I know that I say this SO much, but I am looking forward to writing and sharing what we have been up to the last few weeks while also touching base on a very sensitive subject; current difficulties working in the education world. There has been a lot going on. I honestly sometimes don’t realize how fast time flies, but then I get that wedding countdown reminder and think, “holy bleep!”. Yes, we are 5 and a half months out and that feeling of crunch time is getting R-E-A-L.
When we were in AZ, we were able to get a good amount of it planned out with the help of outstanding professionals. As a reminder, we are out of state so it was 100% the smartest thing to do. We ended up hiring a “day-of” planner and a florist who will be essentially holding our hands until the big day. It makes life a whole lot easier and less stressful. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is in the same boat as us.
So, wedding planning is going well. Grad school is extremely tough but I promise I am not regretting it! I finished this last term and still carrying a 4.0 so I can confidently say I am proud of myself. It has been quite the ride and I ended up lowering my course load until after the wedding, which is one of the smartest decisions I’ve made. Having time to dedicate to coaching and the other coaching staff, has been VERY difficult but football season is coming to an end and competition is officially starting so Haley is excited!
Ready to move on?
I want to touch on a sensitive subject that is affecting millions of individuals around the world; education. Over the past decade, I have worked in an array of positions within school settings, social services, non-profits, etc., and I even spent a year as a paid volunteer in the national program Americorps. With that being said, I have never experienced the amount of trauma in this many student’s and family’s lives until this school year. I will backup any teacher, social worker, counselor, etc., when they say how mentally and physically exhausted they are. I work as a Truancy Liaison for an online, alternative state school. Essentially I make sure students are in school, following our education laws, maintain partnerships with every county court around the state, and doing this all while ensuring they have the support and resources they need to succeed. I support over 3000 students in grades K-12 who are spread throughout the state of Washingtion. It is a position that I have done for 6 years and it has always been difficult, but nothing like it is now.
Just like any school district in the nation, every youth and family are from different demographics, backgrounds, situations and they all need support in some way. There is not one student in my eyes that is more important than the other, but there are A LOT of students who do need the extra care and attention to be able to succeed right now. These students need the love and understanding more than ever and when we are not able to meet those needs, it is a personal and defeating feeling. When you are needing to live up to the expectations of keeping a child not only in school but also getting them caught up on the knowledge they lost over the past 2 years, the pressure takes a toll. Watching a student fall behind, get disappointed in themselves, then choose to dropout, is the absolute worst feeling in the world for me.
You wonder why there are so many “mental health is important” quotes and postings out there? Because it is real. It is the most truest reality that mental health is effecting the majority of our population in schools, including workers. Maybe that isn’t a real statistic but it feels like it and every time I see a new post about mental health, I feel sorrowful for every individual out there no matter their age, because I understand.
It is the absolute hardest situation I have ever been in and I am not even a teacher. Teachers are retiring early or just choosing to leave a job that they were passionate about years ago, and that itself should say something powerful. The fact is, we need to be understanding as parents, community members, and overall, the entire education system because this is not easy. We are doing what we can, I promise.
This brings me to talk about my community project that I have developed over the past few years; The Impact Project. Maybe you have already scoped it out above in the menu area, but this project means a lot to me. I have carried a large passion of doing my part to work with youth and doing what I can to not make them another statistic of dropping out of school prematurely to their high school graduation. I can assure you that this need of being a voice for youth and families has been carried with me throughout a good 13 years. Learning the top reasons for youth to go rogue and dropout of school, or voluntarily withdraw, has given me a sense of insight and drive to help.
My community project encompasses working with local organizations who are already supporting those reasons for dropping out. Most of these organizations I work with are not solely working to support education, but are focusing on priority areas such as basic needs, housing support, domestic violence, etc. These major issues are all in some way, reasons for students to not make it through school to graduation.
I am doing what I can to hold drives, collect donations, bring community together, and raise awareness of the realities that students and all individuals (including all support employees) are experiencing. Collecting clothing, basic supplies, sending personalized packages with school supplies, and filling pantries at our local teen homeless shelters, have been only some of the things I, and the community, have been able to do. I am currently planning multiple drives and the goal is to ease stress for everyone, including teachers. It is a chain reaction to support students and families because it can make a difference in the lives of every person also supporting them.
This weekend, I will be down at our community’s “Trick or Trunk” event raising awareness and spreading support to our amazing children, while of course handing out a ridiculous amount of candy. On top of that, I have some of the coolest handouts (me being bias) and can’t wait to talk to everyone. IF you are interested in being part of this fantastic movement, let me know or just come down to hangout.
Another way to help raise supplies and other items for youth/families is by purchasing a shirt. ALL proceeds go towards helping families and the shirts are just a very simple and great way to give back! Follow the link below if interested. I will talk to you all soon and thank you for taking the time to read this, it means a lot.