3 Questions with Maria Valentin, MSS

Maria Valentin, MSS, LSW - Greenwood Elementary

What drew you to the position?

“I have always been interested in programs that offer greater accessibility to mental health services.  Mental health services in public schools offer greater accessibility to minority and underserved populations.  When I read the posting for this role, I knew I had to try and get an interview.  After interviewing, I knew I would accept the job if offered.  Specifically, for Family Services, I love the ability to have latitude in how I practice my craft.”

How has your school’s community supported you in providing services to students? 

“First and foremost, Greenwood Elementary has been super welcoming of me.  Secondly, they have given me the pragmatic resources to integrate into their community.  Thirdly, they have taken the time to educate themselves regarding my role.  As boundary and role issues come up, they have offered an open dialogue to work through issues. I appreciate their efforts.”

One piece of advice you would give to Latinx kids struggling with mental health:

“I would have to say that it takes strength to ask for help.  Asking for help is not a weakness.  Culturally, many Latinx kids feel like they are weak if they need help.  Putting on a bravado is common for a lot of kids.  Often Latinx kids get the message that to be brave they need to handle things on their own.  I want to validate that feeling and help restructure it to:  it is brave to ask for help; it is a strength.”