There is no shortage of stories chronicling the selfless efforts of people striding past their normal boundaries of involvement into territory that can only be described as inspiring. Watch the news on any given night and there will be stories about innovative solutions, volunteering, sacrifice – even pure bravery. We all do what we can.
Virtually every member of the faculty and staff at CRSM have exceeded their duties as outlined in their job description. And yet, after attending a remote meeting of the Counseling and Nursing Departments at CRSM, listening to the discussions about what is transpiring in the homes of our CRSM students and hearing their plans to help the students and their families cope, words like: grinders, “in the trenches” and heroines spring to mind.
Everyone of these people will say, “it’s my job”, but the women of College Counseling, Social Work, School Counseling, Alumni & Career Support and Nursing, are dealing with an unremitting barrage of terrible consequences caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A short list of issues currently demanding their attention might afford some insight into what they are facing.
Deaths in the family: contact students, interview to help
AP Testing: information from College Board is still changing, students with technical issues must be readied for on-line participation, contact those that must be scheduled for in-person testing because of home issues.
Financial support: families that have had job losses to be interviewed for Emergency Fund help.
Struggling students: end of academic semester, struggling students need immediate help on-line. Out-reach to work with parents.
Testing positive for Covid-19: Corona Virus is widespread in the CRSM community – many are essential workers, contact students that need a place to work and take final exams.
Food & rent issues: identify and outreach to families in need; supply information about available resources.
Nursing: reach out to quarantined families that need medical advice, emotional support, guidance with insurance issues, info to families about testing, what to do when positive, keeping families up to date, remote diagnostics, make clinic referrals.
College: many schools haven’t announced what fall will look like, reach out to students about college decisions, guide those who have not yet decided, help with housing and changing finances because of COVID-19, AP scores due to colleges – help families with deadlines, encourage all seniors to go with original college plan – advise against gap year.
Push to make school in the fall a reality: the Cristo Rey Network helped with funding to aid our college freshman with financial issues, discuss loan counseling requirements with families ie: contacting financial aid offices, eg: changes in income.
Alumni: 2020 grads transitioning, interviews with possible emergency fund recipients, weekly check-ins are a must, contact alumni to help register for on-line summer classes, contact and counsel students that can’t work, help with accessing Cares Act monies at respective colleges, finishing college freshmen will need individual help with internships that are disappearing, so “earn, learn and serve”, schedule meetings for students to prepare for a better job market, launch job search support group.
The Waukegan area has been hit hard. The devastation is real and it’s close to home, the homes of the students and families of CRSM. This amazing group does something about it everyday. They persevere.
And they make me proud to know them.