IUPUI Bachelor of Social Work student, Jada Cuttriss, knew from a young age that she had a passion for helping others. When Jada was in sixth grade, a person who rode her school bus house had burned down and Jada wanted to do a penny drive to help raise money for the family affected. Her passion for helping others made her decision to get her degree in Social Work that much easier.
Jada would like to use her degree in Social Work to help make a difference. More specifically, Jada wants to help those who have been in foster care. Jada is passionate about helping foster youth because she was in their shoes once. Jada says that child welfare has its ups and downs, and she wants to be able to make a positive change for the foster youth aging out of care.
Growing up in a small town, Jada did not experience racial diversity and the people she grew up around were not accepting. After graduating high school, Jada was able to do a Summer Bridge program in Northern Indiana and she was one of the only white females in the group. Jada worked to educate herself on the struggles of the Black and Brown community, along with their culture, and much more. That experience was eye–opening to her. While doing the summer bridge program she also met Shane Shepard, the creator of a nonprofit called B4UFALL, which helps young African Americans in the inner city to get away from gun violence and more.
As of right now, Jada is doing a lot with the community. Jada works with a couple nonprofits, such as B4UFALL and Fostering Success, and she also works on a national level advocating for foster youth across the United States. Jada is a National Youth Transitional Database Reviewer and audits surveys to help folks manage their systems correctly when entering data about foster youth in the system the state uses.
Jada credits the IU School of Social Work for allowing her to learn more about racial and social injustice issues in the world. Jada has been able to interview people that face these struggles in life, which allows her to gain a better understanding. The classwork has helped open her mind and has taught her what trauma does to the human body. Jada has become more empathic, passionate, and eager to make a change in the world.
One lesson Jada has learned is that we do not know everything. Jada believes it is so important to educate yourself more on topics you do not know about because you never know someone else’s story so you should not assume.
Favorite Quote: Jewel Mosley, MSW, LSW, BSW Student Services Coordinator and Recruitment Specialist, once told Cuttriss: “Life is like a playground, it is your time to go play and explore.”