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Leandra Salley, MSW

I began my journey in graduate school with the aspiration of becoming a school social worker. However, it was during my internship, where I worked closely with individuals in recovery, that I discovered my true calling to serve this population. Connecting people with essential resources has always been my passion. Whenever I encounter a problem, my mind instinctively starts devising solutions or ways to connect individuals with someone who can assist them. My parents often share amusing and "embarrassing" stories of how I have been a social worker my entire life.

When the pandemic emerged, I recognized the increasing struggles faced by children, particularly with grief due to the loss of family members and the inability to interact with friends in the usual manner. Additionally, I came across distressing statistics and heard reports from fellow counselors about the rising instances of self-harm ideation among young people. Prompted by these concerns, I took immediate action. I authored two books, "Big Boys Don't Cry" and "All the Bees Buzz," aiming to provide parents, school teachers, and community workers with valuable tools to help children open up. These books serve as a starting point for conversations, offering support to both adults and youth. The urgency to address self-harm issues demands that we engage in dialogue without delay.

In the near future, my team and I are committed to exploring new avenues for community engagement. However, we recognize that we cannot accomplish our goals alone. Collaboration and support from the community are vital as we strive to make a positive impact together. As the director of GFO, I am committed to connecting youth and those who serve youth with the helpful information that is needed. I am dedicated to spending my life putting my best Fruit forward.

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I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.

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