I’ve been at CALM for one year. I started last August as a social work trainee, and was hired full-time after completing graduate school.
I work on the Great Beginnings team serving children 0-7 years old. A large part of my job is supporting new and soon-to-be mothers who are at-risk of developing poor attachment with their babies.
Every day is is full of moments in which I feel like I’m making a difference. The funny thing is that it’s the children and their parents who put in all the hard work, I’m just the facilitator. I’ve been working with a family for the last few months who were referred for the child’s aggressive and defiant behavior. I quickly learned that the child’s family regularly communicated with one another through screaming matches. Conflict arose in almost every interaction. Just a few months later, this family has already learned more effective ways of communicating, including sharing their feelings, listening, and responding well. The skills I taught (and the family implemented) were a simple way that I could contribute to building peace in this home.
If I could do one thing to make kids’ lives better, I would encourage parents to put their tech gadgets aside and play with their children. Kids want to connect with their parents, they want to be seen and heard, and they want to be pursued. These are actually emotional needs that foster security, attachment, and identify. Responsibilities and to-do lists will always be screaming for our attention, but childhood doesn’t last forever. So put the phone down, tap into your inner child, and build a fort!
We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with local children and families. We do not perceive any sort of stigma associated with needing mental health or parenting support. In fact, we think our children and families are strong and resilient because they have the courage to say “I need help” and they are willing to show up and do the work.