher and the hole puncher might be winning. Viviane is finalizing some last minute placements, selecting some fun music to collate and staple to and reminding the staff to eat. All in all, things are under control. Don’t worry Children’s Corps members, we really do know what we are doing!