Lois Garland

Lois Garland

By Marcy Stamper

Room One has hired Lois Garland as Youth and Family Social Worker to help students in the school district overcome circumstances that could interfere with learning, announced Elana Mainer, the executive director at the social-service agency.

Garland will be based primarily in the public schools but will be supervised by Room One, allowing her to serve children and families at other schools and those being home-schooled.

Room One had numerous applicants for the position, said Mainer. “Garland was the most qualified and most aligned with Room One’s vision and the interests of the school district,” said Mainer. They made a final decision Oct. 18.

As the school district’s student and family advocate for the past seven years, Garland had similar responsibilities but, when all funding for that position was cut, Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable and Room One teamed up to see if there was another way to meet the needs of students facing socio-economic and related emotional hardships.

As a result of those discussions, they created and recruited for a new social worker position, which is being funded entirely by local grants and donations.

“The job will be similar in a lot of ways but, with Room One focused on the big picture of all of the needs in the community, it will really be exciting,” said Garland. “We can strengthen community health overall.”

Garland expects that one of the first things she will do is assess needs for winter clothing and boots and make sure that all children in the community are prepared for cold weather.

Garland starts Friday (Nov. 1). In addition to hours at Methow Valley Elementary School, Liberty Bell High School and the Independent Learning Center, she will perform home visits to help families access resources, said Mainer.