When students face non-academic needs, school social worker Eulene Paulk links families with important resources.
If families are struggling with non-traditional things outside of the school environment, like access to food, clothing, healthcare, or stable housing, school social workers serve as a bridge to a brighter path.
“We are a link between the school, the home, and the community,” said Paulk. “We work within the community to find resources that will support non-academic needs that can affect students academic progress.”
While Fayette County as a whole is affluent, poverty exists here as it does everywhere. By freeing up students to focus on education and not on survival needs, we help unlock their potential.
“We want to be mindful and notice and support every child, even children that don’t have the means,” said Paulk. “They’re important, and their success is important.”
Paulk planned to be a teacher, but her direction shifted when she was student-teaching. A school social worker came to her classroom and helped a student get glasses. As someone who likes to be on the go and interacting with different people, it seemed like a great match for her personality.
“It was the best decision I ever made because it is very fulfilling to see just how the pieces connect and see how the whole community can band together to impact the life of even one child.”
Whether it is a big shopping spree or fundraising coming together to find transportation, all of the people coming together to fix a problem is fulfilling.
“It’s the beauty of community,” she said. “It is knowing that there are so many people that come together to do those little pieces.”
Her inspiration to serve came early. She saw it in her grandmother who brought joy to those around her as an active part of her church community.
“I wanted to be part of that joy,” said Paulk.
Through her job with the school system and involvement with charitable organizations, she lives to lift others up.
“Our purpose here on earth is to help each other…and to make sure we’re giving back and helping the next generation to move forward,” she said. “That’s the assignment.”
The Honor Role,” an official podcast for Fayette County Public Schools, features employees, rotating through key stakeholders, including teachers, staff, nurses, custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. Join us as we dive in and learn about their journeys, their inspirations, and their whys.
Episodes are available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and promoted on the social media channels of Fayette County Public Schools.
Episodes will also be available here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2200811.