Conference provides chance to connect, learn and enjoy

Kelsey Carroll sits outside of Somersworth High School in New HampshireKelsey Carroll sits outside of Somersworth High School in New Hampshire. The school implemented a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program to reach out to troubled students like Kelsey. A documentary that focuses on Kelsey’s progress, “Who Cares About Kelsey?” will be part of the film festival taking place during the NASW national conference in July in Washington, D.C. — Photo by Dan Habib/

Social worker Bethany Case (photo below, right) said she is eager to attend the NASW national conference “Social Work: Courage, Hope & Leadership,” taking place July 23-26 in Washington, D.C.

Case is a Visiting Fellow at the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C.

She attended NASW’s “Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work” national conference hosted in the nation’s capital in 2012, and said the event exceeded her expectations.

Bethany Case“It was mind-blowing to discover all the different ways people are working in this field,” Case said. “I was so impressed with the breadth and depth of experience of all of the presenters — everyone was so diverse. I remember sitting there, taking in the moments, and just really enjoying being around such an inspiring group of people that share the same social work values.”

Case, who uses her experience working with children and families to help inform and shape programs and initiatives at the national level, said she is looking forward to this year’s conference because she will get to share the experience with a friend and former colleague.

She said social workers looking for inspiration should attend as well.

“I think it’s easy for us to get stuck in our daily routines and limit our access to new information and ways of thinking,” she said. “The thing that connects us is that we’re all social workers, and we all want to do the very best for the people we serve. This conference allows us an opportunity to come together, learn new things, and really think creatively about how we can step up our game.”

Conference highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Brené Brown, best-selling author, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, scholar and columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine; Robert Reich, a secretary of labor in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley; and Steve Pemberton, author and chief diversity officer and divisional vice president at Walgreens.
  • Plenary speakers will discuss the latest issues and trends in social work.
  • More than 100 breakout sessions and the opportunity to earn up to 25 continuing education credits.
  • A special evening reception honoring NASW and NASW Foundation National Awards recipients.

In addition, there will be a social work film festival, spotlighting films important to the profession. They are:

  • Who Cares About Kelsey?,” a documentary that follows a New Hampshire high school student who lives with homelessness, sexual abuse, self-mutilation and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • “American Winter” examines the plight of Portland, Ore., residents who are struggling economically in the wake of the Great Recession.
  • “Justice Denied” scrutinizes the frequency of unreported crimes of sexual assault and rape against males in the U.S. armed forces.