March is National #SocialWorkMonth—the perfect time to highlight our dedicated team of licensed social workers!
Our social workers, or Career Managers as we call them, work individually with each GOSO participant to help him pursue and achieve his goals. They focus on all of GOSO’s Three E’s (Education, Employment, and Emotional Well-Being), but the Emotional Well-Being part is a big priority. GOSO Career Managers provide clinically-informed supportive services, ensuring participants have a solid foundation of mental health resources so they can thrive in all areas of their lives.
We’re going to be spotlighting a few of our Career Managers and some special partnerships they’ve built with participants.
The first pair we’re featuring is GOSO Career Manager and Coordinator of Vocational Services, Jannee Davis, and participant Matthew L.. Jannee and Matthew have been working together for just over one year, and during that time have overcome obstacles and seen Matthew succeed in so many ways. Read about their partnership below:
When did you two first start working together?
Jannee: Matthew was actually the first participant I took on when I joined the GOSO staff. So it was a transitional time, and there was a lot of learning going on for both of us.
At the time, he was dealing with a work-related court case, which was frustrating for him. So we really focused on court advocacy for a large portion of our initial time together. The court didn’t have a good sense of who Matthew actually was, they only knew about this one incident. I wrote very detailed court support letters and added in tons of information about the service plan and goals we had created together.
Matthew: My case was eventually sealed and dismissed, which was something that I really felt needed to happen before I could get started on everything else I wanted to do.
What goals did you have in the beginning?
Matthew: When I first joined GOSO I honestly didn’t have a lot of goals for myself because my mindset wasn’t where I wanted it to be. But with Jannee’s help right off the bat, she was able to help change my mindset and put me on a new path.
Jannee: From the beginning, we always knew he wanted to be in the healthcare sector, but he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to pursue that moving forward because of his court case. We’re really happy that because of the advocacy work we did, he was able to feel confident in pursuing that. Once he got into the mindset he wanted to be in, he really just started doing things on his own. He’s very independent and driven.
Matthew: After feeling more positive about everything, I got a job at Blink Fitness and I got my driver’s license, which was something I really wanted to do. Right now, I’m working as an Amazon delivery driver and I’m starting my EMT training this month with Code One. By June or July I’ll be certified! That’s a huge deal because that’s been my ultimate career goal, and Jannee and I have put a lot of work into getting me here.
Jannee, what is your approach to your role as a social worker?
Jannee: Social work is complex work, but put simply, I just make it very client-focused. When I engage with any of the people I work with, we talk about where they are and I try to meet them where they are while also planning for the future. We can start to envision the future and make a concrete service plan, even if that future is still a ways off. I say, you’re going to take this first step right now, and in a few months, this is where you can be. Maybe you’re not necessarily where you want to be right now, but imagine where you CAN be and in YOUR time.
Overall, I would say my approach is client-focused and patient, and I allow people to do things in their own time. I truly lead my social work practice with mental health, because I think having the right mindset and perspective is what allows people to be in a productive space to learn and grow.
What is your strategy on how you two work together?
Jannee: Our strategy is to learn what Matthew wants to do and then I can guide by giving education. But, it’s always self-determination, and him making decisions for himself. We have both have really good communication with one another, and we work together to assess situations and make decisions based on what will be best for him.
Matthew: The communication has been so important and she gave me a lot of time to get myself together. Even if she doesn’t hear from me, she sends me an email to make sure I’m okay. I may get busy sometimes, but she is always completely understanding.
Matthew, what has your proudest accomplishment been since joining GOSO?
Matthew: I’m proud that I’ve made it this far, and that I even completed the program at GOSO. In the beginning I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to because I was so upset with everything going on in my life. The fact that I got up, showed up, and finished is a big accomplishment to me.
What’s something you appreciate about the other person?
Jannee: I appreciate Matthew’s resilience. To look back and think of that person that came into my office on that first day; someone who had all of these emotions that were just coming out through anger. Now, he’s repurposed that frustration into creating the energy and motivation he needs to get things together. He now has the ability to look at a situation and reevaluate if needed and get on the right course. I love that about him.
Matthew: I appreciate her consistency with me. She’s always pushing me to do better and always putting good thoughts in my head; motivating my mindset. That’s what I appreciate. She’s so patient. It’s true when I first came here, I was really moody and didn’t want to be in a program. But because of her guidance, I did it.
Jannee: I love that word “consistency”. I think a lot of people may have had negative experiences with social workers before. That’s usually because that person wasn’t consistent or patient, and that created a space where the client wasn’t comfortable to work on their goals and what they needed in those moments. Consistency is big.