One of the most important processes in mentoring, coaching and consultancy is to seek out your strengths and develop new ways in which you can put these into action. For young people, it is essential that the person guiding this process has experience and understands how to support and accompany them through the changes that they wish to make and maintain. For workers in the social care sector, it is equally important that the person is someone who has an in-depth understanding of their profession, the demands that stretch their patience, and the relationships and stressors that make or break their work.
Wings for Success Coaching and Consultancy has been designed with these aspects in mind, with clear social work values, and knowledge and experience that combine to bring to you a personal and professional service highly relevant and in tune with your needs.
I have great confidence in the benefits and positive impact that our work together can have both with individuals and organisations. This confidence comes from my passion to improve social work practice for children and young people, especially in alternative care.
Bringing together quality ideas for alternative care services focused on the specific needs of Chile, meanwhile learning from international experience.
Where am I now? Publications, UNICEF and Sename.
Since 2015 I have been living and working in Chile.
All of my work has been focused on the improvement of the alternative care system. Between 2015 and 2017 I worked alongside colleagues from Hogar de Cristo in the investigation of standards for residential care. The results of this work were the formation of two new pilot children's homes, a new technical model, new standards, and the publication of the book Del Dicho al Derecho. More recently this same model of residential care has inspired Chilean Government authorities to close large scale institutions and implement family-sized residential homes.
In 2017, I spent 6 months working as the director of a girl's residential home. This experience was one of the hardest of my life, but an absolutely necessary process to be able to understand the reality of the challenges experienced in the day to day practice of Chilean residential childcare.
In 2018, I expanded into the field of foster care. With new colleagues we formed an organization called Fundación Pro Acogida, looking to promote and improve conditions for foster carers and respectively the children living with them. In April 2018, the newly installed government of Sebastian Piñera used our recommendations on foster care within the National Child Protection Agreement. During this time I was involved in lobbying with political ministers to raise awareness of foster care and foster care needs.
More recently I have been involved in the following projects:
• The principal investigator and author: Initial processes of recruitment, evaluation, training and !allocation of foster care families. (Pro Acogida, 2018).
• Co-author: Foster care a method of alternative care in the framework of the new institution of the national service of protection. (Universidad San Sebastián, 2019).
• Collaborator: Investigation of the revision and analysis of specialised foster care of the direct administration and collaborators. (UNICEF, 2019).
Since March 2019, I have been working as a consultant for UNICEF Chile, supporting SENAME (the Chilean state service for child protection), in the design of new foster care services and the redesign of existing services. This has included the design of a pilot project for recruiting and evaluating foster carers, and also the redesign of elements within the other foster care programs already in place. The work involved an international literature review, collaboration with colleagues from UNICEF and SENAME, and the writing of guidelines for the foster care programs.
Currently, I am teaching a diploma with colleagues from Pro Acogida and FOCUS in the Pontificia Universidad de Católica. The diploma is Relational Intervention Strategies in Residential Care and Foster Care. My specific role is to use the Child and Youth Care model and strengths-based practice to support the advanced learning of colleagues already working in alternative care services. I am also teaching about the functioning of different types of residential and foster care services from an international perspective.
I will be using my hypothesis from the revisions of literature that I have completed in residential care to suggest that there are 5 essential ingredients to good quality care:
Personal connection +
Connection with my world +
Effective management of the environment
Where did I start?
At 18 years of age, I lived for a year within a residential girls home in Santiago (Chile), meanwhile volunteering in a children's nursery. As you might imagine, this first-hand experience living within the home opened my eyes to the realities faced by both the children and the workers. I returned to Scotland and worked for another year in social care before undertaking a social work degree specialised in residential childcare with Strathclyde University. I went on to work for 10 years at the front line of child protection services with South Lanarkshire Council in Scotland. Meanwhile, I completed a Master in Philosophy in Social Work, again with Strathclyde University, answering the research question: What do social workers need when engaging in direct work with children? There were four main findings from this research project, these were:
The relationship between the social worker and children and young people is of paramount importance.
Direct work with children should be considered as a continuum of ways of being with all children, for example, from completing worksheets to sharing a few hours together, to being in the car together and days out.
Direct work should be recognised and given appropriate attention and value within organisations.
There is an abundance of strengths present in individuals and teams that should be recognised and promoted for improved practice and moral.
My passion for social work evolved into a passion for coaching and I undertook nine months of training to become a coach with Achievement Specialists (England).
All of my services are available in Spanish.
Mindfulness, meditation, and reiki:
I have been meditating for 16 years and over the last 12 years, this has been a daily practice. In 2012 I completed the 8-week mindfulness course and I implemented this into my daily living. In 2013 and then 2014 I was given the first two levels of reiki and in 2018 I completed the maestria. As a reiki practitioner, I regularly provide sessions to others to improve their health and wellbeing.
I engage in a daily meditation practice which combines reiki and mindfulness and enables me to renew my energy, and feel connected and motivated each day. These practices are not based upon religion, regardless of the fact that I have a strong faith in God.
My signature strengths are gratitude, honesty, hope, spirituality, zest for life, and appreciation for beauty and excellence. I will leave you to consider how these strengths will be beneficial for us in our work together.