Social workers assist and direct


Abby Berberich

Upon entering the Social Work Department, students immediately see positive images and colors for an inviting, warm atmosphere.

During adolescence things change. Brains are developing, more decisions are made, there are heaps of school work, there’s juggling sports with school, and many students struggle with things that don’t exactly fall into these categories. However, there is help available for these problems; the social workers will listen and advise anyone.

However many students are still in the dark and don’t understand what social workers do.

“Even though not as many people go to see them, and not many people know what they do, they help individuals in very stressful and depressive times,” said Kylie Torsberg, sophomore.

Social Workers work with students on numerous things, such as parent conflict, stress, substance abuse, grief and loss, behavior management, loneliness, and many other things that can affect students.

Many students have different perceptions of social workers. Some see them as unnecessary, some find the idea of them intimidating, and some believe they are important for students who need them.

“Social workers are needed for students who need an accountable adult to talk to and help them with any situation,” said Olivia Oosterbaan, sophomore.

Approximately one-third of students have visited the social worker at least once, and there are also regular visitors. Students can pop in whenever; there are also times where a student is required to see the social worker’s office.

“Visiting the social worker does not mean something is ’wrong with you.’ Quite the opposite actually – it means that you are a self-aware, a strong self-advocate, and taking the initiative to problem-solve and work towards improving yourself,” said Ms. Ilyssa Hoffman, social worker.

The most prevalent cases that students come to the social workers with are dealing with anxiety. Due to the work load from classes, extracurricular activities, and sometimes home life, many students find it beneficial to talk to social workers about time management. There are also students who need support with social interactions/conflicts, challenges at home, self-advocacy, and self-esteem.

Social workers help students by working with them directly to problem-solve, as well as to develop and strengthen specific skills such as time management, coping, self-advocacy, organizational, test-taking, etc. They also run a variety of support groups, such as anxiety management, grief, and loss. Additionally, social workers also problem-solve with teachers who may request suggestions in working with students in the classroom. When needed, social workers also help students by working closely with their families and any outside professionals to provide support from all areas of a student’s life.

The social work department also collaborates with various community organizations such as Families Helping Families, which is a PTO run organization, that helps families within the community who may be going through various crisis situations.