Susan Cohen

Daily Point of Light # 3568 Oct 8, 2007

Susan Cohen is a volunteer Parent Surrogate for all Davis students who reside at the Children’s Home. These are economically disadvantaged students; many who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and now reside in foster homes. She attends all of their eligibility staffing for Exceptional Student Education placement and reviews for individual educational plans. She volunteers two days a week in our Exceptional Student Education Center classrooms. She completes arts and craft projects, gives extra help in academic areas, completes small reading group activities and offers support for children who need to have someone listen to their needs and wants.

She not only volunteers at the school, she volunteers on the weekends at the Children’s Home. Meeting these kids initially can be frightening. Some are very emotionally distraught and disturbed. They can be abusive. She continues to try to mentor each child and consider what is best for each individual student. She takes an interest in every child. She researches every child’s file looking at their histories. She is supportive of every child no matter how difficult or challenging the student has been for her.

Everything she does is above expectation. Normally, a Parent Surrogate would just show up for meetings and become familiar with a child’s file. She gets to know every child individually and spends time with them. She volunteers in their classrooms and in their homes. She not only sets up rewards and recognitions for the students, she does it for the teachers who work with the students. She and another volunteer put together various luncheons every year for the teachers to show appreciation for their work with “her kids”. These luncheons include a gift of appreciation for each teacher. These luncheons are a huge morale boost for the Exceptional Student Education teachers and staff, and foster a strong bond between all involved with our students.

She makes certain that all birthdays and holidays are remembered. When necessary, she makes certain students have school supplies and clothing. Without her as a parent surrogate, many of these students would not receive guidance in the services they require or a parental advocate for their educational success.

She is quiet force behind every child. She never expects recognition, and in fact, is embarrassed by it. As a school, we may receive notice that a student is leaving and we have only a day or two to react or assist a student for a new school placement. We can always count on Susan. Usually with one phone call, she arrives and assists. With foster children, educational settings are so important in determining successful placements.