While most of the 8a.m.-5p.m. working world is day-dreaming about escaping from the copy-machine and computer screen to spend a little time outside this summer, All Our Kids Program Specialists are running off to exciting field trips at the Zoo, museums,and the Humane Society. It is fair to say that most of us might be a little jealous of such a luxury. Who wouldn’t prefer ice-cream and a trip to the museum over a day at the office?
Although any Program Specialist will admit that summer outings are a major perk, they will also say that field trips are only a small part of the job. “Preparation for meetings is very important,” says All Our Kids Program Specialist, Ronna Fritz. “We are also busy going to other Program Specialists’ meetings and assisting with transportation almost every day we are not leading a meeting,” she continues. In addition to the preparation for each student meeting , there is also the dreaded post-meeting paperwork. “Filing and data entry are constants after a meeting.” Fritz adds.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the Program Specialist position is connecting with the students. “Planning and facilitating quality meetings and outings that engage, inspire and educate our students is the biggest of our responsibilities,” says Specialist, Nick Sasada. “Really our day is directed by asking ourselves, what can we accomplish to support our students in their academic and life skills goals.” For those students who struggle academically, the Program Specialists provide them with Intensive Case Management. “We meet with the student on a weekly basis to help them create a personalized plan to reach their goals.” Sasada says.
Most Program Specialists will say that the students are why they choose to do what they do. “Watching as a student sets their own goal and then achieves this goal is the most rewarding part of the job,” Sasada says. Fritz agrees, “The kiddos for sure! Seeing them achieve is why I’m here.”