March is National Social Work Month, and Children’s Aid is proud of our social work staff for their tireless efforts in the communities we serve. Every week in March, we will shine a light on one of our very own social workers, caseworkers, case planners, and family advocates, all of whom are fulfilling the organization’s mission to help children and their families succeed and thrive. This week we put the spotlight on Evelyn Zambrano.
Evelyn started her Children’s Aid journey as a parent of a student at our Frederick Douglass Early Childhood Center.
Now, she is the Regional Family Services Director for all 10 of our early childhood sites where she oversees 34 Family Advocates.
Evelyn became a Family Advocate in 2008, helping connect families to critical services like healthcare and guidance on applying for public benefits. She said empathy and resilience are essential traits for the role.
“Many of our Family Advocates come from the same communities or have shared experiences so that empathy that they are able to provide is amazing,” she said. “To me, it’s about having that compassion but it’s also about being resilient.”
Evelyn received a masters degree in social work at Hunter College while continuing to be a Family Advocate. She said her own experience with Family Advocates at the Frederick Douglass Early Childhood Center drove her to pursue her career.
“It was a safe place for my kid but it also felt like a really safe place for me, where I could go to if I was struggling with something or if I just wanted to check in and talk with somebody,” she said. “Seeing how much of a difference having a family advocate made in my life – I wanted to be that person for somebody.”
Though she doesn’t directly work with families anymore, Evelyn is an essential resource for current family advocates at our sites. She trains new hires, coaches those who need extra support with high needs cases, and analyzes trends in the social work field to make sure our staff is up to date.
Evelyn’s experience as a family advocate has allowed her to flourish in her role as the Regional Family Services Director.
“I was in this role for many years, so I have this really true understanding of what it’s like from day to day and a really clear understanding of what our mission is,” she said.