In May, JCCA talked with Jill Mullings a Parent Advocate and Outreach Coordinator for the Family Resource Center. Our conversation touched on her history with JCCA and why she was inspired to take on this role. It has been edited for clarity and length.
What is your title and in what division of JCCA do you work?
I am an Outreach Coordinator and a Parent Advocate in the Family Resource Center (FRC)
How long have you been with JCCA, and what brought you here?
I am an Outreach Coordinator since 2017 and a Parent Advocate from 2015 to current time.
I came to JCCA about 15 years ago due to my involvement with ACS. I needed services to support my daughter as well as myself. We accepted the Bridges to Health (B2H) service that JCCA offered. It was a great program. It helped my daughter and I strengthen our relationship. The program was strength based, and the worker made sure everything was done inclusively instead of being told what to do, and how I should handle my daughter. The last thing I needed was an “outsider” telling me anything, especially on how to handle my family, but the worker was patient, understanding, very respectful, and an excellent listener. I was impressed with her professionalism, and because of that, it inspired me to become an Advocate. I knew then that I wanted to help families the way she was able to help mine. I became a foster mother and an adopted parent. I adopted seven of the most amazing children. At first it was very challenging, but the therapeutic training and services I received helped me to be a better foster/adoptive parent.
What is your day-to-day like?
My regular day as an Outreach Coordinator will consist of answering phone calls, emails, connecting with other community groups and organizations to see what services they need from us and what they have to offer our clients. I also attend community functions sponsored by schools, other agencies, ACS, and other organizations, to which I will table our department flyers.
As a Parent Advocate, I support and advocate for families during Initial Child Safety Conferences with ACS. Many families are afraid of ACS but trust their Advocates, because we have lived experience. They understand we are there for them, and to support them during the process. Advocates are non-judgmental!
Do you work with other colleagues or divisions in your work? Would you describe it as collaborative?
Collaboration within any organization and in the community is the key for success, in fact my day-to-day functioning depends on it. Whether it’s outreaching or supporting a family during a conference, I have to be able to work collectively with others as a team.
Why do you feel your work is important?
My work is important because people are important to me.
What is something you accomplished lately at work that you are proud of?
I was able to compile a resource file filled with anything and everything families needed to help them through this difficult time. Personally, I also participated in community organizations that distributed foods and other items to families. It felt good knowing that in spite of this pandemic I was able to support families.
Any advice for people considering doing what you do?
I think being an Outreach Coordinator or a Parent Advocate is one of the most rewarding jobs a person can have. You have to love people and want to do this kind of work. You must be passionate, willing, and be able to work well with people who may not always agree with you or see your point of view.