Emily Cull was recently awarded the Schweitzer Fellowship, a year-long service learning program for graduate students in health-related professions, for the work she developed and implemented at Enlace. Emily Cull is a counselor for Enlace’s School-based Counselor program at Farragut Career Academy. In this role she provides mental health services for Farragut youth and co-facilitates a weekly family support group, GREAT Families. As a Schweitzer Fellow, she will expand Enlace’s existing GREAT Family work to include an early childhood social emotional learning. We conducted a short interview to learn more about what drives her work and what she will be doing as a Schweitzer Fellow at Enlace for the next year:
Where are you originally from and what led to your work here at Enlace?
Emily: I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. After graduating from college in Maine, I worked in Brighton Park as a CPS bilingual Kindergarten and first grade teacher. This experience inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in social work in order to work in schools and communities throughout Chicago and promote social justice.
What do you enjoy about your work?
Emily: I love building trusting and collaborative partnerships with youth and families through my work as a counselor. My work at Farragut is really fun and rewarding because it allows me to support youth in setting academic, career, or social/emotional goals and working toward achieving them.
What is unique about the curriculum you developed?
Emily: . . . As a Schweitzer fellow, I plan [to] expand Enlace’s existing family support group [GREAT Families] to include early childhood social emotional learning. My hope for this program is that it will build social emotional vocabulary, expression, and problem-solving skills among children ages 5-8. Such knowledge provides a foundation for youth to establish positive relationships, develop healthy self-esteem, and cope constructively with challenging situations they encounter in school and in their communities.
What are your plans for the future?
Emily: When I graduate [Emily is a graduate student at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration], I would love to continue to develop and implement programs to support youth and families in Chicago.
What drives your work?
I am passionate about supporting youth and families and advocating for strong public education as a vehicle for social justice.