YOLANDA, New York
Ms. Webster shares her thoughts here about what keeps her inspired to come to work every day and how the environment for children’s services has changed over 30+ years.
Self-awareness is key. We work to help the young people understand their goals, their value, their networks of support and to be clear about what they need and want. If we don’t take time to do the same for ourselves, we cannot serve them as well, we cannot get the resources we need and we will not achieve as much. Asking for what I need from my team and knowing my limits has given me a strong foundation and allowed me to sustain myself through the highs and the lows.
A team approach is our greatest tool – with youth & with each other. I work with the young ladies in MCFC to really build trust and take a team-approach in working together to help them change their lives and build their futures. It’s not a matter of telling young people what to do, but of partnering, and getting there together. The babies are part of the teams, and my MCFC staff is a big part of the team, too. Ms. Diggs is a wonderful leader and as we can be a healthy team, we see it modeling opportunities for teamwork with the young people and for them to use in their lives beyond Inwood House.
The growing focus on permanency is exciting. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in the Children’s’ Services work recently is ACS’ increased focused on helping the young people get back tot heir families or into permanent homes. I see the aggressive energy to help the young ladies as a positive not only for them and their babies but also for our entire communities. I’m excited about it.
Our young people’s wisdom and resilience teaches me all the time. There are some pretty horrible and very difficult things the young ladies we work with have overcome and have survived when we meet them. Even when their stories are not horrific, though, the emotional strength and wisdom and care that these young ladies bring to my life teaches me every day. It’s humbling. It inspires me to keep giving and working.
“I’ve been here a long time,” Ms. Webster says, “but no matter how long I work here there will always be young people who need our support, who teach us and improve our lives, and it brings me back each day, ready to make the most of the present.”