I am Kathy Fearon, a social worker in the Transitions Program. This is my 7th school year at the program. I began my social work career 30 years ago working at DCP&P as an adoption caseworker. While working there I received my MSW degree. I then took 9 years off from social work to raise my 3 children. Earlier in my career I also worked in a residential facility with adolescent boys with severe psychiatric disorders as well as a transitional housing program for the chronically homeless.
I took a position as a licensed social worker doing in-home therapy with foster children/adolescents awaiting adoption. I later supervised the program before joining the Transitions team. I came to Transitions after realizing I preferred to work directly with adolescents as opposed to supervising. I felt this was a perfect opportunity for me to work closely with adolescents in helping them achieve their potential in a therapeutic educational setting. Seeing the students every day allows me to develop close therapeutic relationships with them which lends itself to good treatment outcomes.
My favorite part of working at Transitions is seeing the progress of our students. Watching them grow socially, emotionally, and gain confidence in themselves is so rewarding. Many of our students struggle with social anxiety so making friends can be difficult. Helping students develop social skills and watching them utilize them to interact with peers and develop friendships is one of my favorite parts of my role at Transitions.
My path to becoming a social worker is interesting for me to reflect upon. After a difficult high school experience, I was unsure about whether college was for me. I enrolled in a junior college thinking I would get a 2-year degree or certification. I graduated with an associate degree and paralegal certification. By then I realized I really liked learning and decided to continue on to a 4-year college. I declared a major, which wasn’t a fit, and realized I needed to find my passion. While flipping through the college’s course catalog, I stumbled upon social work. I instantly knew that this is what I was born to do. I can honestly say I have never regretted my decision to become a social worker. I needed a career where I felt I was making a positive impact on other’s lives.
My motivation for doing this work every day is knowing that I can and do make a positive impact on the students’ lives. Mental health issues are difficult for anyone to cope with, but it is especially difficult for an adolescent. Helping them cope and learn to manage their mental health and succeed in an educational program gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.