Social Work News

Ferguson-Florissant School District

March 2021 Newsletter

Social Work Month

There is a lot to celebrate in the month of March -- March Madness, St. Patrick's Day, and National Women's History Month to name a few things -- but your District Social Work Team will also be celebrating Social Work Month. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful for us to take this opportunity to share a little bit more about what social work support looks like in Ferguson-Florissant School District.


In a nutshell, your District Social Work Team serves as the link between students, families, the community, and the school with the primary goal of eliminating barriers to student learning. Such barriers might include food insecurity, economic hardship, mental health issues, trauma history, housing instability, or a recent family loss or emergency. A student experiencing any of these challenges will find it very difficult to engage in academic learning until their more immediate needs are being met.


That's where we come in. We provide direct mental health services to students through group and individual counseling. We connect students and their families to internal resources that can meet food, clothing, and other needs. We connect students and their families to outside resources that can help prevent disconnection of utilities, provide family support services, and meet immediate needs for shelter. We participate in and facilitate conversations with staff and families to help everyone work together for the good of the student. We maintain relationships with a network of community services to stay on top of what services are available for our families.


Whether you are a parent, a student, a staff member, or a community member, please know that your District Social Work Team is here to help. See below to meet the members of the team. You can also visit our page on the district website anytime for more information about our services, community partners, and upcoming food distribution events.

Get Crafty!

In addition to celebrating social workers, March also celebrates the art of crafting. Learning a craft offers many health benefits. It can help improve mood, decrease anxiety, and improve happiness. Expressing one's creativity provides stress relief and can lower blood pressure (much like meditation). So... if you are experiencing added stress and anxiety because of COVID-19, it might be time to get your craft on!


CRAFT IDEAS TO COMBAT STRESS AND ANXIETY:

  1. Create colorful pages using mandalas. Coloring is not just for children. It is proven to be a great stress reliever for some. Coloring in intricate designs (like the ones found here) allows you to take a quick break, relax, and keep your mind occupied without being too taxing.
  2. Learn to knit or crochet. Learning to knit is not only a fun and productive hobby. It can also be a great anxiety reducer. Relaxed, repetitive motions can help calm down both the body and the brain. Knitting has been linked to easing depression and anxiety as well as physical ailments like arthritis and muscle pain. It can help with fine motor skills and keeping your fingers and hands feeling good as you age. (Visit Craft Yarn Council for help getting started.)
  3. Make your own bath bombs. When life gets stressful and your body needs a relaxing soak, bath bombs can be a great way to make the most of that time in the tub. When you make your own bath bombs (like this galaxy bath bomb), you get to experience the benefits of both crafting AND soaking.
  4. Make something out of clay. When feeling tense, doing physical work with your hands can be a good stress reliever. If offers you a sense of accomplishment and gives you something to concentrate on to take your mind off of what has been bothering you. The movement strengthens your hands, wrists, and arms and can even provide a productive release of aggression. (Here is a beginner's guide to sculpting with clay.)


It doesn't matter what your specialty is or what you are good at. Just allow yourself to be inspired. Set up a crafting corner, pick up some supplies, watch some videos on YouTube, or sign up for a class. Prepare yourself to get crafting and unleash your inspiration!


"When we are engaged in a focused activity, it takes our mind off anxious thoughts, distressing thoughts, depressive thoughts, thoughts of the past, and thoughts of the future. It takes our focus to the here and now." - Carla Manly, PhD

Kate Obermeier

Kate works with all of the district's Pre-K - 2nd grade buildings.

Debbie Bodden

Debbie works with all of the district's 3rd - 5th grade buildings and 6th grade centers.

Lynda Partee

Lynda works with all of the district's middle and high schools.

Timothy Merritt

Tim works with students attending at the Restoration Center.

Bree Moore

Bree works with students attending at the Restoration Center.

Whitney Johnson

Whitney works with families that are enrolled or enrolling in the district under the McKinney-Vento Act.

Yolanda Rodgers-Garvin

Yolanda works with families that are enrolled or enrolling in the district under the McKinney-Vento Act and students who are currently in foster care.