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Pamela Story Named N.C. Homeless Liaison of the Year
Another Cumberland County Schools (CCS) educator has been recognized at the state level for her contributions to help students succeed in the classroom and beyond. During a surprise virtual announcement at a North Carolina Homeless Education leadership team meeting, Pamela Story was named the North Carolina Homeless Liaison of the Year. Story currently serves as the Social Work Coordinator/Homeless Liaison for CCS, a role that she has held for the past 11 years.
Several of Story’s colleagues, and even her daughter, participated in the surprise announcement via Zoom, along with members of the North Carolina Homeless Education leadership team. The announcement definitely caught Story by surprise. She often works in the background, quietly coordinating significant services and resources to help students and families who are in need. But today, the spotlight was on her and the many contributions that she brings to the students and families in Cumberland County and across the state.
Story’s role in the district requires her to wear many hats. She prioritizes immediate enrollment for students in transition and provides a strong voice for all students, especially unaccompanied homeless youth. She also provides consultation and technical support for school social work, attendance, child maltreatment, foster care, dropout prevention and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act. Prior to serving in her current role, she was a school social worker at Westover Middle School for many years. Her social work experience also includes child welfare and mental health.
“Through the years, my heart has been captured by children in transition who, through no fault of their own, still manage to survive and even thrive,” said Story. She acknowledges that it can be challenging to work collaboratively with federal programs, transportation, child nutrition services, Prime Time, Academically/Intellectually Gifted Program (AIG), administrators, and central office staff on an ongoing basis, but she considers this to be a labor of love.
And her work does not stop there. When many people leave the office to go home for the day, you can often find Story out in the community serving on numerous local or state boards, pulling together resources to support the needs of students, or responding to an emergency need of a family. She believes outreach with community stakeholders is a must to help her program be successful.
Story also serves as a mentor to new homeless liaisons, a support person for the district and the state office, and a dedicated member of the North Carolina Homeless Education leadership team. She has a proven track record in Cumberland County and across the state of being a strong and vocal advocate for children.
“While she has many talents and gifts, Ms. Story is a phenomenal ambassador of the school district and the social work profession,” said Dr. Natasha Scott, the executive director of CCS Student Services, who nominated Story for the award. “Building rapport with others is a major strength for Ms. Story. She cultivates relationships and partnerships to assist with addressing the basic and academic needs of students experiencing homelessness. She sees the importance of addressing the big and small needs of students when it comes to education and embraces her ability to eliminate barriers and create opportunities for students. Ms. Pamela Story is very deserving of this recognition.”
Because of her recognition at the state level, Story will now go on to compete for the National Homeless Liaison of the Year honor.