Since graduating college almost 10 years ago, I, like most of my millennial friends, have been trying to figure out what I have to offer the world. Figuring out new ways to positively impact the communities where I reside and also to aid those organizations that are already established there to do just that has always fascinated me.
The COMPASS Corner blog is an opportunity for COMPASS staff to share their knowledge and experience about a variety of topics in the special education and human services fields. Posts will be about an area staff are an expert in, what motivates them to do this work, a success story from a student/client, etc.
As of April 1, COMPASS started a new chapter – installing Laura Lajewski as the Executive Director after John Lydon retired. Recently, Gregg Grenier, Development and Communications Manager, got a chance to ask Laura some questions to help COMPASS’ family get to know her even better.
COMPASS Family Specialist Danilson Santos and Clinician Sandrine Cardoso work together to help unite families and put at-risk youth on a better path. The team splits the work by their specialties – Danilson focuses on the youth while Sandrine works with the parent(s). One of their most memorable success stories, according to Danilson, involved a teenage boy who completely turned his life around by working with COMPASS’ Community Services program.
When I was in college working towards my undergraduate degree, something drew me towards social work. I knew I wanted to help people and use my own experiences to relate to others. Giving back to the community has been at the forefront of my mind for as long as I can remember, and that passion drew me to COMPASS.
COMPASS staff value highlighting students’ positive experiences at the School, and one student’s progress stands out as exemplary. When Sam first started attending the School, they refused to engage in academic and clinical work, had trouble trusting adults, and consistently used profane language.
When you’re young, you believe that when you get older, you will have to make a choice between one path or another. The truth is, the journey of life is comprised of a multitude of paths with infinite outcomes. I, for instance, have had my fair share of struggles throughout my life, but am ultimately grateful for the wisdom I gained walking those difficult paths that currently guides me through the path I am on.
February 1st, 2019 marked the first day of my 37th year at COMPASS! As I wrote this post, I quickly realized it would be impossible to express the impact COMPASS has had on my life in 500 words or less. So instead I chose five words that encompass the many highs and lows that I, along with my co-workers and students, have experienced over this time.
In September 2017, the COMPASS School saw an exciting new addition: a brand new Sensory Room. Occupational Therapist (OT), Kelly Laurendi, designed the Sensory Room to be a safe and sensory-supportive environment for students to explore and practice self-regulation strategies. Kelly specializes in social and emotional learning, sensory processing, task analysis, assistive technology, and activity and environmental modifications.
My director, Margy Nicholson, asked me a year and a half ago to attend a meeting in Lowell, a task force to fight the commercial sexual exploitation of children. After the first meeting, I realized that I needed to take part in something to help educate people and help children who are caught up in this horrible circle.