APU Department of Social Work Presents "College is for Everyone!" Workshop

by Lauren Vroom '09

On June 11, APU’s Department of Social Work partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) as they hosted a three-hour workshop, “College is for Everyone: Accessing Resources for Teens with Learning Disabilities.” Though the workshop predominately targeted DCFS social workers, it was applicable for anyone who works with learning disabled youth, such as psychologists, marriage and family counselors, youth pastors, teachers, and school counselors.

Wilden Hall filled with representatives from these occupations as Jennifer McLeod, disabled students programs and services coordinator, counselor, and learning disabilities specialist at Citrus College, started off the morning with a presentation entitled “Qualifying, Applying, and Understanding Disabled Student Services in Community Colleges.” McLeod emphasized the goal of providing students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a broad range of educational activities. She touched on raising awareness about the difficulty of the transition from K-12 education to a college setting, and identified the tools available to students at most community colleges once the student has successfully made the leap.

Following a short recess, Rosemary Harrahill, educational liaison for the DCFS, spoke directly to the social work crowd with her presentation “The Clinical Social Worker’s (CSW) Role in Assisting Learning Disabled Youth Transition to College.”

“Education is the only way out, “Harrahill emphasized throughout her presentation. She focused on the social worker practicing early intervention with their client, talking to them about college as a viable option at ages as early as 14 or 15 years old.

Gayle Parker-Tate and Phyllis Wilcher, independent living coordinators for DCFS, close out the presentations with “What’s New with the Independent Living Program (ILP)?” They shared about new and existing resources available for teens looking to emancipate and begin living on their own. This applies to many children in the foster care system as they reach adulthood.

A question and answer session with all the presenters finished off this informative morning of tips and resources, providing social workers, educators, and counselors the skills to better perform their calling of offering a brighter future to youth in need.