Social Work Director, Liberty Avenue Middle School

“This is actually what it could look like.”

The decision to become a social worker for Erica came from working with one student and his family when she was 13 years old. Erica says that her experiences growing up in the projects and attending inner-city schools allows her to “relate to the students while also being that role model who tells them that there’s more out there than where you came from”.

Erica had a lot of different support systems growing up, and she immediately turned to her mentor, the social worker at her job, who gave her guidance on the steps to becoming a social worker. She stresses how important a support system was in her journey to where she is today and encourages the families she works with to “understand that it’s important for them to play a huge role in their child’s life”.

Erica and fellow Partnership with Children staff know the importance of creating a safe space in their office at Liberty Avenue Middle School. She wants her students to feel comfortable and to have a place where they can be proud to see their artwork and accomplishments on the walls. It is in this way that Erica encourages her students to follow the “growth mindset” where “Instead of thinking you can’t do it, or you were taught that it’s not impossible—you think, this is actually what it could look like”.