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New York Social Worker Silas Kelly is recipient of Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

Silas KellyWASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is pleased to name New York social worker Silas W. Kelly as the recipient of the 2022 International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award for his dedication in educating the public about the positive contributions of social workers.

The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is given to an individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work. The prize is made possible through an endowment fund established by a contribution in 1996 from the late Rhoda G. Sarnat, LCSW, and her late spouse, Bernard Sarnat, MD.

Kelly, host of the award-winning “Kelsunn on-the-Air Social Work Podcast,” uses the production to highlight, promote, and uplift the social work profession.  Kelly also continuously works to educate the public about social work and how the profession makes vital and valuable contributions to society.  

Kelly, MSW, LMSW, is a natural at media relations. He graduated with honors from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and an MSW from Adelphia University.

Kelly currently works as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing Case Management Social Worker, serving the homeless veteran population. He does this at “Concern for Independent Living, Inc. 

He previously worked with adolescents as a psychiatric social worker at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY.  In that role, he advised young people exhibiting suicidal ideation and helped clients apply positive coping skills to avoid self-injurious behavior. He also conducted family counseling sessions to help parents deal effectively with their children.

He has also worked as a substance-use disorder group therapy social worker and continues to provide services as a mental health social worker in Medford, N.Y. And Kelly sat on the Board of Directors of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness. 

Kelly is the winner of dozens of awards, including the 2017 NASW Media Award Winner in Radio.

Through his work with students at School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University, Kelly has introduced students to NASW through programming that provided networking, service and learning opportunities that support their professional development while uplifting and advancing the public image of social work. 

“Silas has a heart for helping others,” said Jacqueline Mondros, DSW, Dean and Assistant Vice President for Social Determinants at Stony Brook. “He leads by example, as he exhibits the core value of social work that we work toward instilling in the students that we are educating.”

“It is a great privilege to bestow this award on Silas Kelly,” said NASWF Director Robert Arnold. “His contributions in elevating the profession of social work among the general public all while providing youth mental health services are extraordinary. We are honored he has chosen to advance the public image of Social Work in such wonderfully enlightening ways.” 

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.