From a tiny-yet-tidy office at a homeless shelter, Connie Crosby does the kind of work that requires a soft heart and backbone of steel. Yet it’s here, in the trenches of the war against poverty, that Crosby has helped countless homeless children feel that, while they may not have a home, in her they will always have a safe place to go.
Crosby, Canyons District’s homeless-student liaison, on Friday, Feb. 4 was honored with the Human Rights Award from the Utah School Counselors Association.
Crosby was lauded for her insights and professionalism in training teachers, counselors and administrators about the unique needs of children and families who are homeless. The award recognizes school counselors, educators and community members who are instrumental in human rights projects and activities.
The association also honored Dr. Chuck Foster, American Indian Education Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education, with a Human Rights Award. The awards were given to Crosby and Foster at the association’s annual conference, held at Salt Lake Community College. They both received plaques for their efforts.
Lori Jones, Canyons’ Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Coordinator, nominated Crosby for the award. Jones sings Crosby’s praises, saying that Crosby “goes above and beyond” in the call of duty in the service of an underserved population in CSD, which has the Road Home overflow shelter in its boundaries.
“Work at the homeless shelter makes the busiest day at the counseling center look like a piece of cake,” said Jones at the ceremony during which Crosby received her award. “But Connie is always willing to go the extra mile.”
Crosby, in her 11th year as a homeless liaison, has more than 1,400 students on her caseload. Not all are homeless, however. Many are without guardians temporarily, which happens in cases of children who find themselves living with a non-custodial relative. In some instances, it’s because their parents were arrested and taken to jail.
“Yes, it can be challenging,” Crosby says about her work with homeless children and their families. “But this is a job where you can really make a difference in a child’s life. It is really rewarding.”
“The work Connie does is nothing short of amazing,” says Canyons Superintendent David S. Doty. “Her insight to the needs of the children on her caseload is uniquely valuable as we strive to do what’s best for every child who lives in our District.”