Thursday, Jul 30, 2020
Koa Goode, a case manager supervisor at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc., has been honored by the National Exchange Club for her work in combating child abuse. Over the years Goode has worked with more than 300 at-risk families and often receives some of the most challenging cases referred to the program.
Goode manages the Parent Aide program within GLCAC’s Michael B. Christensen Community and Family Support Center, a child abuse prevention program accredited by the National Exchange Clubs and serving the entire Merrimack Valley. The affiliation between GLCAC and the Exchange Clubs has enhanced the service delivery and financial support to families using a parent-aide model.
“Koa brings insight, knowledge and compassion to her work,’’ said Evelyn Friedman, GLCAC’s Executive Director. “She is an innovative parent aide who is committed to the success of each family.’’
The National Parent Aide of the Year Award honors a social worker who demonstrates creative work with families, exemplary skill at engaging families in services, and leadership. Goode received the 2020 National Parent Aide of the Year Award during the Exchange Club’s national convention held via webinar the weekend of July 25.
“Koa recognizes when a family has a unique need,’’ said Annmary Connor, GLCAC’s Director of Social Service. “It may be that she takes them out to lunch to just let them sit with her in social setting, become more relaxed and develop a sense of trust and mutual respect. Koa reads the referrals thoroughly and will find the snippet that can capture the family. She may bring them art supplies as she reads that the children love to do crafts, or securing special food or diapers that the family needs, but never asked. Koa works with these challenging families with compassion and respect.’’
Goode, who is bilingual and bi-cultural, grew up in Lawrence and attended the Arlington School before moving to Methuen. She attended Methuen High School, where she first got involved in GLCAC through the agency’s Teachers of the Future program. The program focused on supporting high school seniors to learn more about the field of Early Childhood Education.
She later became the program coordinator while attending Wheelock College studying education.
After graduating in 2005, she has since held several positions in social services, including at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Lawrence Area Office as a social worker. In 2014, she started as a case manager at GLCAC’s Community and Family Support Center, which provides services to families that are typically involved with DCF.
Goode works to strengthen a parent's ability to manage stress, learn about their child's needs, increase their social supports, and access resources and services in the community via one on one case management or groups.
“The favorite part of my job is seeing the growth families experience when they are encouraged and supported,’’ Goode said. “I enjoy partnering with families and becoming their ally as they strive to make changes that change their lives for the better.’’
The National Exchange Club is the only service organization exclusively serving communities in the United States. Currently, Exchange has more than 630 local clubs and 18,000 members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The National Exchange Club officially adopted the prevention of child abuse as its National Project in 1979.
GLCAC is a multi-faceted social services agency that assists 32,648 individuals through a range of programs including early childhood education, fuel assistance, WIC nutrition assistance, immigration services, lead poisoning prevention, child abuse prevention, English-language lessons, and consumer protection.