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NASW announces 2013 National Achievement Award winners

Honorees build homes for the elderly, make finding community services online easier, help people find affordable housing, and champion economic and educational assistance laws.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) today announced the four recipients of its 2013 national awards program. The awards are given for the 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 an Arizona social worker who created an innovative website to help people in her community find low-cost or free services; a New Jersey social worker who has devoted much of his career to helping residents find affordable housing; a former physical education teacher in Texas who launched a nonprofit agency to repair homes for the elderly; and a Florida lawmaker who is committed to providing economic and educational opportunities in underserved communities.

"NASW is proud to honor these four exceptional advocates,” said NASW President Jeane Anastas, Ph.D., LMSW. “They show what powerful and important improvements can be made in our communities when social workers—and public citizens and elected officials who support social work issues—get involved.” 

2013 NASW Award Recipients:

Adrienne Decker-Delgado, MSW, LCSW – Social Worker of the Year Award
Decker-Delgado was concerned that people in Arizona’s sprawling Maricopa County did not know where to find low-cost or free resources and social services. So she created, an innovative website where people can find affordable health and social services. The website is easy to navigate and also accessible to people who live with developmental disabilities or may have low literacy.

Mitchell Kahn, MSW – Lifetime Achievement Award
Kahn, who is founder and director of the bachelor’s degree program in social work at Ramapo College in New Jersey, has helped thousands of Bergen County residents find affordable housing. He is also a longtime community activist and has served as vice president and director of organizing for the New Jersey Tenants Organization. He is also a founding board member of New Jersey Citizen Action.

Susan Frank - Public Citizen of the Year
In 2006, Frank had a vision to help senior homeowners who could not afford to repair their dilapidated houses. So she founded Hearts for Homes, a nonprofit in Texas. The former secondary school physical education teacher has rallied plumbers, roofers, builders, and other volunteers to help older residents repair and stay in their homes. Her organization has made significant repairs to more than 120 family homes.

Florida State Representative Mia Jones (D-District 14) - Public Elected Official of the Year
Since being elected in 2008 Jones has lived up to her campaign promises to promote economic development in underserved communities, ensure students get a quality education, and advocate for long-term solutions that improve infrastructure and reduce healthcare disparities. Jones has received numerous honors, including the Florida School Health Association Legislator of the Year Award and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women President’s Award.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with nearly 140,000 members. 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.