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EDCOE Team Member Spotlight - Chris Belmer

00:00 AM - May 19, 2020

EDCOE Team Member Spotlight, Chris Belmer, Mental Helath Clinician, Special Services

Interview with Chris:

Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).

I was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and grew up with 3 brothers and 5 sisters. My parents taught me strong values of compassion for others, volunteerism, and giving back to the community. This led me to my chosen career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have worn many hats as a social worker: beginning as a residential aide in a community based program for disabled kids, to an ongoing worker in CPS, and eventually moving into more treatment-oriented positions.

My husband Kevin, son Keenan, and I moved to Sacramento in 1998, when my husband was offered a position at Sac State. Our youngest child, Hannah, was born in 1999. We have always chosen to live with property around, and we landed in Placerville in February of 2000. By this time in my career I had been providing Mental Health counseling in schools for 4 years and was hired on with New Morning Youth and Family Services to provide onsite therapy at most of the BOMUSD schools. After 14 years of service with New Morning and changes in the provision of these services in schools, I sought a position with EDCOE as the Mental Health Clinician in the LEAD Program.

What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?

I was hired as Mental Health Clinician, Special Services, in November 2014.

Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.

My position is to provide individual and group counseling support to all students (K-8) in our 3 LEAD classrooms; provide parent education, support, and help in accessing community resources; provide support and guidance to the team of teachers and staff as we work to build Social Emotional Skills in our students and develop an understanding of how their mental health and other unique challenges impact their ability to learn and grow; and, participate as a team member in continued development of LEAD Program.

What are you and your team doing to support education in El Dorado County during the COVID-19 facility closures?

During this Covid-19 school closure, our teachers, staff, and service providers have worked tirelessly to extend our individual and collective support to families as they struggle to meet the demands of supporting their children’s learning in a whole new way at home. While some have had limited experience in distance learning platforms, I have been so impressed by our collaboration, creative ideas about providing services, reaching out and supporting our students and families, and the willingness of staff to learn these new ways ourselves so that we can support parents and students. It’s a work in progress indeed, and our team has stepped up to the challenge! As I reflect back on what success means to me, it’s clear that we have built a community of support that is carrying us all through this “crisis” and will serve us well into the future.

What do you most appreciate about your department/team?

The LEAD team is collaborative and always there for one another. Everyone is passionate about taking care of our students and families. We are creative about reaching our students, and we never give up. We’ve got GRIT!

What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?

I would say it’s been during this stay-at-home time period. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with teachers and speech therapists to provide support for our students/parents throughout this challenging time. It has really become a very creative moment as we find new ways to provide services via distance learning. It’s really a “proud of all moment” versus a “me moment.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to try new things, like axe throwing with my fellow board members at a conference J. I enjoy being outdoors hiking, exploring nature, kayaking, and camping with friends.

What is something many people may not know about you?

I have been a proud member of the Placerville Union School District Board since December 2013. Our school administrators are very hardworking, and we have extremely dedicated staff. Our Family Resource Center helps to provide basic needs to our families, and the Placer Food Bank helps by distributing fresh produce at Markham School. It is a district that feels more like a family because we truly care for one another.

If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

This was a tough questions to answer because I have been inspired by several individuals who have made a difference in others’ lives.  Three come to mind:

Ghandi for his vision of peace, freedom and civil rights; Maya Angelou for her heart, passion and use of artistic expression to further humanity; and, Sister Theresa for her caring service to others, regardless of circumstance.

From supervisor, Amy Andersen, Executive Director, Special Services, and Patrick Paturel, Special Services Administrator:

As the Therapist for the EDCOE LEAD Program, Chris plays a critical role in working with students and their families to meet the emotional and behavioral needs of students. Students in the LEAD program require extensive support to meet their emotional and behavioral Individual Education Plan goals. As the mental health support provider for these students Chris is working directly with each student and is an integral part of our students’ school program. Chris is passionate and purposeful in seeking to meet the unique needs of each and every student in our LEAD Program. The best part is that students love going to meet with Ms. Chris.  Students regard Ms. Chris as a person who understands them and because of this understanding she is very effective in helping the students learn and grow. Chris splits her time with students in Kindergarten through 8th grade located in two classrooms at Gold Trail School and one classroom at Silva Valley Elementary School.  Chris is part of a highly effective team of LEAD Program Staff doing very challenging work with students who make great strides as a result of the collective hard work and commitment of staff, families, and the individual students. We are extremely fortunate to have someone like Chris who loves her work and knows that her work is making a difference every day in the lives of kids!

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