(CNS Local Life): The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is highlighting the work of its five community development officers (CDOs), whose multifaceted jobs can be demanding as they work with some of the most vulnerable in Cayman. The officers are Delmira Kirchman-Bodden, who covers East End and North Side, Flavia Gardner (Bodden Town), Dorline Welcome (George Town), Vanda Powery (West Bay) and Elsa Annie Rose Scott (Sister Islands).
Their work takes them across the length and breadth of their districts, and no two days are ever the same, said a DCFS press release. “Long days and eating on the hoof come as standard,” said Welcome.
Scott, who was born and raised in Cayman Brac, is the longest-serving team member having joined the former Department of Social Services back in 1998. She has seen a lot of changes in the department and her job due to the growing complexity of societal issues over that time, said the press release.
Given the size of the Brac, Scott knows most residents well, which has its benefits but requires a heightened sense of discretion in a very small and close-knit community.
Known best for her work with seniors, she finds that being highly visible as a community leader means being on call 24/7. “Caring for others has always been my passion,” said Scott. “Being a community development officer has pushed me to grow as an empathetic person, who is always willing to go the extra mile for others.”
Kirchman-Bodden is another longstanding CDO. She said she finds her job very rewarding, but it is not for the fainthearted given some clients are experiencing serious crises in their lives. “Being very analytical and brave, I’ve always been drawn to humanitarian work,” she said. “I’ve little tolerance for social injustice and use my training to work for those who need a voice to experience a better quality of life through strong partnerships and government programmes, community/business partnerships and self-determination.”
Gardner sees her job as a fulfilling career where she can be a change-maker. “I get to interact with persons at all levels to promote awareness while implementing self-help projects,” she said. “As a result, there are visible improvements in our society that come from improving the lives of others.”
Powery’s main motivation is to assist, empower and educate. “Our successes result many times from the collaborative way we work within our multi-disciplinary team from the various community advocate groups, service groups, schools, individuals and government agencies,” she said. “We all share a unified goal to promote, educate and use programmes to make a positive impact in our clients’ lives, and sometimes, those of the community as a whole.”
Welcome added, “I am here to serve. My passion is to work with people helping them to solve their problems by teaching them to be a part of their own solution. My satisfaction comes from seeing lives enhanced through positive interventions.”
Members of the community development team can be contacted through DCFS 244-0290 or by their cell phones: Kirchman-Bodden (925-5543), Scott (925-9872), Gardner (926-04900, Powery (916-7902) and Welcome (925-4083/244-7211).