Program Connects School Counselors With Community Groups

January 31, 2015

An event Thursday and Friday in Escambia County brought together school district counselors and social workers with over 30 local non-profit service organizations. The program, sponsored by United Way, was designed to bring together those who work with students and families with the agencies that can help.

Finding a way to make stronger connections between those who work with students and their families and those who can help, has been a goal of the United Way staff for a few years, according to Marlena Lewis, United Way’s partnership manager.

“Getting all of these groups together in the same room is a rare opportunity for everyone to truly listen to each other and compare what can be done with what needs to be done,” Lewis said.

“Our primary goal is to educate the children of Escambia County, however what our counselors and social workers often deal with is the fact that learning can’t happen when a child is under stress,” explained Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, with Escambia County School District.  “As school officials learn more about outlets for assistance that can reduce the cause of that stress, they will be able to get help for the child and allow him or her to focus more easily on being a student.”

The design of this event allowed time for local service organizations to explain their mission. The second part of the meeting was a chance for school district staff to tell the service providers what they wish they had available to help them do their jobs.

Pictured top: Bratt Elementary School Counselor Sheila Bryan (center) discusses needs during a United Way program to connect counselors and community groups. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge.


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