Celebrating 30 Years: Social Workers are Unsung Heroes for Students in Tempe Elementary
Therapists. Mediators. Problem-Solvers. Advocators. These are some words used to describe the roles a school social worker plays in the lives of students, parents, and faculty.
March 3-9 is nationally recognized as School Social Worker Appreciation Week. Tempe Elementary is grateful to have a team of social workers that has been in the District together since 1989. Jackie Favaro, Nancy Griffin, and Mary Dower (pictured left to right) were hired on as the first social worker team at Tempe Elementary. After 30 years, they are still working together to bring good to the lives of the TD3 community.
“I am proud of this profession. We went into it because it is our passion and our calling, I am so proud to be able to do what I do. It doesn’t feel like work,” Dower shared.
The social worker role is unique. They have a vast knowledge of agencies and services available to help students and families, and they are the bridge to many resources. Developing relationships and helping students overcome barriers to learning are at the heart of what they do.
“I believe that having connections in the community and being trusted has enabled us to go above and beyond in helping our TD3 community. Those relationships have enabled us to move mountains for parents and students,” Favaro said.
The profession is not an easy one. Many days are long and require lots of extra work. However, it comes with great reward.
“It’s rewarding to see something simple that we do can make a big difference not only in a child’s learning capabilities but also in their confidence and overall well-being,” Griffin said.
Like many other roles in education, each day looks different from the one before. Conducting home visits and assessing a situation, searching for and connecting students and their families to outside services and resources, completing behavior rating scales, providing crisis intervention, meeting with teachers...the list goes on.
“Recently, I had a student who wore glasses and was told he would need to wait months to see the doctor. The doctor, who knew my name from working with me in the past to help other students called me and said to get the student there in two days. It was such a humbling experience,” said Favaro.
TD3 social workers many times are the unsung heroes of the most vulnerable students. These individuals have been at the front lines every day for the last 30 years, ensuring that children’s basic needs are met, so that they are able to be in school each day ready to learn.
“I am always so in awe over how resilient our students, families and staff are,” Favaro added. “It gives me great hope in the human spirit. It’s such an honor and a special gift to me to witness that every day.”
Thank you Jackie, Mary, and Nancy for the wonderful work you do each day to enrich the lives in our TD3 family. Relationships Matter!