Social Work and Community Advocacy
Updated: May 27, 2020
Phenomenal Woman in Social Work and Community Advocacy
Jennifer Beckham found her passion for working with children at Warren Sharpe Community Center in Joliet, IL. She worked in their after-school program while simultaneously attending Lewis University in 2000. It was there that she realized she enjoyed working with children and that doing so was her calling. She graduated in 2004 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Resource Management.
Her first job after graduation was as a Crisis Counselor for a program called SASS (Screening, Assessments and Support Services). She provided therapy and crisis intervention for children who were homicidal or suicidal. While working in SASS, she determined that she wanted to be better equipped to support the needs of the children. So, she decided to go back to school to get her Master in Social Work as a part-time student at Aurora University. She worked full time, went to school at night, and completed her internship on the weekends all while being a single mom. She worked diligently to finish her master’s program and completed her Master in Social Work in 2011 with a 3.8 GPA.
At the time she received her master’s degree, she was also working at SEAL South Therapeutic Day School and has now worked there for 11 years. In 2012, she was promoted to a Supervisor at SEAL South where she helps students learn appropriate ways to manage their behaviors by creating programming to support the needs of the students. In addition to supervising/training a staff of 27 on de-escalation techniques, rapport building strategies, and crisis intervention, she also supports the day-to-day function of the school. In 2018 Jennifer left SEAL and is currently working at Michelle Obama School of the Technology and of the Arts as the School Social Worker.
Outside of her career at SEAL South, Jennifer works as a Child and Family Therapist at Ada S. McKinley and a Therapeutic Mentor at Camelot Cares. She has spent over 18 years in the mental health field while learning, adapting, and implementing programs that support positive behavior and working to understand and support the needs of our youth and families as a whole. Her passion is helping others learn how to push past their current situation and find their resilience.
Jennifer is a survivor and an advocate against domestic violence. She uses her platform to share her story and speak out against abuse. She also provides support for women who have the desire to leave an abusive relationship. Her story has helped women feel confident to speak up about their abuse, leave the shame behind and get help to get out. She was nominated and selected for the 40 under 40 young professional league awardees because of her work and service in her community. She received the President Volunteer and Service Award from President Barack Obama in 2016 for all of her services and volunteering in her community.
Please consider making a donation to the Reaching Back Foundation in Jennifer Beckham's name. Visit www.reachingbackfound.com to donate.