Currently, I run an after-school program as a school site coordinator for BestSelf Behavioral Health under their Building Brighter Futures (BBF) program in Buffalo Public Schools. I provide services for 130 students ranging from kindergarten through Grade 8. I recruit and supervise eight teachers and teacher aides/assistants, network, contract and manage outside vendors who run activities for the students, present initiatives, lead staff meetings, and oversee a $100,000 budget for each program year. The students I serve are of low socio-economic status, from under-resourced families or foster homes. Most students need the extra time for academic assistance and life skills education as well as social emotional education such as coping skills, emotion regulation and grounding techniques.
During the school day, I provide social support services in the family resource room of the school with four colleagues from outside agencies. Our purpose is to work collaboratively under Closing the Gap, a Buffalo Public School initiative that supports students’ improved academics by addressing non-academic barriers to learning. I have learned to pinpoint risk factors; do motivational interviewing; manage restorative practices; and liaise linkages to my colleagues’ scope of services. Between 4pm to 6pm, I run the after-school program within the same school building. BBF’s nonprofit after-school programs are free and designed to strengthen children, families, and communities by with activities that promote academic achievement, health and wellness, social-emotional enhancement, and fun.