Kristin Boggs recently caught up with Cayla Bush, a 2019 Fellow for Life. Cayla graduated with her Masters of Social Work soon after completing her Schweitzer Fellowship in April 2020. During her Fellowship, she served with PRIDE of Tuscaloosa with the aim of reducing substance abuse among females. To achieve this, Cayla taught drug resistance skills using the evidence-based LifeSkills program with female youth at the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center. Read on to find out what she is up to now!
Q: Where do you work and what is your title?
A: I work at the Atlanta Mission and I am a Social Worker. Atlanta Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families overcome homelessness. We provide shelter and variety of services to help families reintegrate into the community
Q: What is your day-to-day like?
My day to day is always different. My job is very busy and flexibility is key. In the mornings, I prioritize clients who have medical and legal needs by helping them coordinate their care. Around the afternoon, I like to reconvene with my team to collaborate about our clients. In the afternoons, I typically do one-on-one meetings with clients. In addition, I teach two classes a week.
Q: How did the ASF experience prepare you for this role?
ASF changed my perspective on leadership. At the beginning, I thought a good leader was primarily someone that dictates or coordinates. However, after working at my service site, I learned that a great leader is someone who teaches others how to be leaders. A great leader helps others identify and strengthen skills that they have. My job requires me to be a strong leader. I am an integral part of helping my clients reestablish their independence. There have been several incidents when I am working with a client and I am reminded of an experience I had during my fellowship.
Q: How is Covid affecting the homeless population or the way that agencies are able to serve them?
COVID-19 has forced my organization to re-model how we deliver services. At the beginning of the pandemic, we halted admissions to keep our clients safe. We had to re-organize things to practice social distancing. Now that we have more knowledge about COVID-19, we have re-implemented admission procedures and clients are slowly getting used to their new normal. The hardest part about COVID-19 is connecting clients with resources. Many agencies have decreased the amount of clients that they can serve. Some agencies who relied on volunteers have ceased services until the pandemic ends. As a result, many of my clients are waitlisted for services and networking is more difficult.