As the first month of school comes to an end, we’re continuing our introductions of our new staff members with a special feature interview in We Are Wolf! Today, we’d like you to meet Marybeth Waite!
1. Can you briefly tell us about your background?
I grew up in Massachusetts and attended college at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. I had always known that my career path would involve children and decided on a major in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. Soon after graduation, I was teaching first grade in a public school located in a town across the river from New Orleans. Many of the children were under significant social and emotional stress which was often expressed behaviorally. The class was large and I did not have an assistant. My only option was to send the children who were struggling out of the classroom. There were often barriers to engaging the families as they were also carrying much stress. I was left with a strong desire to do more to support these kids emotionally. Social Work became my chosen path. I returned to Tulane and earned my MSW. My internship was at LSU Medical Center and I unexpectedly worked with the adult population for several years, mainly in the inpatient psychiatry and partial hospital setting. I was always meant to work with children, however, and in 2004, I joined the Bradley Hospital Team. I initially worked on the inpatient unit with The Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. About a year later I joined the growing “CADD” residential program and stayed with this team for about eight years. I loved it! In my role as a residential social worker, I was able to provide group, individual, and family therapy as well as participate in IEP and transition planning meetings. I moved to the Bradley Hospital Access Center in 2012 to accommodate the changing needs of my family. My work within this department was varied with a primary focus on conducting emergency evaluations to determine needed levels of care. Crisis work is important and fulfilling BUT the drive to know and support what happens next has always been present!
2. Can you talk about your role at Wolf?
As the Student Support Clinician, I will be part of every classroom team serving as a resource to staff providing social-emotional support for all students. My goal is to become a familiar face within the classrooms so the kids are comfortable with seeking or accepting support as needed. Building connections with students and establishing positive relationships with the adults and peers they are working with throughout the day is key. I will be meeting with staff on a regular basis to develop social-emotional support plans, available for check-ins with students, will liaison with outside providers as necessary, and teach Community Building Classes with the middle school classes throughout the year.
3. What do you most look forward to in regards to your role?
I look forward to seeing our amazing students grow!!! The social/ emotional skill development that I have already witnessed from some of these kids in transitioning to the new year is awesome…the opportunity to watch the progression in the years to come is so exciting! I also feel so lucky to join the Wolf community. I can’t wait to get to know our families and to be a part of the magic that happens here.
4. What motivates you when it comes to the work you do?
I entered social work for the money and fame….sorry, I couldn’t resist! There have been many sources of inspiration but two have certainly been defining. The first occurred years ago, early in my career when I was working with adults. I was at a gas station about an hour away from where I lived. The store clerk immediately recognized me. It took me a minute but I realized I had worked with him when he was a patient in a program where I was employed. He thanked me for caring, listening, and not being judgemental. Ironically, at the time I was judging myself and doubting my professional capabilities after a difficult situation. I will never forget that moment as I realized the impact that can be made simply by being present with someone in a time of need. The second happened soon after I started working with the residential program at Bradley. I had been trying to engage one of the residents in individual sessions for a few months, oftentimes just sitting in silence. I decided that I would ask them if they wanted to cut down appointments from twice to once a week. They abruptly shouted “I don’t care! I’ll never talk to you because every person I talk to leaves!” It was suddenly so clear. We decided to continue our schedule and had many, many meetings (Talking or not talking) in the years that followed. So, I guess the biggest thing that drives me to do what I do is the opportunity to show people that they are important, they matter and they can get through challenging times. Feelings make sense, change is possible. You are not alone.
5. In your short time here, what has become your favorite thing about Wolf?
The staff and their efforts to understand the whole child. Behaviors are not “problems”. They are signals that more or different supports are needed. It’s truly a multidisciplinary team invested in each students’ growth. And, of course, the kids are pretty fantastic!!
6. Can you share a favorite quote with us?
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
Welcome to Wolf, Marybeth! Your dedication and passion for your work are clear and we’re thrilled to have you as a member of our community!