The past month at DOMUS and Trailblazer’s Academy has truly been a special experience. Through the various meetings and school events that I became a part of, I was able to get to know some of the students on a personal level, as well as get a better appreciation and understanding of what family advocates do on a typical day.
Additionally, I was able to input and analyze data related to student attendance and experience. To see these students everyday come in with a smile on their face, knowing the obstacles that they have had to face or currently overcoming, is remarkable.
While continuing my work with the DOMUS Foundation, I have been able to see and work with various emotional support resources for the students, including the school psychologist. While working with the school psychologist who works with both of DOMUS’ charter schools, I was able to see the types of cognitive and executive functioning tests that are done for students who have individualized educational plans (IEP’s), as well as the reports that are created to determine what specific resources each child needs depending on the given IEP.
From this information, along with the behavioral reports, grades, and attendance records, families were contacted to suggest summer school for their students to ensure that they don’t fall behind or lose momentum in the progress that they have made this previous academic year.
The family advocates also are making sure that their students have the proper resources during the summer. Every academic year, a certain amount of home visits have to be made for each student by their family advocate. During the summer, the family advocates take advantage of their time without students to schedule home visits with families. Before this is done, attendance reports, as well as home visit reports must be inputted and reviewed to see which students should be prioritized.
Over the past few weeks, I have been helping with creating and mailing these types of documents for the school psychologist and family advocates, as well as being trained to go on these home visits with a family advocate.
Working with DOMUS has made me realize how vital social work is as profession as well as the impact it can make on a student’s life. I was recently able to help a family advocate with finding a scholarship for three young boys to attend camp for part of the summer. I spent hours calling and emailing camps to see if there were any openings for these kids. When I was finally able to find a camp that would give a scholarship and had openings for the boys. It was a relief to the family, the family advocate and to me that we were able to enroll the kids in camp. These boys are able to meet kids their age and to start their adjustment with their new guardians in a new living area. Helping connect students and families to resources such as summer camps or summer schools for the Trailblazer’s Academy students, as well as other youth is another rewarding and crucial role of a family advocate through the DOMUS Foundation.