Laura Schooley, Student Services Manager, celebrated her 10-year anniversary with The Guild last month! We sat down with Laura to chat about her professional experiences and what motivates her in her role.
What roles have you held with The Guild?
I started at The Guild as an Assistant Residential Manager of what eventually became Cedar House. I then became the Residential Manager there and moved on to help open and manage Dedham House in our adult program. I've also had the role of Associate Residential Director in the youth program and am currently the Student Services Manager.
What drew you to the field of human services?
From the time I was in elementary school, I knew that I wanted to work with people with disabilities when I "grew up." I had a friend who had cerebral palsy and could not speak (using words, anyway!). My friendship with him led me to spend a lot of time hanging out in the Special Education room, which I thought was the coolest place on earth. When I turned 18, I started working at my first residential school and then went on to study Occupational Therapy/Special Education/ASL and Deaf studies in college. I've just never been drawn to anything else. I enjoy helping students and young adults develop independent living and self-advocacy skills. Seeing them progress over the years is amazing.
What do you find rewarding about the work you do in your role?
Much of my role in Student Services is about building and maintaining connections, whether it be between families and The Guild, outside agencies like DCF or DDS, or sometimes even our students and their family members. There's something cool about helping bring people together. Another thing that's important to me in my role is that I can ensure that students have what they need - clothes and shoes that fit, iPads to communicate, leisure activities to use at the houses, you name it.
What's the best piece of professional advice you've been given?
Don’t bring your work phone on vacation! It’s good for your mental health to disconnect from your job sometimes.