LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Traig Varnado

Position: School Social Worker
School: Einstein Charter School at Sherwood Forest
School District: Einstein Charter Schools
City, State: New Orleans, LA

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Traig Varnado was nominated by Melanie Doll, his colleague.

"Where do I even start to describe all Mr. Varnado does for our school community," said Doll. "Mr. Varnado arrives at school daily with a smile despite all the daily challenges he faces supporting the staff and students of our community.

Einstein Charter School in Sherwood Forest is in a community with many hardships. The students and staff have experienced loss, homelessness, fear, grief, and so much more. Mr. Varnado attends work daily, ready to deal with whatever challenges students and staff face. He nurtures and counsels students so that they may be present in the classroom. Mr. Varnado helps organize positive behavior events weekly to help motivate students. There aren't enough hours in the school day for Mr. Varnado to see the students who seek counseling, but he works diligently to see everyone. 

"Mr. Varnado will make home visits to families that have poor attendance or are experiencing hardship," explains Doll. "He purchases uniforms and clothing for families that are in need. He also organizes food drives during the holidays so all our students can enjoy a meal with their family."

"He not only provides support for our students but also for our staff. He is always there to listen to us when we need to release stress," said Doll. "Mr. Varnado provides the staff with outside resources. The past two years have been challenging, and we find ourselves struggling. As staff and teachers, we need to be able to present for our students to give them the best education and support, but we can only do that if we take care of our mental health."

Despite all of his duties at school, he is always willing to assist anywhere.

"He truly wants the best for our school, the families, students, and the whole community," said Doll. "I am honored to work with him; he will always be our LifeChanger."