How Ms. Je’mere Heyward influenced Scott Bryan
As a 52 year-old man I realize that in some ways I am just beginning to learn and understand others. Before I met Je’mere Heyward I was a harsh judge of those I did not understand, and my cynical outlook and jaded words were as natural as walking down the street.
I pride myself on discipline, focus, team work and a strong work ethic. My energy levels hover at maximum levels and I revel in working hard. Throughout my adult life, I deemed coworkers, who were either lazy or did not have my intensity, as a waste of time.
When I first met Je’mere I immediately thought, “Another coworker, wonder if she, like most, is lazy, lacks passion and makes excuses.” I was never more wrong about a first impression. Je’mere sets a new standard for work ethic, and is one of the best teammates I ever had. I am honored to work with her every Saturday.
We co-teach two Batterers Intervention classes, and her approach is paradoxical; she clearly exhibits compassion and empathy, however, does not accept negative attitudes or disrespect. Je’mere handles difficult cases with stern precision, yet does not judge or condemn.
In some classes, I felt quite ignorant when she addressed a negative comment, because I was thinking the opposite. Instead of trying to understand I was quick to write the student off. Her sharp perspectives started influencing me, and I actively listened when she spoke to the class.
Unwittingly, Je’mere taught me how to shorn my jaded views and drastically reduce jumping to judgment. Now, as we co- teach the classes I employ a more circumspect approach.
I, moreover, have changed those negative qualities when dealing with people at my other job, and people in general. As a result, I feel more positive and am more effective to myself and others.
Thank you Je’mere for having a positive impact and influence on my life.
Je’mere Heyward is a proficient woman who can operate at a moment’s notice. Her work ethic and commitment to service her community is commendable. My organization appreciated her superb professionalism and the ability to step out her comfort zone to get the work done. Je’mere truly embodies all of the qualities aforementioned. We look forward to working with Building Safer Communities, LLC int he near future.
Women for Community Progression, Inc. CEO/Founder
Je’mere empowered me so much when I stepped foot in her class room I was just trying to get the class over with and get to work or get home and I didn’t really care about the class. As classes went by and Je’mere interacted with us, she really made us feel comfortable and open up. The class became really fun and I began to realize that change was good. She taught us not to be afraid of change and that admitting wrong doing was a part of growing up. Sometimes we don’t realize there is a problem and admitting that there is a problem is taking accountability you’re your actions. Acknowledging your part in any situation makes you a better person.
The Brooklyn Native,
I believe that students, particularly social work students are easily influenced. I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Heyward when I was completing my internship for my bachelors in social work (BASW) at LIU-Brooklyn. During this critical time in my social work education, I was learning to grasp the concept of applying theory to practice. Ms. Heyward guided me though by providing personalized training. She took the time to educate on the most effective ways to work with the substance abuse, mental health & incarcerated population. Most importantly, she had the patience to work with someone who had little knowledge or experience with the population. Throughout the eight months of my internship, I learned how to assess clients with substance abuse and mental health diagnoses and determine the level of treatment that would be most efficient. Ms. Heyward encouraged that while this population may be viewed a certain way by others or stigmatized; than they still deserve the best services we could provide. As social workers our ultimate goal is to uplift and try to break the negative connotations that others might face as well as guide them throughout the treatment process.
Ms. Heyward helped me find my voice as a social worker. I learned to not always second guess myself & be confident in what I knew. I also learned not to be afraid to vocalize what I did not know. There is nothing wrong with asking question because that is how we are able to service our clients efficiently. Ms. Heyward instilled in my mind that my personalized views on client’s circumstances can be used as a benefit instead of a deterrent. When the time came for me to advocate for the clients by vocalizing my information in court, Ms. Heyward provided encouragement. Ms. Heyward always provided insightful positivity that embodies a true social worker.
As my internship ended and I moved on in pursuit of my master’s degree in social work, the values she taught me are forever instilled in my social work ethics. Most importantly the invaluable knowledge that she taught me is still used in my career. I am truly honored to share the social work profession with Ms. Heyward. I further hope to one day be as knowledgeable and insightful as she is.
