Case Manager, New River Valley Community Services, Blacksburg, VA
- George Wythe High School, Wythe County Technology Center, Wythe County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Early Childhood, Education, and Services I and II
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Liberty University; Associate of Applied Science in General Studies and Corrections Science, Wytheville Community College
by Veronica Garabelli
As a case manager for New River Valley Community Services, Amanda Hasley is helping mothers who have substance abuse or mental health issues and mothers who are at risk for those problems.
Her organization links clients to services to help them succeed, which may include helping them find a job, a psychiatrist, or both. Amanda began exploring the human services industry in high school when she enrolled in early childhood education classes at the Wythe County Technology Center.
“I was very passionate about working with children and the parents of the children because, obviously, the children are the future,” she says.
Through the program she worked with children in classrooms, including students in special education, and learned to tailor lessons according to a child’s individual learning style. She still takes that customized approach with her current clients.
“Everyone’s different so what works for one person may not work for another person,” she says.
Amanda coupled her high school experience with associate and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice from Wytheville Community College and Liberty University, respectively. Prior to her current job, she also worked as a case manager at New River Community Corrections.
Watching families struggle due to substance abuse or other issues is one of the hardest parts about Amanda’s job, but seeing them succeed is extremely rewarding.
“My favorite part is the interaction with the families and helping them out any way that I can,” she says.
She advises high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in human services to gain experience in the field so they can figure out a career path. “Don’t go into a field just for the money. Go into something that your heart truly is in, because no matter how much you get paid, as long as you’re happy, that will be the main thing that matters,” Amanda says.
Assistant Teacher, The Goddard School, Virginia Beach
- Ocean Lakes High School and Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
- CTE studies: Early Childhood, Education, and Services
- Additional studies: Pursuing Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Liberty University
Making a difference
by Veronica Garabelli
Sometimes a little extra effort goes a long way.
That’s Victoria McGee’s career approach. She’s pursuing her dreams of becoming a kindergarten teacher by studying full time at Liberty University and working part time at The Goddard School, an early childhood center in Virginia Beach.
“Always do more, even when you don’t have to,” advises Victoria, who logs about 26 hours a week at The Goddard School on top of her university studies. Victoria is earning an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Liberty University Online and eventually plans to earn a bachelor’s degree.
As an assistant teacher at The Goddard School, Victoria works with infants to kindergarteners. She decided to pursue teaching in high school when she took Early Childhood Education at the Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center, where she got hands-on teaching experience and earned a certificate in Early Childhood Education.
In high school, Victoria also participated in Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), a student organization that addresses personal, occupational, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. She won three FCCLA com-petitions, placing second in the national competition in Nashville, Tennessee.
Victoria decided she wanted to focus on teaching kindergarteners after her senior year of high school when she worked with a kindergarten teacher at North Landing Elementary School.
Victoria says her biggest challenge at her job is making sure her students understand the information they are being taught, while she enjoys having fun, watching children grow, and making a difference.
“I feel as though I am making a huge impact on their lives,” she says.
Family Services Specialist, Shenandoah Valley Social Services, Verona
- Riverheads High School, Augusta County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Family and Consumer Science; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)
- Additional studies: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, Radford University
by Veronica Garabelli
Heather Campbell once stood in the shoes of some of the children she works with. Growing up she didn’t have a supportive family system and, at age 17, legally emancipated herself from her parents.
“I try to talk to the kids that I’m working with now that they still have that option to better themselves or do what they want to do even though they don’t have that family support,” says Heather, a family services specialist at Shenandoah Valley Social Services.
As part of her job, Heather handles anywhere from 15 to 20 cases at a time, mostly working with older teenagers who have been placed in foster care. Her job involves a lot of moving components, including working to return the foster children to their families and acting as their legal guardian. Heather also works with adults up to age 21 who aged out of foster care but could still benefit from the services. In order to participate in that independent living program, participants must be involved in an educational or vocational program. “I enjoy that part of the job the most,” says Heather, who helps the young adults become self sufficient by teaching them basic life skills such as budgeting and paying utilities.
Heather’s been helping to strengthen families since high school when she participated in Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, a nonprofit that addresses important personal, work and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Heather, who also took family and consumer science courses, remembers FCCLA projects where she helped raise awareness about domestic violence and substance abuse. In fact, she credits FCCLA and her high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and courses with pushing her to go to college. “I got a lot of support there, and I think that headed me in the direction I needed to be going,” she says.
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.