“I want the community to know that our kids have many challenges. They come from difficult home lives, many struggle with mental health issues, insecurities, etc., and they still come to school every day,” said Sarah LeCount. Sarah is a Student Success Advocate for Wawasee Schools.
Born in Warsaw, Indiana, Sarah was led to the role of Student Success Advocate with a desire to help the children in the community. According to Sarah, “It was being aware of the needs in my community, and looking at our kids, and really believing that schools can make a difference.”
When asked about her job over the last six months, Sarah responded, “I think the most difficult thing about this time is not being able to be face-to-face with kids and their families. I am grateful for being able to talk on the phone or via computer, but it’s not the same. I miss the kids at school. The biggest challenges we are facing are food insecurity, housing insecurity, transportation, lack of resources, and lagging skills in family structures.”
In Sarah’s job, she really tries to partner with the community. “We work closely with our community mental health organization, providing parent and student counseling through our Guardian Assistance Program and Student Assistance Program. We are working hard at adopting a Trauma Sensitive Schools model by training our staff, and educating our community on the effects of trauma and tools we can utilize to foster regulation, relationship, and to help our students find their reason-to-be.”
Sarah said, “My hope is that we are starting a movement and a model where we can create change in our schools and in our community.”
“What gets me through tough times are my colleagues who are in the trenches with me. We truly support one another and depend on each other for advice and guidance when difficult situations arise.”
Sarah said, “I want others to know that our kids have many challenges. They come from difficult home lives, many struggle with mental health issues, insecurities, etc., and they still come to school every day. Our students are making connections with safe adults, they are learning life skills, and they are overcoming those big challenges every day.”
“My dreams for the children in our community are that they would grow up to become happy and healthy adults, and that they would be able to break unhealthy familial patterns.”