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Counselor for kids - Brooklet's Raina Mallard stays busy
Raina Mallard for Web
Raina Mallard is the school counselor at Brooklet Elementary. She is following a similar path of her mother who is a paraprofessional at Portal Elementary. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    Brooklet Elementary School Counselor Raina Mallard's plate is very full. In addition to her classroom guidance time, Mallard spends a large part of the day involved in small peer counseling groups and individual counseling with students, parents and some staff.
    She and her husband Jason Mallard have a 2-year old son Zachary and are expecting their second child in the spring. After graduating from Portal High School, she attended Georgia Southern University.
    While working on her Master's she worked as a secretary at the Bulloch County Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS). Mallard graduated with a Masters in School Counseling, and went to work for DFACS, first in Screven and Bulloch Counties.
    After working with Food Stamp Services, Foster Services, and even Child Protective Services, she decided to go to work in the public schools. Her first school counseling job was a three-year stint in the Jenkins County schools, after which time she got a job working at Brooklet Elementary.
    Mallard found that her knowledge of DFACS was very helpful, stating “I knew where to go in the local DFACS office in order to get the answers that teachers needed but were having trouble getting.”
    Asked about the primary issues she deals with on a daily basis, Mallard said in elementary-age school children there were two different groups: the older children, whose primary troubles have to do with self-esteem and self-knowledge; and the younger children, whose primary concerns are centered around various forms of separation anxieties.
    Because of the increasingly hard economic times, Mallard indicated that more and more parents are willing and quite often eager to avail themselves of her free services. In fact, sometimes the students and even occasionally their parents ask for her to act as mediator in a minor family dispute.
    Mallard credits Brooklet Principal Marlin Baker for giving her the freedom to expand her counseling duties when the opportunity arises.
    As a final thought, she said “My main focus is to help the children make the best choices instead of focusing on who their friends are or whether or not they look cool.”
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