Roari Melville


Hometown: Eugene, Oregon (public K-12th schooling)
Undergrad degree, school: BSW at Baylor
One of your hobbies/talents/interesting fact: I can juggle.
Why you chose social work: A few years ago, I was 18 or 19 working for Parks and Rec in Eugene and I was subbing for the lead of our free summer park program in the lowest income neighborhood. I was told by the regular lead that there was a girl that stopped by yesterday for the first time and that I should try to talk to her. That day, it was a Thursday, she was there and I said that if she needed to talk, she could talk to me. She wanted to talk to me right then, so we went to a quieter part of the park and she opened up. She was young, 14-15 maybe? And was a run away from a neighboring state. She had been kept locked up by her father and had not even been able to attend school, so she ran away. She was staying at the youth homeless shelter down the road, but you can only stay there 3 consecutive nights before you have to be elsewhere for 3 nights. She informed me that she was staying with some older, homeless males in Downtown Eugene. They were threatening to sell her into prostitution. I called my boss and Child Protective Services (CPS) and had to leave a voicemail with them. The next day she came again and I called CPS again, they answered and said they had been looking for her and had a file on her and would stop by the park that day before we closed for the weekend. CPS never came, and after that day I never saw her again or heard anything about her again. Social work has lead to having the skill set and knowledge to recognize resources and advocate for children and youth. I switched from pre-med to chemistry to nursing before settling into social work. Best decision I’ve ever made.

What you love most about your internship/your role in the BEAR project so far: The children at my school are amazing. It has been such a learning experience to see how a true interdisciplinary team can work with these students and I’ve come to realize that even though there are different professional backgrounds and personal backgrounds that make up Brook Ave, we all share the same feelings for the kids. We want them to succeed, we want them to realize they can succeed.

Relevant work:

City of Eugene Parks and Recreation Coordinator for 5 years working with youth 0-18.
Internship at Methodist Children’s Home where training was received in TBRI.
Mission Waco for 4 years and counting with administration, high risk youth, the cafe and children’s program.

My biggest belief, since I started working for parks and rec in 10th grade, is that sometimes all kids need to be successful is a caring, positive, adult figure in there lives telling the kid that they are loved, cared for and that they want the kid to be successful in life.