Reflections from Our Staff

We recently asked some of our dedicated team members to share reflections on what they find most rewarding about their job working with at-risk youth and families. We share a some of their inspiring answers here.

A Mental Health Professional in our Family Based Mental Health Services program stated: “The favorite part of my job is getting the opportunity to be a part of the healing journey of families.  I enjoy coaching families.” He continued, “I feel I was called to this line of work. I have always enjoyed helping.  After receiving my Master in Family Therapy, I was attracted to this position and the unique ability it gives me to meet families in Philadelphia where they are and help them in their process of true healing and change.” They continued, “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing a family interact with each other in a more positive way and seeing their growth through the process.  It is rewarding when you have seen a family put in the work that they need to be successful, and they recognize the change in themselves.”

The Clinical Supervisor of our Applied Behavioral Analysis program shared: “I was drawn to this field because I wanted to help make meaningful changes in the lives of children and families that struggle with behavioral challenges. I am very passionate about ensuring children have access to quality services that will help them live their most fulfilled lives.” She continued, “The collaborative work environment and my colleagues are my favorite parts of my job at Gemma. I love learning about everyone’s different perspectives and experiences and using that to provide the best services for our families.”

A Case Manager in our Adoption and Permanency Program reflected: “The most rewarding part of my job is when we finally get to the Permanent Legal Custody/Adoption day and knowing that a child who entered into the child welfare system will now have a forever home and an consistent and stable caregiver to love them into adulthood, to be grandparents if they elect to have children, to be at their high school graduation, to be at their college graduation if they elect to attend higher education, to be there for their first apartment/ car, and just to have someone to call in case of an emergency. To know that no child is alone in this world it the most rewarding feeling and the “why” for all the work it took to get there.”

Our Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services recently stated: “I was drawn to Gemma because of its innovative therapy program that focused entirely on children and their families.” A Program Supervisor in the same program shared: “I always knew I was a helper at my core. Once I determined that social work was my passion, I have been determined to help provide high quality mental health services to underserved populations. Helping people feel heard is personally the most rewarding part of being a social worker. Helping people to feel understood or seen can be invaluable. I feel so grateful to be able to do this work.”

A Case Manager in the In Home Protective Services (IHPS) program shares: “The most rewarding part my job is when I can assist a family that has struggled with their Family Service Plan Goals be able to convince them to have faith in the plan itself and to believe that the services provided will ultimately help stabilize the overall family dynamic, which in turn will either allow the family to remain intact or be reunified.”

A Reading Assistant in Martin Luther School (MLS)stated: “The most rewarding part of my job is when my students show me they learned something. My passion for helping people is what drew me to my position as a Reading Assistant. Ever since I was a little girl, I would say I want to be a nurse or a teacher when I grow up. Now Martin Luther School (Gemma) has given me that opportunity to teach and help children.”

The Senior Foster Parent Recruiter in our Foster Family Care program reflects: “A favorite part of my job is meeting new people, prospective foster parents, and developing a rapport with them. It is so rewarding when a family whose home I licensed eventually adopts the foster children.” A Case Manager in the same program echoes these sentiments: “The most rewarding part of the job is seeing permanency come to fruition, attending adoption hearings, sharing in the journey with the child and family and knowing that I was a part of that outcome.”

When asked what drew her to work at Gemma, the Recreation Therapist in the Residential Treatment Program shared: “Gemma Services’ mission of promoting hope and healing through holistic care is what drew me to this position. As the Recreation Therapist, I am able to utilize the children’s interests as a treatment avenue. One of the favorite aspects of my career is modifying those interests that naturally evoke feelings of happiness in the children and teaching them ways to intentionally use them as a coping strategy. It is very rewarding to see the children learn to use the things that interest them in ways that enhance their health and safety.”

The Screening Manager for our Family Empowerment Center reflected: “My favorite part of my job is outreach to other organizations in the community to spread the word about the wonderful work Gemma is doing and the services we offer, as well as to discuss opportunities for partnership and collaboration with these agencies. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to provide direct services to families, making a difference in their lives. I became a social worker simply because of my passion and skill for helping people. I’m an advocator and an agent of change, not just by profession but by being me.”

Supervisor in the Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) program stated: “Being raised in inner city Philadelphia, I saw the need for young children and teens to have a mentor, father figure, or big brother in their lives. I was blessed to have both parents raise me. I also know that many children do not have the luxury of having both parents and good role models. I wanted to make myself accessible to be a positive role model and hopefully make a difference in at least one child’s life.”

A Math Teacher at MLS stated: “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing that “ah-ha” moment as my students connect with math! I interact with students from various backgrounds, many who continue to work on overcoming their traumatic pasts. When students succeed at math, you can see their self-confidence build as they realize that they can do “hard” things in life.”