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WI Social Worker Jacqueline Sanchez-Young Recognized with Prestigious Award

Washington Irving’s beloved Jacqueline Sanchez-Young was recognized as the 2022 Ruth Schwartz School Social Worker of the year.  The award is given annually to a social worker who exemplifies the qualities that Ruth Schwartz demonstrated throughout her career as a social worker who was dedicated to helping the children and families in her care while promoting the role of a School Social Worker. The plaque reads "in appreciation of your commitment to the field of social work and your dedication to the children and families we serve.”

“Oh my goodness, I have no words!” replied Ms. Sanchez-Young when asked for her response upon receiving the award at the annual NYSSSWA conference in November. It was especially exciting given it was the first time she had ever attended the conference. “I am so humbled, I truly was not expecting this!”

Ms. Sanchez-Young, who was nominated for the award by the Washington Irving administrators, was described during her induction as being “authentic, genuine and compassionate - and truly the heart of the WI building.” 

Ms. Sanchez-Young has been a fixture in the lower schools of the Tarrytowns for more than 20 years. She started her career as a psychotherapist in Brooklyn and Queens and transitioned to working with school age children after she had her own child. Joining the district in 2001, she has spent her entire career as a school social worker in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns. “I loved it here from the start, and I never left,” said Ms. Sanchez-Young.

In her role, she services the students and families in a vast array of areas that demand sensitivity and a delicate touch from dealing with grief or divorce, to even trauma.  Her love of helping some of TUFSD’s youngest students and families is clearly a passion. She explained that school social workers bridge the communication between the student, family and teacher to help explain why a child in that moment might not be reaching a benchmark as a student. “We try to understand why a student is not achieving growth in a time frame that others might,” said Sanchez-Young, adding “It's my goal to bring a well-rounded, wholesome approach to students' success.”

As a bilingual social worker Ms. Sanchez-Young has found it extremely important in her ability to communicate with the students and their families and help to articulate to the teachers what is going on in a particular circumstance. “Being a Spanish speaker has been immeasurable, just so helpful and necessary,” she said.

School social workers services are in need now more than ever after the pandemic Ms. Shanchez Young mentioned.  “Truthfully we could use more, everywhere, not just here because the impact Covid had on the younger generation is so great and anxiety is so high for both our students and their families,” she added. “To succeed moving forward so many need support, because we are still seeing the effects on little ones.” 

Ms. Sanchez-Young’s efforts have extended beyond counseling into the Tarrytown community, playing an integral role in the Gently Used Clothing Sale and, this holiday season, through a gift drive. Families and children who normally wouldn’t be receiving gifts, will enjoy that opportunity  due to her efforts of pairing a corporate donor with families in need.  “It’s such a highlight to know these families will have gifts this season,” said Sanchez-Young.

“I love the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow communities.  I just love what I do, and the impact I can have and helping families and children,” said Sanchez-Young. “Again, I am so humbled!”

Read more about Ms. Sanchez-Young’s successes on the NYSSSWA 2022 School Social Worker of the Year website.