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Social workers are unsung heroes.
Few know that each school in our district has its own Social Worker, and even fewer know about the many roles our Social Workers juggle in caring for students and staff.
This month, we’d like to sing their praises, show you their day-to-day work lives, and direct you toward some of their services before the holidays hit.
Today’s interview is with Logan Telford, Provo High School’s Social Worker.
Update: November 4th: you can now find Logan’s video below.
Q: What is the primary role of a school Social Worker?
A: Overall, the goal of a Social Worker is to make students feel safe and comfortable at school. Whether that safety is physical or emotional, we keep students safe.
We are here to make students feel like they can succeed at school. We offer counseling and therapy for students struggling with anxiety, depression, grief, and other issues. Often, we help students and families with back-to-school clothes, backpacks, and coats as it gets colder.
Q: There are a lot of aspects of your position that go under the radar of most people. Could you share information about some additional roles you undertake or what your day-to-day work looks like?
A: Yeah. As much as possible, we like to connect our families with resources in the community, because that creates more sustainability than anything I can provide. If I can connect a family with a community partner, then I know the family can call on the resource as time goes on, even outside school. An organization can offer long-term help, whereas I might give a gift card or a pair of shoes.
We might direct students to the Community Action organization for bill management or The Boys and Girls Club for students who could use a high-impact club during non-school hours. We work with United Way throughout Sub For Santa, for example.
All of our Social Workers are well connected with their community partners, so families know where to go if they need support.
Q: How do Social Workers get families and students in touch with Community Partners?
A: A lot of times, we’ll have made these partnering relationships already. We might do a warm “hand-off,” in certain situations, where we contact the agency with the parent’s permission, letting our partner know that we’re sending the family their way and what resources they’re looking for.
At the end of the day, if we’re aware of a need, we’ll ensure families know where to go, who to talk to, and where to get help.
Q: Where can families start to get in touch with a Social Worker? Where can families begin to find more information on resources?
A: The District website has all Social Worker information and a Community Resource subpage with links covering agencies offering aid for housing, utilities, employment, food, clothing, transportation, mental health, you name it.
But every school has a Social Worker. You could call your school’s front desk, and they’ll direct you to us.
We’re ingrained in the school, and everyone knows who we are. Ask any staff member for your Social Worker, and they’ll send you our way.