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WATN? Stephanie Simms
Posted on August 12, 2016, by GAPMP
What advocacy training and experience did you gain from your time as a parent mentor?
The advocacy training we all have or should is being parents, making sure our children are getting the support needed to make their lives as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. I am sure we fellow mentors have that old adage “If I could reach just one…”
Describe a moment when you felt that the work you did as a parent mentor was really making difference for families in your district?
There are several turning points: when parents feel that they are not alone, they have someone that can really empathize; parents began to learn we are teaching them how to fish (empowerment) and just not fish for them, that type of fulfillment I felt from the parents in my district. When a parent tells me, “you have shown me how to advocate for my child in a non-threatening manner,” and the child is reaping the benefits, or “you have listened to me, without judgement and I appreciate that,” or “my child has graduated because of your assistance.”
What career experience did you have prior to becoming a parent mentor?
I have possibly always been in the servitude working field, from growing up with five brothers, being the eldest, to going off to college wanting to become a special education teacher. I worked many years in civil service as a CHAMPUS Advisor on military installations and later worked in the school system, to have a schedule to meet my son’s needs as a Communication Specialist Assistant and School Superintendent Assistant. I am back in school (it’s tough) and hope to have my degree in Psychology by February 2017.
What position did you move to after being a PM?
I am presently employed as a CASA Supervisor for the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, as their first Education Advocate for children under DFACS care, primarily children with special needs. Its obvious how the position of being a Parent Mentor, has enriched empowered me to getting this position. Nothing just happens, this experience happen for a reason and now it has revealed itself to greater heights.
What is a unique skill set that you acquired because of your work as a PM?
I am sure my present position will give me an opportunity to reach out and collaborate with my fellow Georgia Parent Mentors; you have and will always be a part of my life, a learned understanding of advocacy that I will always treasure.
Our son is now 28 years old, graduated from high school in 2006, told me he wanted to walk with his classmates at the age of 18. He has held several jobs, but is not working presently, and attends the adult learning program every day, learning Spanish, some sign language, and other activities that will help him to be a productive adult. He has a passion and gift for music, especially the piano, and his natural gift is having “perfect pitch.” He has started to learn and play the song “Jesus is Love.” Being parents and always a parent mentor, how our children have taught us to be better persons, I know my son has for me. God knew what He was doing. I miss you all and keep growing…