Staff Spotlight: Kelly Holroyd
As the newest addition to the team, Kelly Holroyd joins EPIC as a Licensed Master Social Worker, soon to be Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Read on to learn more about her years of expertise in clinical and education settings, her philosophy in working with students and families, and her plans to grow and enrich EPIC’s therapeutic program.
How did you get your start in the social work field?
Through my college, I volunteered at a clinic for Youth Anxiety and Related Disorders, which gave me a taste of working with young adults and adolescents. This experience, in addition to summer volunteer work, prompted my decision to go to graduate school for social work. A large part of social work school was looking at the big picture and acknowledging how our environments and systems impact us on an individual level.
Also, I believe my interest in social work really stems from a desire to help individuals in ways that end up being beneficial in the long run. Both of these aspects of social work really resonated with me, and I wanted to continue that.
What inspired you to work with elementary school students?
There are a few reasons. First, I think when we can build a strong foundation at a young age, it can make a huge difference and really help people as they grow up. I believe prevention and stepping in early before things get harder is key for us as a society, rather than only trying to do good things later on. For instance, as I was a little bit of an anxious kid, I had some really great teachers and interactions that helped me be more confident and set myself up to do better later in life. Also, in my experience working with adults, you often hear stories of their childhoods and always wish something had been different and could have helped them then. Lastly, kids are very imaginative and fun! I think having the ability to play in my work is awesome. I don’t think there are many settings where you can play and it’s part of your job.
What is a key takeaway from your past experience working in education and social work?
Through my experiences in education and social work, I’ve learned that it’s really important to not underestimate people. Kids are so incredibly resilient and can understand much more than we, adults, often give them credit for. For example, in my previous work, I counseled students who had had really difficult times, and they’re so much stronger than adults often think they are. We need to really honor that kids can and will meet the expectations that are set for them. When I was in school and someone was interested in me and treated me like a whole person, that went so far.
What is your philosophy in working with students and their families?
To always be curious and really start with asking questions and getting to know the students and their families. I like having a collaborative approach. I think it’s important to meet people where they are at, be very curious, and make sure that we are all learning and growing. I know I have learned so much from the students and families that I have worked with. Also, it’s okay if something doesn’t work. It’s okay to say, ‘Let’s revise this. Let’s go back and figure out what works for us.’
What are your responsibilities at EPIC?
Some of my main responsibilities will be pushing into classrooms to provide emotional and behavioral support and collaborating to lead social skills groups. I’ll be connecting with families to discuss the concerns and strengths for students at home and to develop strategies to use both at school and at home.
What kinds of therapeutic interventions are you hoping to implement?
One thing I would like to expand upon is bringing in more mindfulness and attunement to feelings. I also want to create a strong vocabulary to express how we are feeling in the moment in a way that is helpful to the person and safe for everyone else. Also, I hope to bring in more coping skills for communicating and expressing our needs.
What are you looking forward to during your first semester at EPIC?
I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the students and their families. I really enjoy building those relationships, so that’s exciting. In the past, I worked at a larger public elementary and middle school, and there was no way to get to know every individual, so it’s very exciting to be able to have conversations with every single student.
What else should the EPIC community know about you?
I have a cat named Mr. Darcy. I enjoy doing yoga, going to parks, and reading. Also, I painted all of the murals that are currently in the EPIC library!