George Sowl: 'My job is helping them build good habits'
Los Arboles Middle School
George Sowl, a community liaison at Los Arboles Middle School, always hoped for the kind of job he holds today.
“When I went to school, there was nobody like what we do here at Los Arboles, and that is one thing that I think a lot about. If I had a tough day at school, I never thought of an adult at school to seek out. I never want any of my students to have to think about that. We have come a long way,” said Sowl.
His day begins with meeting with students well before the school bell rings. He's often talking with them about issues outside of school including friends and family life.
“We have a great team at Los Arboles and we are about student comfort, especially since the pandemic started. I love the mindset we have here and would struggle to work at a place where empathy is not a value. We really want students to feel and know we care about them. We accommodate them and help them transition back to class," said Sowl.
Now in his sixth year at LAMS, George never thought he would be working with kids. When he first moved to California, he was 23 years old and worked for an after school program.
“I got paid to have fun with kids all day,” he stated. “I didn’t know it would be a good fit or if it was something that I even wanted to do. But it really clicked for me and after a couple of years working with kids I realized I had a really good skill set. I never get tired of it. The job found me. I didn’t plan it!”
Sowl knows he's having an impact on students, but knows it takes time to see positive results.
“A lot of times that feeling doesn’t come immediately. Two months later I think ‘oh I haven’t seen him or her at the office for a long time, they must be doing a lot better.’ Maybe part of that was me, part their teacher or their parent. When you see this over a period of time it is rewarding. When you notice less stress in a person’s life it's an awesome feeling,” Sowl said.
The most challenging part of his job has been the last several years trying to help students prepare for adulthood and becoming responsible and respectful people.
“My job is helping them build good habits,” said Sowl.
George enjoys working one-on-one with students. He notes in that setting, young people are more forthcoming with their feelings and emotions.
“We spend so much time as adults trying to hide our emotions, but kids don’t have that. They bring the truth and how they feel. Seeing that kind of natural emotion, whether it’s happy or sad, makes the job,” Sowl said.