In our series, Behind the Desk, we’re catching up with some of the incredibly talented, dedicated, and caring individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re featuring Jason Hirsch, a Child Specific Recruiter based out of our St. Paul office.
Jason joined CH/LSS in the fall of 2020 after completing grad school. Since then, he has been an integral addition to the team bringing empathy and compassion to the role every day. His supervisor Amy says, “Jason is great at connecting with others. Whether it’s colleagues or youth that he works with, he has a way of making everyone feel welcomed and comfortable. His sense of humor and easy-going personality help make it so easy for others to feel at ease around him.” Read more about Jason’s work and life below.
When did you join CH/LSS, and what drew you to our organization?
I joined CH/LSS in September 2020. One of my previous employers had a close relationship with LSS and I was able to attend a couple of annual galas where I learned about all the incredible work CH/LSS does. This influenced me to apply when I came across a job opening after finishing grad school.
What is your current role, and what are some of your primary responsibilities?
I am a full-time Child Specific Recruiter, which means I work closely with youth in foster care to explore adoption issues and find permanency options. The most rewarding part of my job is developing relationships through monthly meetings with the youth on my caseload. By building relationships, I learn more about a youth’s likes, dislikes, what they want in an adopted family, or if they even want to be adopted at all. By learning this, I can be a better advocate for them in meetings with social workers and potential families.
What originally drew you to the field of foster care and adoption?
I honestly did not know much about foster care and adoption before starting as a Child Specific Recruiter. I have a lot of experience working with youth in after-school programs, summer camps, schools, and developing youth programming. The fact that I would be able to meet with youth at least one time a month attracted me to the job initially, and I’ve stayed because of the impact I feel I have on a daily basis.
May is National Foster Care Month! What are some things you wish people knew about youth in foster care that they might not?
Adoption is difficult for children and teens, regardless of how excited and ready they might be to be adopted. I think in the media, adoption is often perceived as this life-changing moment where the newly adopted youth live happily ever after. This can be true, but the period after moving into a new home is also an incredibly stressful time. When a child is being adopted, they have many stresses like moving into a new home, attempting to develop trusting relationships with a new family, possibly starting in a new school, and meeting new friends, among others. All this while dealing with past trauma that led them to enter foster care, and from previous disruptions or moves. All this to say, there is a likelihood that everything will not go as planned.
What is something you have observed about working with youth in foster care during your time in this role?
Youth in foster care are incredibly intuitive and smart. Many are great at advocating for themselves and can tell you what they want or do not want. Youth who have been in foster care for a long time pick up on how the system works and the terms that social workers use.
The most rewarding part of my job is developing relationships through monthly meetings with the youth on my caseload.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests outside of work?
I am an avid video game player. I play mostly computer games on PC and on my Nintendo Switch. My partner and I love watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.
Have you read or watched anything in the past few months that you’d recommend?
A show my partner and I recently got into is called Steven Universe. We found it on Hulu and HBO Max streaming platforms. The show is geared towards kids and originally aired on Cartoon Network. The story is beautifully written, has great original music, it was the first animated show to have LGBTQ+ main characters and breaks the norms of how masculine heroes solve problems. For example, instead of Steven solving problems through brute force, he often uses his brain or relies on friends or family to help him.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that is personally meaningful to you?
I don’t remember the exact quote that this saying originated from, but I’m pretty sure I heard it first in the movie The Fault in Our Stars. “I would rather make a significant, deep, meaningful impact on one person than a brief, shallow, cursory impact on a million.”
What would your perfect post-Covid Saturday look like?
Going to a packed movie theater for a blockbuster opening weekend. The energy is unmatched.
What’s something that always brings a smile to your face?
Cats. I like cats. The animals, not the movie, just to clarify. I often unwind by watching a cat video. My partner and I are adopting two kittens later in May. I am sure they will bring many smiles and require a good amount of patience.