FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – One area school district is highlighting the importance of social workers, especially when helping youth deal with life challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has really put a spotlight on a variety of issues, including hunger and homelessness among students.

Vanessa Diamond, her husband, and five children have called a Fayetteville shelter home for the past month.

“They don’t like it. They are ready to get out of here. They want their own place, their own yard,” Diamond said.

Social workers at her children’s school have been supporting the family.

“If they needed clothes they told us to let them know,” Diamond said. “They will get them clothes and everything. It’s been a real blessing to have social workers from the school help.”

Sheila Campbell is one of 88 social workers that handle the more than 40,000 students in the Cumberland County School System.

She said the pandemic caused more students to face homelessness and depression.

“We be trying to find them shelter, food and transportation,” Campbell said. “People losing their cars. People losing their jobs. You know trying to find resources for all the parents.”

Campbell’s daughter Jaslynn Peterson is also a social worker for the school system. 

She said it breaks her heart to see the challenges students face.

“I go home and think about these children, our students, see what I could do to be better for them,” Peterson said.

School officials, like 71st Middle School Principal Todd Yardis, echo the importance of the individuals on the front lines of education.

“Our social workers are key to making sure our students are key to making sure our students are safe healthy and successful,” Yardis said.

It’s the reality that more families are getting evicted since the moratorium on housing has been lifted and there aren’t enough shelters in Cumberland County.