This article was written by Alyce Bradshaw, a high school student in the Journalism class
One early morning, Erika Moore was driving to an early morning meditation in the Pacific Northwest. She approached a corner in the wooded neighborhood, when she had an instinct that she needed to slow down.
As she came around a corner she saw a huge, beautiful cougar crossing the road. If she hadn’t slowed down then she would have hit it.“That moment meant so much to me,” Erika said. “Around being a human, and having to coexist with these animals.”
Erika Moore started at U-32 last March as the new School Social Worker. Her job description includes “doing short term solution-focused psychotherapy, as well as crisis intervention, and to provide professional development to the staff of this campus.”
Erika grew up in Oakland, California where she was surrounded by different cultures. Growing up in a diverse area has deeply impacted her and her work. She had access to multicultural learning which has helped her to understand the needs and situations of different minorities in the US.
Her childhood wasn’t privileged, but she has grown and learned from her unfortunate circumstances. This has made her able to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences.
She believes that her training to become a social worker started in elementary school, specifically, ”How to respect people, be an advocate, and stand for what is right.”
In high school, Erika was inclusive of all people. She was friends with people no matter their age, body shape, or economic status. She helped and supported each of her peers.
Erika moved from Oakland, California to the Pacific Northwest because she wanted to experience more rain. The area is very monocultural and she looked different from everyone else. She had to learn how to interact with people in a different way. “After living there for less than a year,” she said. “I realized, this is about something much bigger than rain.”
Erika values energy and positivity. She starts her day at U-32 by blasting music to get her energy up. She works hard to encourage her students to be positive and grateful.
As a Black woman, Erika loves being a different face at U-32. She strives to be someone who can change minds, perspectives, and hearts by being who she is. She honors her ancestors and is grateful that they sacrificed their lives which made it possible for her to be a social worker in Vermont.
Erika’s challenging upbringing has helped her to help others who are struggling. “As a social worker I can empathize with some of those populations, and those people who have had it harder and not lived a life of entitlement,” Erika said. “I can resonate with them and then I can draw from my strengths to help and support their resilience.”