Four individuals recognized for contributions to social work
NASW has announced the recipients of its 2013 national awards program.
The four awards, given annually, are Social Worker of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Public Citizen of the Year and Public Elected Official of the Year.
This year’s recipients include a direct practice social worker who created a new online resource in her community; a longtime NASW member who has worked to help thousands of people find affordable housing; a conscientious citizen who helps seniors stay in their homes; and a Florida state representative with a successful track record of aiding families in need.
Social Worker of the Year
Social worker Adrienne Decker-Delgado, from Maricopa County, Ariz., was frustrated that people in her community did not know where to turn for low-cost or free resources and social services.
She became part of the solution by convincing her supervisor at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health of the benefits of an online resource for health and social services, and she set out to find in-kind resources to create FindHelpPhx.org. The bilingual website is simple to navigate and helps social work clients, youth, refugees, those with developmental disabilities and low-literacy individuals find the services they need.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mitchell Kahn has been an educator, community organizer, activist and champion of social work. As a founder and current director of the BSW program in the Social Work Department at Ramapo College of New Jersey, his leadership is credited for the impressive number of Ramapo baccalaureate graduates who join MSW programs each year.
In the community, Kahn has worked to help Bergen County citizens find affordable housing. He has been the executive director of the Bergen County Housing Coalition in Hackensack; the vice president and director for the New Jersey Tenants Organization; and a founding board member of the New Jersey Citizen Action. He also has authored a book and a web publication on housing.
Since 2006, Kahn has been chairman of the board for the NASW New Jersey Chapter’s Political Action for Candidate Election, or PACE. During his career, he has authored numerous papers, articles and book chapters and spoken in numerous forums in New Jersey on housing and tenant’s rights, social work education and social justice.
Public Citizen of the Year
After working as a secondary physical education teacher for more than 20 years, Susan Frank left her position to implement her mission to assist senior citizens who choose to continue living in their homes as they age. She founded Hearts for Homes in Denton, Texas, which helps at-risk, vulnerable homeowners who cannot afford to pay for home repairs.
Frank and her team of volunteers have made significant repairs to more than 120 family homes since 2006.
Public Official of the Year
Florida State Rep. Mia Jones has remained true to her platform of promoting economic development in underserved communities. She has partnered with education systems to ensure that all students receive a quality education.
She is known for promoting long-term solutions to infrastructure challenges and health care disparities, and working to improve quality of life for those she represents. During her tenure, Jones has either sponsored or co-sponsored legislation for economic development, health care and education.
Her recent honors include: Florida School Health Association Legislator of the Year Award (2010); American Diabetes Association Legislative Champion Award (2010); National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women President’s Award (2010); and NASW Florida Chapter Legislator of the Year (2013).