The Anonymous Student
I met Ms. Heyward, three years ago, in my first Saturday class at the Batterer’s Intervention Program. She shared advice with the new class regarding our class rules and regulations. She told us guys that healthy relationships began with us and then extends to someone you care about. New Yorkers can sniff out a teacher whose heart isn’t in it and make life in the classroom difficult. But, Ms. Heyward showed that she was sincere and truly care about us and for that she’ll have an audience for life. I knew Ms. Heyward was the right person to encourage me to speak about my relationship issues at that critical point in my life.
She’s shown herself to be sincere, dedicated and strong in her line of work. Ms. Heyward is a woman of conviction whose life’s work is to promote a mindset of positivity; perfectly suited for the hearts and minds of people. The fact that she is drug and alcohol free and always has been, by choice, is clear and she makes being straight-edge cool. During the class, there wasn’t a once of judgment toward anyone else’s lifestyle and that hooked us. Ms. Heyward is truly happy because of the life she chose and brings that “PMA” with her all day every day. She taught me a lot of things like patience, listening more, talking less, taking more time for myself. I also learned to argue less and take walks to calm down. I learned that taking care of my own needs first and understanding emotions through nonverbal clues is important. The one thing that I liked the most was taking time for me and that eliminated arguments between my spouse and I. Ms. Heyward also taught me how to solve problems by picking the right time, to know what the problem is and communicate to understand. In order to reach a resolution it must be give and take mutually. She taught me that relationships survive off of trust, support with honesty and loyalty.
There are so many important things that I learned from my classroom experience from this awesome woman Mrs. Heyward If you are looking for an alternative to the usual batterer intervention program and presentations that end up with handouts in the bottom of a bag, give a serious thought to bringing Mrs. Heyward in to speak to your students. Physical violence and drug or alcohol education needs a new spin to reach today’s people. This is your chance to bring a truly groundbreaking perspective and fresh new approach to promote healthy lifestyles to our people. I couldn’t be happier or more appreciative to Mrs. Heyward for putting her own project together. It’s a powerful message for people to hear that will stick with them now and in the future. Thanks Mrs. Heyward!
In September of 2015, I started my first social work field practice at Brooklyn TASC, with Ms. Je’mere Hayward as my supervisor. When I began my time there she was a case manager and field liaison. When I learned I would be interning with incarcerated individuals in court and advocating on the behalf of them, I was of course nervous. Je’mere made all of my anxious feelings vanish as soon as I stepped into the TASC office. She was so open, honest, relaxed, educated, and genuinely kind to not only me and her coworkers, but also to every client on her caseload. From the first day I started with her, Je’mere made it clear that I would not be her intern, but she would call me her assistant because it sounded more enriched and tasteful than having to call me her intern. At that moment, I knew this would be a perfect internship for me, and not only because of her decision to call me an assistant, rather than an intern. By that small thoughtful gesture, it proved that Je’mere wanted me, a woman she barely knows, to feel just as comfortable as the rest of her team members at TASC. She wanted me to be respected by the clients, just as they respected her.
In school, we hear horror stories about some supervisors. I was never able to relate to any of my classmates about having a negative experience at their field placement or with their supervisors. The moment I became close with Je’mere, I told her that I knew I would never have another supervisor like her. If I was ever unclear of something Je’mere was never hesitant to intervene as soon as she could. She taught me how to be clinical (something I was not learning in my undergraduate studies), how to be empathetic, how to listen to my gut in certain situations, and how to never allow yourself to become burnt out. Je’mere helped me become marketable in my studies in so many different ways, but I am most thankful for the way she directed me to complete the assessments. When I did my first assessment, it took me over two hours and I was reading verbatim from the sheets of paper, not fully engaging with the clients. After she shared some techniques, I was doing assessments in a timely fashion while fully engaging with the clients.
Although she was my supervisor, I am so proud of everything Je’mere accomplished in the short school year I was working with her. As mentioned earlier, when I started she was a case manager. By the time I left she was promoted to a supervisor, all while being a full time mother, teaching classes on impaired driving in different boroughs, and starting her own business. While juggling all of these hectic duties, Je’mere was always on time with any paperwork I had for her that was needed to be submitted for my schooling. Words cannot express how thankful I am to have had Je’mere as my first field supervisor to show me everything possible. Her future assistants are so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity to work with her. Thank you for everything Je’mere and I wish you nothing but success in your business and life!
– Kelsey Haines, BSW
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