I am a Mental Health Specialist working in a community childcare center.
In the short period of time that I previously worked with children, I enjoyed it. I wanted to find my way back to working with children and Rainbows provided me that opportunity. The past couple of years have been great and I’ve been able to learn so much about early childhood mental health, which I had no idea of prior. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the future.
I am a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). I received my Bachelors of Social Work from Wichita State University in 2016. I then went on to complete my Masters of Social Work from Newman University in 2017.
I started at Rainbows in 2019. I previously worked at the Department for Children and Families (DCF), for one year, as a human services counselor. That job was working with adults with disabilities to help them achieve employment, independence, and integrate into society. Prior to that I was a child protection specialist on the child welfare side of DCF for about ten months. While in school, I also had two previous internships, both in different child welfare settings. Lastly, throughout college I worked at Starkey, Inc. for a little over two years, providing direct care for adults with disabilities in their home setting.
I have been with Rainbows for almost two and a half years now. My biggest achievement would have to be stepping out of my comfort zone to create one KDHE training for outside community members/professionals and also taking over another KDHE training from a previous staff member. I never saw myself as the one to train others, but when COVID happened, there was an opportunity for the mental health team to create quality trainings for other professionals and I jumped right in. It’s fun to see how much I have grown as a social worker since I first entered this profession.
A normal work day for me would consist of both classroom consultation and individual therapeutic intervention work. Since I’m housed in a community childcare center, I work with three different classrooms every semester and I also work with a varying number of individuals each semester. Classroom consultation is supporting the teacher to help coach/model social-emotional skills for the classroom. Individual therapeutic intervention is working directly with identified children to help increase their social-emotional skills. Each day is different and each day holds something new, which helps to keep me on my toes.
My favorite part of the job is seeing children on my caseload grow and improve their skills. There have been children I’ve worked with that needed extra support through individual therapeutic intervention work, to gain the skills that were lacking previously. When I look at the pre-assessment and compare it to the post-assessment, sometimes I am just blown away with the progress it shows. It’s so fun to see how much a child has improved and even more fun when you see that child using those skills that were taught to them. It makes this job rewarding and fulfilling.
One of my favorite memories is attending mental health team meetings where you laugh so hard that you start crying. It’s such an honor to be among a group of women that help and support each other through any situation. It truly makes those tough days easier to get through when you know you have people surrounding you. I couldn’t be more grateful.
A personal hobby of mine is playing golf. I have been playing since I was seven years old (almost for 20 years now) and continued to play competitively until my second year of junior college, before I attended Wichita State University. In my free time, I spend time with my spouse, our two cats, and our families. I also enjoy going camping and traveling to see new places.
My family is my biggest support system. They have pushed me and helped me to become the person that I am today. I am so incredibly thankful for them.