Jaylin Crumb is nearing the completion of her Master of Social Work degree from Case Western Reserve University—but she’s never stepped foot on campus. In fact, she’s never even been to Cleveland.
On track to graduate in August from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Crumb is enrolled in the university’s online social work program, which allows students to complete their coursework fully remotely. In her case, she’s completed her coursework in Birmingham, Alabama.
She does see a trip to Cleveland in her future. When she graduates, she plans to attend commencement ceremonies.
“Upon graduation, I am so excited to visit CWRU’s campus, enjoy some amazing food and restaurants, and see some marvelous sites and locations while visiting the city!” she said.
For now, she’s wrapping up her studies, which includes a field placement with Grace House Ministries, an organization that provides homes to girls in foster care in Alabama.
Crumb spoke with The Daily about her experiences as a social work student.
Some answers have been lightly edited for length and style.
1. What drew you to Case Western Reserve?
I knew that CWRU would be an excellent fit because it would prepare students like me, who are compassionate and diverse individuals eager to make a difference, to become some of the best social work leaders at the local, state and federal levels that the future desperately needs.
2. What has it been like for your program to be fully online?
I believe online learning has become the “new normal” since the COVID-19 pandemic. I received exposure to the online platform during my 11th grade year of high school and I have truly loved it ever since.
Although technical difficulties may arise, there is nothing like the online environment. You are able to build your own community with your professors, peers and develop connections in regard to networking within the online world that you never thought would be possible. I love the dynamics of being able to be your own authentic self and to be diverse across the board at the Mandel School (online or in person).
3. What inspired you to pursue a degree in social work?
Social work is a passion, a drive to help others and to make a positive lasting impact on the wellbeing of others. Social workers help relieve people’s suffering, fight for social justice, and improve lives and communities. I, furthermore, want to be a life coach, someone who counsels and encourages clients through personal or career challenges. I believe that I am called to serve the duties of this career, because I am dedicated, committed, and diligent to promote social justice and advocacy for individuals and oppressed communities at large.
Everyone has a testimony of his/her life, but to know where I’ve come from (born premature and experiencing the death of my biological mother at age 15) to where I am going brings gratitude to myself, the social work program, and the lives I have touched. As the late John Lewis stated: “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
4. Can you tell me about your experience with Grace House Ministries?
My experience at Grace House has been nothing short of amazing. I love interacting with and/or serving the youth girls through advocacy in developing greater skills to broaden my knowledge and abilities in what the social work career lifestyle consists of.
I challenge myself in visualizing what I will be able to do better and/or utilize different approaches during my field experience(s) in serving these girls. With each of them receiving the necessary resources (education, financial stability, mental health, life skills, etc.)
I know that they will prosper. I am enlightened to continue working with all the youth girls here, including new girls and have a positive impact in their lives as well as my own.
5. What has been your most valuable experience working with this organization?
I help teach/coach independent living skills at residential homes. I am a role model to all youth girls on the campus and am preparing those between ages 17 and 19 with transitional living plans for independence, which includes skills in education, financial literacy, living, mental/physical health, and professional settings.
I always tell foster youth that they are the most persevering individuals that I know, because despite each trial and tribulation they experience, they still continue to fight and overcome whatever adversity in life has for them. These girls have truly changed my life and perspective in such a great and positive way.
6. How else are you involved in the community?
I continue to have the heart and [strong belief] in giving back to all communities, [supporting individuals experiencing homelessness, and making financial donations; these actions can changes lives one day and/or moment at a time for the greater good of all mankind. This was instilled in me at the age of 3 until my current age as a 22-year-old woman.
Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
This story appeared in The Daily on Feb. 7, 2023.