Celebrating Social Workers
This March, New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) celebrated Social Worker Month by highlighting our own social workers that help drive NBT’s School-Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP). Without our teams of Site Administrators, Mental Health Clinicians, and Youth Development Specialists, our comprehensive social services programs would not come close to reaching the nearly 2,000 public school students annually that it does.
Though the social workers that manage the SBYSP are vital in providing individual counseling, group counseling, youth development and employment preparation, and more, the excellence of their services lies in the relationships they develop with their students. Helping students to finish their education healthy and drug-free and obtain skills that lead to employment can be a delicate process as students attempt to navigate the obstacles of their adolescent years. Our goal is to assure academic success by building on students’ strengths and supporting them in overcoming obstacles which requires a personal touch. Whether the counselors are helping immigrant students acclimate to their new environment, LGBTQIA+ students understand their identities, or students with mental health concerns manage the stressors in their life, the support is catered to the students’ specific needs.
While their skills and attention to needs make our social workers effective, it is their empathy and passion that elevates the impact they have on our students. Speaking of what brought her into the profession and how it has impacted her career, Jessica Viscuso, Director of School-Based at NewBrunswick High School, said, “I’ve always been super passionate about mitigating injustices in the community. A big driving factor for me was my grandfather was super big into social justice. Currently, I work with students and families.I love helping them manage the stressors and advocating for them to receive the resources that they need to thrive”.
Just as our social workers can impact students’ lives, the success of students impacts our social workers. Having been a part of SBYSP as an intern and now as staff, Luba Mityukova, Mental Health Clinician at RooseveltElementary School, discussed the rewarding aspects of working with the students,“I love my job and the people that I work with especially the students. It's a rewarding job where it can be challenging at times but at the end of the day you see people, you interact with people and you receive a lot of positive feedback.You’re helping someone and your work is valued”.
Gina Andrade, School-Based School Manager at Lord Stirling Community School, addresses the future of social work in the SBYSP, “The way I see this moving forward is by expanding our services and being open to our families and community”. As the world changes so do students’ needs continue to grow and with our incredible team of social workers, SBYSP will continue to adapt and tackle the most prevalent issues facing our youth
The issues our social workers assist students with are constant and ever-changing . With ongoing societal issues impacting the futures of our youth, mental health concerns across the younger generations are growing.There is a greater need than ever for social workers to help our city's youth reach their potential to ensure continued success beyond high school.
If you’d like to hear more about the perspective of the impact our programs make on the youth of New Brunswick from those who see it firsthand, watch on YouTube.