Turning a lifelong dream to a reality

SJCC’s case manager provides guidance for students

“I have always been interested in school-based roles, so being here at SJCC is such a treat for me,” she said.

“I have always been interested in school-based roles, so being here at SJCC is such a treat for me,” she said.

Eastside born and raised with a proud sense of her Mexican and Puerto-Rican, Elisse Reyna’s focus has always been mental health.

The SJCC case manager likes to keep things light hearted.

“In my family we value humor so I fall back and infuse humor when possible,” Reyna said.

Reyna has always been straight forward with her appearance

“I always say that my identifiers to others are the brown girl with the curly hair and glasses,” she said.

Upon graduating from James Lick Highschool, Reyna enrolled in Evergreen Valley College.

“It took me some time to transfer to San Jose State University, and I eventually graduated with a BA in psychology,” the case manager said.

In Reyna’s profession her duties include finding help for people who are in difficult situations with advice, figuring out what kind of help they need, help them find the services they need, create plans for treatment or recovery, and work with other health/human service providers.

She then entered the workforce but was looking for more. Next she applied to the MSW program at San Jose State University and was accepted.

“I am also proud to be the first one in my immediate family to graduate from college, and to get an advanced degree,” said Reyna, who graduated with her master’s in social work in 2014.

With her focus always being on mental health, she graduated with her MSW.

“I worked as an individual school-based therapist at different elementary schools, and I even got to work at the middle school that I graduated from,” she said.

Reyna said she had a clear-cut goal in mind with her education.

“I got my MSW, so I could work within my community, and hopefully be a positive impact. So, being able to work at the school I went to and schools in East San Jose was so amazing,” she said.

Reyna became a case manager at SJCC in late 2019 and said she is very thankful for her position.

Reyna helps people who are in difficult situations, gives advice, figures out what kind of help they need, helps them find the services they need, creates plans for treatment or recovery and works with other health and human service providers.

“I have always been interested in school-based roles, so being here at SJCC is such a treat for me,” she said.

Reyna’s mentee Jayden Mixon said that she inspired him to pursue his undergraduate studies at SJCC while helping guide him through the education system, as he wants to be a social worker in the future.

“She has taught me that it is OK to be patient and always reach out for support in any type of way because there are people out there waiting to help,” Mixon said.

Reyna’s mentee said he was very fond of her approach.

“She is as real as you can get. I love that she doesn’t sugarcoat the truth because at the end of the day, you will know and feel within yourself that she has your best interests in mind when making her decisions,” he said.

Reyna’s coworker, Olga Morales-Anaya said she finds her to be knowledgeable, caring and dedicated to the SJCC community as well as her work.

“She has hosted several workshops for SJCC ALMASs club and her ability to listen creates an environment where people feel respected and are empowered to ask questions and are empowered to help each other,” she said.

Morales-Anaya has worked with Reyna for some time and said she feels she has a lot of valuable knowledge.

“As a counselor,” Morales-Anaya said, “I have sat in on several of her workshops and I walk away learning new things about working with students. I am lucky to have her as a co-worker.”