Although the recent pandemic may have forced school buildings to unprecedently close across the nation, Cobb Schools’ social workers did not stop answering the calls of need from school families. They quickly assembled their network of community resources to support those struggling during the unforeseen crisis.
In addition to the food resources provided to students every Monday at eight school sites, the school social workers also were able to provide students and their families with gift cards in order for them to be able to purchase food, gas, medicine, toiletries, and other household items. They also helped families secure funds to pay utility bills and connected them with rental and mortgage assistance programs.
During the 2019-2020 school year, Cobb Schools social workers were a vital part of supporting nearly 1,500 homeless students and their families. The school social workers also provided over 4,500 individual student conferences throughout the year.
Whether the families needed financial assistance, access to food or crisis response services, the Cobb social workers were there to help. They also worked with the Cobb Schools Foundation to identify the families in need of a free technology device to increase success during digital learning.
Many of Cobb social workers volunteered at the distributions for the technology devices and helped secure several additional funds to support those who needed internet connectivity.
The social workers also provided ongoing virtual check ins with students and provided “support groups” for parents and students. The “check ins” provided students with an ongoing opportunity to connect with someone.
The social workers’ unwavering support of Cobb families will continue over the summer thanks to a strong partnership with the Cobb Community Foundation, which yielded $45,000 in gifts donated to the Cobb Schools Foundation from the Zeist Foundation and the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation.
“We, the Cobb County School District – social work department are so extremely thankful to be able to provide a continuum of coordination services for the students and families,” said Ana Murphy, Cobb Schools Social Work Supervisor. “This summer is more challenging then the past years and we were nervous of the level of need that would be evident in our county. This money provides us with the availability to ensure to address the needs (both financially and emotionally) of as many students and their families as possible.”
The grant will go towards making social workers available throughout the summer months to at-risk students who attend Cobb Schools. The funds will help train the social workers and provide for family stabilization, which may include providing telehealth calls and financial assistance for housing, transportation, and school materials such as digital devices.
“The Foundation is humbled by the generosity of these foundations,” said Felicia Wagner, Cobb Schools Executive Director. “Budget limitations for schools typically mean limitations for something that we can use to enhance the student experience. With 2020 bringing immeasurable disruption, we are thankful to be recognized as a steward of these funds. We know that the impact of this support will be something that students can rely on during the summer months, but also minimizes their disruption through these crucial support roles.”
Learn more here about how to help the Cobb Schools Foundation advance student potential and prepare students for post-secondary education or careers, provide learning interventions, and support family stabilization efforts.