School counselor connects with students despite struggles of pandemic

School counselor connects with students despite struggles of pandemic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The ongoing stress, fear, grief, and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic can wear anyone down, but children and teens may have an especially tough time.

Many don’t have access to other people or resources.

One JCPS school counselor is trying to keep in touch with her students to get them through this unusual time.

Students at Atherton High School refer to Tinika Campbell as “Momma Campbell.”

“She was a mother figure to me,” Josiah Price, an Atherton graduate said. “She kept me straight. Without her, I don’t know what I would be doing right now.”

Price is now a sophomore at Hocking College in Ohio. One of the people who got him there was Campbell.

“She made sure I was on top of my work (and) my grades were alright,” Price said. “She supported me in everything I did.“

Said Campbell: ”I lead with love. There are a lot of things they struggle with that I can relate with.”

Campbell said she was 18 years old at UofL when she became a single mother. It took her 10 years to get a college degree, but she now has three of them, is nationally-board certified and currently pursuing her Ph.D. She said she wants her students to know to never give up. That message is more important now than ever before, for teens who are struggling, Campbell said.

“One of the biggest challenges is knowing our kids are hurting and not being able to get to them,” Campbell said, adding that she still does that through text, email, phone calls and virtual meetings. ”In between my last meeting and meeting with you, I’ve texted about three kids just saying, ‘Thinking about you and I wanted you to know that I love you; we are going to get through this together.’”

Cathy Hotkewicz said she has seen the impact Campbell has had on her two daughters, Lilly and Grace.

”The biggest influence Ms. Campbell has had on my children ... the investment of interest and time,” she said. “In just knowing who they are, to know their dreams, aspirations, worries.”

Price said Campbell is the reason he’s majoring in early childhood education.

”Seeing what she did for me, I just want to do that for others kids, too,” Price said.

”Kind of like your mom is in your life, they know they can always count on me,” Campbell said. “I’m going to be there ... that I’m not going to give up or let them give up.”

Campbell said she’s looking forward to being back in school where she can support her students in person. National School Counseling week is this week.

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