"Anger management, appropriate social skills, rebuilding youths' reputation in school/community, and crisis prevention/de-escalating are some of the tasks that are involved in my day-to-day duties," he explains. "As a Child and Family Specialist I use a strength-based approach in assisting the assigned youth (foster/group home) to getting placed in a lower level of care or prevent from being placed to a higher level of care." He recently shared his thoughts on his School of Education experience. In his own words:
What was the most memorable part of your SOE experience?
The humanistic and caring approach the entire SOE staff practiced in dealing with the student body. The SOE staff modeled what the SOE's mission and goals look like. An example of this is when I encountered an extremely rough moment during my time at LMU, my professors, Father Batsis and Dean Martin, were supportive and helped me achieve success during this unfortunate experience.
What professors inspired you the most?
Honestly, many of my professors inspired me in different ways. However, two that immediately come to mind are Professor Hawkins and Professor Dell'Olio. Professor Hawkins' ability to implement theoretical school counseling concepts in a practical way brought clarity to my role as a school counselor. Professor Dell'Olio's lectures were thought provoking and inspiring. Her philosophy reflected leadership, advocacy, social justice, fairness and emphasized the importance of forming and maintaining professional relationships in the work environment. Both professor Hawkins and Dell'Olio helped shaped my philosophy as a school counselor.
What details would you share with a colleague interested in attending the SOE?
The SOE counseling program attracts a diverse and highly driven group of people. While in the program, it became obvious that I was surrounded by good hearted and caring individuals. It was an honor to have met and studied alongside them.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
To be able to work with foster/group home youth who have little to no vision of a better life from their current one. It is so rewarding to see the response in a youth's face when introduced to new experiences and opportunities.
What features of LMU's program best prepared you for the challenges you face in your career?
The concept of critical pedagogy was used in many of my classes. The process of unlearning, learning and relearning, reflection, evaluation and the impact that these actions have on the students is a tool that I have taken with me.
Guest lectures in the area of school counseling brought a rich insight to the professional realities of what a school counselor might experience.
The fieldwork seminars and internship placement were essential in presenting real life school counseling scenarios. It also gave me the opportunity to share and learn from my fellow classmates.
How has the SOE's focus on social justice affected the way you see your job?
Being a grassroots organizer in low socio-economic communities and working as a Child and Family Specialist, I personally work to fight social injustice. SOE has enhanced my knowledge of how to best approach social injustices from the micro to the macro levels. My job as a school counselor is vital in assuring the academic, social and emotional needs of each student are met so that he or she can have an equal opportunity to succeed.