Portrait of a Volunteer

I spent 15 years working for public child welfare in Mississippi as an investigator of child abuse and neglect, foster care worker, child welfare supervisor and the Director of Training for the state. I continue to work with the public child welfae agencies and private child welfare
agencies throughout the United States and in Canada in the area of child welfare supervision, secondary traumatic stress, child death debriefings and counseling for the social workers involved in child death cases. I also write training curriculum for public child welfare agencies. I
worked a few years in an adult in-patient psychiatric unit and my early years involved working in residential treatment for children. I have been teaching social work for 10 years
at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. I am an Associate Professor and I am currently on sabbatical for one semester.

I chose to volunteer at Holy Cross as the children from this area of the island are living in difficult conditions. I am amazed at how hard the children's lives are and yet they are still happy much of the time. The resilence of these children is amazing and they want to learn. I was drawn to the school as when I vacationed here, I got to know the children - especially the children who sell jewelry on their own on the beach. I was concerned about their vulnerability and how they were not in school many days. About three years ago I came to the island on vacation and found that a new school was starting in the San Mateo area. I just wanted to do what I can to help the children and families of this area.After spending time at the school, I realize that there are children and families throughout the island that need social services. The development of resources is one piece of the work that social workers do - so as I learn about the needs from the children and families and hear from them - my next task is to find out what Belize has in the way of social services that can help and what help I could bring.

Many times, the communities can develop resources to meet their own needs. I have found that the strengths of the communities and the people on the island are great. I love the people who live here and I love this country. The children have my heart.



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