When Alexandra Mora came across a job opening for a case manager in Lutheran Services Carolinas’ Transitional Foster Care for Unaccompanied Children program, she thought it was too good to be true.
“I was looking for opportunities and I came across this program and I thought it couldn’t be real,” Mora said. “It was just so perfect that I had to apply.”
Mora graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and continued her education to receive a master’s in behavior analysis and a graduate certification in play therapy.
She has always been passionate about social service, especially the mental health field. After reading about Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC) and the program, she knew it was her dream job. She applied and was hired as a reunification case manager with the Transitional Foster Care for Unaccompanied Children program in 2019.
“I love the mental health field, especially with adolescents and children. I feel like, a lot of times, small mental health needs can be addressed in childhood,” Mora said. “And in underserved and minority populations, there’s a big stigma of mental health. It’s really important to me because I want those populations to get the help they need.”
Over the past few years, the program’s capacity has expanded from serving 8 children to 24. During that expansion, Mora took another big step in her career and became the director of the entire program.
She said she is extremely blessed that the former director, Rebecca Gibson, saw something in her that would translate to this leadership role.
The expansion has also allowed LSC to hire more teammates. Mora’s team consists of case managers, teachers, clinicians, a medical coordinator, and a program assistant.
“I feel that what’s happening is very motivational. Not only for myself, but a lot of our staff have been able to move into different roles and move up. It just boosts morale for the whole program,” she said. “The whole team has a passion for this. When we grow, we grow into a bigger family.”
Another morale booster is the fact that Mora says foster family recruiting is going well. They are inspired by the team’s passion and open their homes to provide a safe place for these children while they wait to be reunited with their families.
“This program is so special to me because every single day I feel like I’m working towards helping better another child’s life. We are using our cultural skills, our bilingual skills, and our clinical skills to be a small stepping stone in someone’s life,” Mora said. “But sometimes we are the first glimpse they have of the United States. And a first glimpse of some kind of hope and love.”
To learn more about Transitional Foster Care for Unaccompanied Children, call 803-849-4009 or email UCinfo@lscarolinas.net. You can also visit https://lscarolinas.net/foster-care-for-unaccompanied-children/