What did you do before you came to Good Shepherd?
After I graduated from Mizzou and worked one year at Youth Emergency Services, I went to Saint Louis Univeristy on a full scholarship. I did my practicum at St. Vincent Children’s Home, which was under the Catholic Services for Children and Youth and is now Good Shepherd Children and Family Services. I graduated in 1982 with my Masters in Social Work, and the administrator asked me to become employed with them. After St. Vincent Children’s Home came from under the Archdiocese in 1996, I stayed with Catholic Services for Children and Youth and moved to the Expectant Parent Unit and have been here to this present time. I’ve been with Good Shepherd Children and Family Services since 1982. What a blessing!!!!
Tell us about a typical day.
I have a caseload of between 25 and 38 clients. I met them in their homes before the pandemic, but now I mostly do phone consultations. I can start as early as 6:30 a.m. and sometimes work a late as 7:00 or 8:00 at night, and sometimes on Saturdays, depending on client needs. I provide counseling and also coach on decision making, relationship issues, prenatal and parenting questions, budgeting, and self-esteem.
Some of my clients have lost their jobs or their daycare during the pandemic, but six have found jobs over the past year. I have a client in nursing school, and one has obtained a CMT/CMA. They set goals for themselves and we celebrate when they hit a milestone. Almost all of them have been clients since they were pregnant. We talk about the struggles of single parenthood and we build on their strengths.
What are you most proud of?
When my clients have successful pregnancies, healthy deliveries, and build positive parenting skills like safe sleeping, breastfeeding, using car seats. The proudest I am is when a client reaches the goals we’ve been working on.
How has the last year affected the work you do?
The pandemic has taught me that I am so much more attuned to my faith. I’ve found a new closeness to God. I’ve always prayed, but this has brought me closer. My religion has been my saving grace.
What do you think Good Shepherd does better than any other agency?
It’s the people who work here. They work so hard for their clients. They’re in it to win it. They have a love of people and will do the work. Good Shepherd is off the chain – our team is awesome!