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A helping hand

Social work Susanne Davis helps students more than she knows
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A room splattered with students’ paintings on the walls, papers are scattered on her desk as social worker Susanne Davis makes calls and checks email.
Davis is one of two social workers at GlenOak who helps students with their physical and mental needs.
Davis has been a social worker for 28 years and worked in Plain Local for six years. She has experienced a lot of events in her lifetime that have helped Davis in her career to connect and help the students that she talks to. From her childhood to adulthood she still has new experiences that she learns from to make her a better social worker.
“I had a good childhood overall. I was fortunate. I was raised by both my parents and I have a sister and brother. I think I realized that I had a lot of support from my family, friends and extended family,” Davis said. ¨It bothers me that not everyone was fortunate to have what I had so I always wanted to serve people that needed extra help.”
Davis’ start in social work did not begin with wanting to help people or even a traumatic event but it started when she read a book.
“I read some books when I was in high school, I read some books by Torey Hayden and she was a teacher that had a lot of kids that she cared for that had a lot of trauma,¨  Davis said. ¨So I became interested in helping kids like that in her books and when I went to college I looked at a list and social work fit the best.”
While Davis´ youth was easy and went well in her adult years, in college, she had a hard time transitioning and fitting in.

“I really liked the academics, but I didn’t care for the social scene. I wasn’t in a sorority, it wasn’t for me so it was hard to find a place to fit in. I think it was because I wasn’t into Greek Life and I was like a real follower. I didn’t drink or smoke or anything like that so I felt awkward around my peers.”

— Susanne Davis

“I really liked the academics, but I didn’t care for the social scene. I wasn’t in a sorority, it wasn’t for me so it was hard to find a place to fit in. I think it was because I wasn’t into Greek Life and I was like a real follower. I didn’t drink or smoke or anything like that so I felt awkward around my peers,” Davis said.
With that experience of not being able to fit into college life, Davis is able to help students who have talked to her about how they feel alone and be able to relate.
Students feel like she has helped them and can relate and adapt to situations that they talk about with her.
“Mrs. Davis has definitely made me a more open person and made me able to tell people what is wrong or when I’m stressed and not holding it in to make myself feel better,” sophomore Charlie Burton said. “Mrs. Davis has definitely made me a more open person and made me able to tell people what is wrong or when I’m stressed and not holding it in to make myself feel better.”
Davis has made an impact on kids who talk to her and keeps trying to better herself along the way; however, Davis acknowledges the consequences can be high if she makes mistakes.
“I think when you’re in a field where you’re trying to help people when you make a mistake or don’t do your job it can be more devastating than other jobs. You will always make mistakes, I think it’s a little bit different because you may have let a person down and I think it is something I have to grapple with,” Davis said.
Even though mistakes are bound to happen, students think she has done a good job so far.

“She is very helpful, she is a great listener and she makes things work even if they don’t. She is beautiful, helpful, kind, smart and no matter who you are or where you come from she can help you,” sophomore Naveen Lashay said.
Davis may have not experienced the same things as the kids and students that she talked to but she can relate and help them get stuff off their chest and leave every day knowing she has done something.
“I want all of [ the GlenOak students] to know that they have worth regardless of their grades, attendance, mistakes or anything else and that they all have worth and they all have something to give to the world,” Davis said.

 

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About the Contributor
John Mitchell, Staff Writer
John Mitchell (he/him) is a sophomore. This is his first year on staff, he's involved in coaching k-1 flag football, he's in the student council and social justice. He likes to read, write, and adventure.
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