Willow’s social worker Lynn Calhoun gave hugs, support to students

Lynn Calhoun has loved helping little ones at Willow School get comfortable with their new environment.
 
  Lynn Calhoun
 
“In the beginning of the year there are always some kids that just miss their mommies too much and those are my favorites.  They come here and sit in my lap and I tell them I’ll be their mom at school. Usually it doesn’t take too long” for them to adapt, said Calhoun, the social worker at Willow School in Homewood.
 
When the Homewood resident decided four years ago that June 2019 would be her retirement date, she didn’t really give it much thought. Now that it’s here, she realizes leaving will be difficult.
 
A school setting “is a great environment and I’m part of the Willow family. We all work together wonderfully,” Calhoun said.
 
Even as Calhoun laughs that “nobody thanks me for helping them learn to read,” former students have come up to her remembering she’s the person who calmed them down when they were in tears.
 
Her role as a social worker is demanding. It’s on her shoulders to make certain the 650 students at Willow get the special services they need. 
 
Calhoun works with a teacher who may recognize a student’s special education problem or physical issue. From there, she sets up meetings and does assessments, shares information with parents and staff and gets the student on the path to assistance.
 
For some kindergarten students it’s learning how to share, work in a group and be kind.
 
Her schedule is full of meetings, and her days are usually over at 6 or 7 p.m. when she completes the day’s paperwork. Calhoun takes it in stride because “it’s part of what you have to do, but it gets that child to the services they need.”
 
She’s got a closet crammed with backpacks, supplies and cast-off clothes that she shares with kids.
 
In the 34 years Calhoun’s been a District 153 staff member, she knows the job of a social worker “has changed a lot from where I started to where it is now. It’s just the world has changed.” And, she adds, today there are more working parents and grandparents raising grandkids.  
 
“You’ve got to think outside the box a lot and just go with the flow,” she stressed.
 
Calhoun isn’t sure what her days will bring. She has out-of-state relatives to visit, and she enjoys spending time in the garden, but she wouldn’t be adverse to being a volunteer at Willow next year.
 
“I’ll probably be up here reading to the kindergarteners. It gets in your blood,” she said.
 

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