Michelle Roberts, MSW, ASW joined us as Family Team Manager at our pilot project site in South LA. We are fortunate enough to partner with A Community of Friends and have a satellite office at one of their buildings, which provides permanent supportive housing to 44 families. Ten families have enrolled in Imagine LA’s mentor program and are working with Michelle and their mentor teams to create and reach their goals. Some family highlights include:
- A single mom who is in school full-time, supports a son with special needs, and is exploring avenues for how she can support herself and her family through business ventures while obtaining her degree.
- Another moved into the building after completing a substance abuse program and is working hard to maintain sobriety while single parenting and struggling with mental illness.
- One dad is working full-time to support a large family and has become very valuable to his small company, adding extra hours.
- Many have experienced domestic/interpersonal violence and are working to rebuild after loss and separation.
- One family is particularly gifted with a sense of hospitality, and has created a cozy home on a minimal budget complete with plants and comfy furniture.
Beyond training and guiding the mentors and their family mentees, Michelle collaborates with the two caseworkers at the building to teach the families to advocate for themselves and understand their rights. Because the caseworkers specifically serve heads of household, Michelle fills the gap with the kids, conducting child development assessments for those younger than five and providing referrals for therapy, needed assessments, school resources, and more. She networks throughout the Compton and the South LA region to find great resources for both the parents and kids, from art therapy, to parent classes, to job skills to charter schools. Mentors will help the families utilize these resources.
Since most of her families come through the mental health system, Michelle’s professional background is a perfect match. Before coming to Imagine LA, she was a therapist in a residential treatment setting for teen girls. She earned her MSW at USC.