by Melissa Lin
School social workers – like all staff members in a public school setting – have a unique opportunity to provide the first level of intervention and support to students, families, and our community whenever needed. It is a privilege to ensure our students and their families are getting their needs met, whether emotional, mental, social, or material. We know that the success and well-being of the community depend on the success and well-being of all its members. But this unique level of support is only made possible and strengthened with the help from the local community, such as through agencies and organizations like the CHS Alumni Association.
This academic year alone, we have worked with 60 families to support them with their household needs. Specifically, we have supported:
- 9 families with their rent
- 8 families with utility assistance
- 51 families with food and grocery needs
- 36 families with clothing needs
- 4 families with holiday gift support
Additionally, we have:
- Distributed 51 winter coats to students
- Provided Cap and Gowns for graduation to 14 students, with more Cap and Gowns on the way to 9 more students
- Served 53 students out of our food pantry
With this support, we can guarantee that our students and their families have safe and comfortable housing; that they have been able to stay warm during the colder months; that they are getting adequate nutrition that supports their well-being, gets them through the day, and allows them to focus and find success in school; and that they never have to miss out on participating in priceless milestones, like walking on stage for their graduation.
This barely scratches the surface of our daily work to support Cleveland High School students and their families. This work includes providing a safe space for students to process their emotions and struggles when in a crisis, helping them formulate a plan for success in school and life, and connecting them with other mentors and leaders in the community.
While much has been done, we still have countless ways to support our students and community. In addition to continuing to provide emotional, material, and household support to CHS families, we plan to purchase yearbooks for students in need. We are also seeking donations to support our food bank for the remainder of the year. Helpful donations would include non-perishable groceries and food and snacks for lunch.
Your help and continued support are essential to the services we, as school social workers, can provide Cleveland families. We never want anyone to fall through the cracks when all they can use is a little support. Thank you for contributing to the success and well-being of our CHS community.