Kevin Waters grew up in North Camden, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1973 and has now worked for the city’s schools for 28 years as a crisis counselor. He’s gotten to know students, then years later their children who become students, and then the grandchildren who’ve become students as well. He’s invested deeply … and for the long haul … in the lives of the kids he helps get through life’s challenges.
“Because I grew up here and went to school here I can relate and it’s personal for me,” he says of the counseling work he does with students.
“A lot of times they’ll say to me: ‘People don’t hear me, they don’t see me.’ But I do.” He says of taking the time to work with kids individually and build a relationship to be able to help them achieve.
And over the years, those relationships have grown. Students he once counseled have become parents and he then got to know their kids as students, and sometimes even the grandkids of students he first counseled nearly three decades ago. He’s had former students who went through trauma and problems years ago keep in touch and come back to Woodrow Wilson to visit current students and show them exactly how it is possible to overcome and to find success both in the classroom and the world beyond.
As he nears the 30-year mark on his counseling career with retirement on the horizon, Waters is thankful to find such fulfillment in the work he does.
“There’s a joy in it … watching them eventually become successful graduates. To have them come back and ask me to look out for their children. It’s a blessing.”
Written by Mike Daniels