Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Post-Gazette covers new Youth Worker hire

Quaker Valley schools employee will have Laughlin Center office
Thursday, August 27, 2009
By Kathleen Ganster, Post-Gazette

Floyd Faulkner has always liked children -- he has four of his own -- and he thinks his appreciation of the needs of young people will stand him in good stead in his new role as community youth worker for Quaker Valley School District. "I feel it is my mission to help young children, through my own life experiences and education," he said.

In his new role, Mr. Faulkner will help youngsters find productive outlets for their time during the hours that they seem to need one the most -- after school and in the early evening.

Although he will be working for the district, Mr. Faulkner's office will be located in the Laughlin Center in Sewickley at the corner of Frederick Avenue and Broad Street.

The position is funded through grant money provided by the Child Health Association of Sewickley, The Presbyterian Church Sewickley and the Grable Foundation, according to Martha Smith, communications manager for the district. Mr. Faulkner will be paid $38,000 per year.

Ms. Smith said the district has approximately 2,025 students, with the middle school, grades 6 through 8, having just under 500 students.

Mr. Faulkner will identify youth who would benefit from using community resources and will put the teens in contact with those organizations. Ms. Smith said,

"There are already so many wonderful resources out there and we didn't want to reinvent the wheel. Having someone to help the students take advantage of these resources benefits everyone, most especially the students," she added.

Mr. Faulkner will also work as a parental resource and develop services and programs as needed.

"We see this position evolving as we go," said Ms. Smith.

Mr. Faulkner, who was formerly a social worker, and also worked for Northside Urban Pathways Charter School as the director of student services. "My primary focus was to oversee the discipline services and act as a liaison with services provided by outside agencies," he said.

He'll rely on that experience in his new role. "I will serve as a person for the students to connect to and help them find services in the community. The key word here is 'connector' -- I will help them connect to the assets in the community," said Mr. Faulkner.

The community resources that Mr. Faulkner refers to include an after-school program at the Quaker Valley Middle School and programming and services at Sweetwater Center for the Arts, The Sewickley Public Library, The Sewickley YMCA, The Presbyterian Church Sewickley, and Sewickley Community Center.

"By having this central location, I can be a very visible presence in the community," he said. In addition to students seeking out Mr. Faulkner, he expects referrals from families, teachers and district staff and others in the community.

"I will immediately begin to build a rapport with [the students] and hope to establish relationships very early on. It is our goal to cut down on risky behavior," he explained, "By using our wealth of resources in this community, we can do that."

Mr. Faulkner will spend time in the schools to meet students and staff and meet parents at open houses and other school-sponsored events. As Mr. Faulkner gears up for his new position and the start of the school year, he is enthusiastic.

"No community is a community not at risk. This is a win-win situation -- it shows that kids are really valued here," he said. "Our children will know there are people in their corner and we are there for them."

Freelance writer Kathleen Ganster can be reached in care of suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

First published on August 27, 2009 at 7:07 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09239/993394-54.stm#ixzz0QWowaQJU

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