Becca supports foster families as they learn to grow together. She's passionate about giving children respect and advocating for their needs.
CEDARS: Hi Becca. How long have you worked at CEDARS?
Becca: Since June of 2017.
CEDARS: What do you currently do at CEDARS?
Becca: It’s a balance every day between attending court, team meetings, home visits, calling foster families to check in with them and connecting them with resources. We really advocate for foster families and the kids.
CEDARS: What keeps you coming to work each day?
Becca: My coworkers are phenomenal! We have a really good time together. Everyone has really great ideas and we can approach each other about anything. The kids are wonderful! We are able to support them in great homes that keep them safe, which is meaningful to know they are safe after having been through traumatic experiences.
CEDARS: What has shaped your passion for helping children and families?
Becca: I’ve always had a helping nature. During college I was involved with a couple of nonprofits. One was supporting kids and raising money for them. One of the things I enjoy about CEDARS is how we focus on mental health and helping children cope with the trauma they have experienced. Through my own mental health journey and triumphs, and the journeys of those around me, I feel that this is something that is sometimes overlooked and it’s great that we can incorporate this help into our work. That passion motivates my work with kids.
CEDARS: How do your values influence your work?
Becca: One of my biggest values is respect for others, no matter what walk of life someone comes from. That is really prevalent here at CEDARS. We work with many individuals, and you never know what someone is going through. In our line of work there are a lot of good days and a lot of bad days and I always keep that in mind. Going along with that, kids deserve respect and a lot of the time people don’t give kids respect, especially those middle schoolers and high schoolers. Despite what has happened, giving them respect is a great way to have good rapport with them.
I’m also never satisfied until I’ve reached a goal. There are a lot of days I bring work home with me because I haven’t achieved that goal yet. Or there are times when I could send a quick email to a foster parent but I feel like I need to research for them first to ensure that I really meet their needs. I always push myself. It’s worth it when you hear from the foster parent that the email you took extra time to research and write was helpful. It’s always worth it when you go above and beyond.
CEDARS: Becca, we hear you like to cook. What else do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Becca: I’m working on a big project trying to get a bill passed in the Legislature. It would require that mental health education be taught in Nebraska public school health classes. That takes up a lot of my free time. So far every little phase has gone really well! I’m also involved with a couple of nonprofits that have similar goals in teaching girls to be holistically healthy through mental health, emotional health and physical health.
CEDARS: Is there one particular client that you feel was significantly impacted at CEDARS?
Becca: A specific instance that comes to mind was when children that I was supporting were waiting to meet their foster parents. They asked me how they would be disciplined. I explained that they might receive a time out or get video game privileges taken away for a short time. The relief on their faces when they learned they weren’t going to be physically disciplined was amazing. That was their normal. And we got to give them a new baseline for normal.
CEDARS: What is something you want to make sure everyone knows about you or your work?
Becca: If there’s one thing I want people to learn from me it is that the best thing you can do for yourself is to turn your biggest struggle into your biggest triumph and inspiration. Instead of being ashamed of my previous mental health struggles, I’ve learned to be inspired by them and use that inspiration to do this work and get my bill passed to help educate on mental health. We work with kids who have been through awful trauma, and want for them to receive the resources and work through their traumas to eventually overcome them. We ask for our clients to do this every day, but I think until we can truly do it ourselves it is an empty request. Once we can find victory in whatever our struggle may be, we can help others do the same!