Employee of the Month: Jennifer Hansen-Silva, Social Worker

How long have you been with EA? What roles have you had? Jennifer Hansen-Silva

14 years this June! At EA, I've worn a few different hats. I started off as a Transporter, making sure clients got where they needed to be safely and on time. That gig really clued me into what our clients need and how our operations run.

Then, I switched gears to become a Social Worker Assistant. Spent a solid four years backing up our social work crew in all sorts of ways. Did everything from helping with client assessments to managing cases and keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.

After that, I stepped up to be the Office Manager at our Jackson office. Ran the show day-to-day, kept the team in check, and made sure all the admin stuff ran like a well-oiled machine. Spent two years in that role, tweaking processes and making sure everyone was happy and productive.

Now, I'm deep into my fourth year as a full-on Social Worker. I get to dive right in and help our clients deal with their toughest problems, connecting them with the help they need. It's where all my experience and skills come together to really make a difference in people's lives.

What originally made you want to work with EA?

My journey with EA Family Services is deeply rooted in personal experience. During my senior year of high school, I found myself in foster care, and it was through the support of EA Family Services that I began to navigate through those challenging times.
Having walked in the shoes of a foster child, I developed a profound understanding of the struggles and uncertainties that accompany such circumstances. This firsthand experience instilled in me a strong sense of empathy and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others facing similar challenges.

Motivated by my own journey, I felt compelled to join EA Family Services and contribute to their mission of supporting foster children and families. Drawing upon my own experiences, I aim to establish genuine connections with the children we serve, letting them know that they are not alone and that there is someone who understands their journey.

In essence, my personal background has shaped my professional aspirations, allowing me to bring a unique perspective and level of empathy to my role within EA Family Services. It's a privilege to be able to give back and make a meaningful impact in the lives of those who may be experiencing the same struggles I once faced.

Describe what your best day on the job looks like:

Some of my most rewarding days at EA involve a dynamic mix of responsibilities. Mornings typically begin with seeing the infants on my case load, setting a positive tone for the day. Attending CFT meetings allows for collaborative problem-solving and enhanced support for our clients. Later in the afternoon, I prioritize visits to my school-aged clients, providing them with the necessary support and guidance. However, the highlight of my role remains the home visits, as they affirm that the children are in safe environments conducive to growth, support, and healing.

What do you wish people knew about working in your field?

In the realm of social work, it's essential for people to grasp the profound influence of trauma on a client's mental, emotional, and physical health. Trauma fundamentally reshapes the brain's chemistry, resulting in a myriad of difficulties for individuals. Despite the challenges inherent in working with traumatized children, understanding the impact of trauma stands as a cornerstone for social workers. By acknowledging the intricacies of trauma, social workers can provide more effective support to their clients, delivering personalized assistance that addresses their specific needs and situations.

How do you practice self care?

Maintaining my well-being is paramount, and I prioritize self-care as an essential aspect of my daily routine. This encompasses a variety of practices, including physical exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, and engaging in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Additionally, I find solace in daily Somatic movement release and make it a point to spend time in nature whenever possible. These practices not only rejuvenate me but also equip me with the resilience and clarity needed to effectively support my clients in their journey toward healing and growth.

What's a hidden talent you have, or something about yourself that would surprise most people?

Many people are surprised to learn that amidst my dedication to hard rock guitar practice, I also lead sacred cacao ceremonies and operate as a Holistic Health Practitioner. In my practice, I offer diverse modalities such as hypnotherapy, reiki, and sound healing, alongside other holistic approaches. Furthermore, I find fulfillment in my role as the founder and co-owner of NorCal Goddess Retreats, where we curate empowering and spiritually enriching experiences for women. It's a blend of passions and talents that often catches people off guard, but it's where I find immense joy and fulfillment.