NASW is proud to announce the four individuals chosen as part of its annual national awards program. The NASW 2011 National Awards were given for Lifetime Achievement, Official of the Year, Public Citizen of the Year and Social Worker of the Year.
Anne Coyne received the Lifetime Achievement National award. Coyne, a professor of social work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a consultant for the Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board, is recognized for her contributions in Nebraska and abroad.
Coyne developed the Foster Care Review Board, which continues to protect children in Nebraska, and she established a sister relationship with the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, in Leon, Nicaragua.
This relationship served as the base for UNAN-Leon to establish its own social work curriculum, and UNO social work students are able to interact with UNAN-Leon students and faculty as part of the initiative under Coyne’s direction.
UNO social work students also travel to Nicaragua to offer aid after natural disasters, interact with UNAN-Leon social work students and serve as a source of guidance and information to UNAN-Leon social work professors.
Sherri Morden, recipient of the Public Citizen of the Year award, is president of Second Chance Northwest Florida. Recognized by Panama City, Fla., Mayor Scott W. Clemons, Morden is noted for her efforts in continuing the services of Second Chance despite a sharp cut in funds in 2008.
Morden offered to remain in the position of executive director for Second Chance on a volunteer basis so the organization could continue providing services to adults with brain injuries, as well as their families.
According to Clemons, Morden is a shining example of dedication and without her, Second Chance of Florida would not be able to continue serving those in the community who need its services.
Marshall Wong received the Social Worker of the Year award. He is the hate crime coordinator for the Los Angeles County Commission and has established the Hate Crime Victim Assistance and Community Advocacy Initiative in Los Angeles.
Wong is most recognized for serving as co-chairman of API Equality-L.A., a coalition of organizations that focuses on the fair treatment of the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT community within the greater Los Angeles area, and also provides advocacy and direct community education.
Wong has worked in the office of the Washington, D.C., mayor and has held positions with the Smithsonian Institute.
Massachusetts state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, a democrat from Acton, Mass., received the Public Elected Official of the Year award.
Eldridge has championed many causes during his time in the legislature between 2002 and 2012.
In working with the NASW Massachusetts Chapter to sponsor and co-sponsor bills, Eldridge successfully campaigned to raise minimum wage requirements in Massachusetts to $8 an hour, and was the lead sponsor of the bill for Social Work Loan forgiveness.
He also co-sponsored the bills Social Work Safety in the Workplace and An Act Investing in Our Communities, which seeks to generate funds for social workers providing critical services.
NASW Massachusetts PACE also recognized Eldridge in 2011 as senator of the year.