What led Barbara to work at Summit School and why is this work important to her?

I have worked with many different populations during my years in social work, but always found myself drawn to adolescents. I love their energy and passion! I also know that the possibility of growth is always there, even if the student doesn’t experience it immediately. I have heard from many teens that, well after a therapy session, they remembered something said that suddenly began to make sense, so I’ve learned that there are no wasted efforts. I began at Summit in 2004 and was excited at the chance to work long term with students and their families, as there are even more opportunities to see that growth. I want every student here to have every opportunity to make a positive change that sustains long after their time at Summit. I love working closely with the social workers to review their cases and discover interventions that can help facilitate this change. I also feel the work of the Leadership Team, guiding the agency as a whole, mirrors the work with the students, as the agency itself needs to continue to make positive changes that will benefit our students and staff alike.

What are some of the challenges she has to overcome for her work to be successful?

I have a team of talented social workers who truly care about every child on their caseload. Our new psychiatrist is absolutely wonderful and doesn’t hesitate to take the time needed to get to know the students and their parents. Every student here understands that they can count on our Health Center nurses, not only for medication and first aid, but to provide a smile and encouragement whenever needed. And I guarantee that the Summit School staff outside of my department are equally dedicated to their work with the kids. The people that come to work at Summit every day make my work successful here.There are always going to be challenges at Summit, and I hope we can overcome each and every one of them. Dealing with residential care during a worldwide pandemic obviously is a huge challenge currently, but I am proud of the way that Summit’s students and staff are handling what can be a very stressful situation. Our Health Center has recently undergone a new licensure that has expanded services for students, so the challenges faced with that upgrade were daunting, but, thankfully, are being met. But there are ongoing challenges that will never go away - helping students learn to trust staff and, more importantly, themselves, is a challenge faced with every new admission. The means to overcome this type of challenge rarely can be accomplished with a set formula, so taking an individualized approach is an important tenet at Summit.