In the Public Eye: October / November 2023

Michelle Felder

“Emotional intelligence is a term used to describe a person’s ability to understand, interpret, express and manage their own emotions, and to navigate interpersonal relationships with awareness, empathy and an appreciation for the emotional experiences of others,” says NASW-New York City member Michelle Felder, LCSW, who is quoted in an article on At its core, emotional intelligence for kids determines how well they can emotionally relate to others, according to the article, which explores ways parents can instill EI in their children.

Among the tips to help foster EI is to create an emotionally healthy and supportive environment, the article says. Staying calm and present is one of the most supportive things parents and caregivers can do when children are experiencing big feelings, says Felder, founder of Parenting Pathfinders.

“Children learn how to regulate their emotions by witnessing how we regulate our own,” she says.”

Mary Moonen

NASW-Florida member Mary Moonen is doing what she can to help those living in war-torn Ukraine.

According to an article in the Bradenton Patch, Moonen creates and sells jewelry and sends the money to Ukrainians. She was inspired to help after watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

“As social workers, part of our ethics is that we help the underserved, that we help people that are oppressed, that we stand up against victimization,” she said in the article. “We basically fight against social injustices, whether they’re local or global.” The biggest thing is I want people to ask, what can I do as just one person?,” Moonen told the Patch. “Because I’m just one person—I’m not a not-for-profit agency—but I have the supplies, I have the time, and I have an opportunity. The ultimate message is the power of one person to make a difference and help these people across the world.”

Kevin Polky

“Shatter Our Silence” is a philanthropic effort to educate students, faculty and staff at local schools about suicide awareness. SOS was created after three people died by suicide (between 2012-2015) at Kevin Polky’s son’s school. Polky, an NASW-Illinois member, said he decided to make a change after the deaths. He is the founder and president of SOS.

“… we just knew that we needed to raise the awareness and educate individuals on the factors that lead to young adult suicide,” he said in an article published at

Polky, LCSW, the founder of KP Counseling, the largest counseling agency in the Northern Illinois area, has educated and provided resources free of charge for more than 20,000 students across 10 universities and 30 different school districts, the article notes.

Emily Hemendinger

Eating disorders can impact anyone, even athletes who are viewed as being healthy and fit.

NASW-Colorado member Emily Hemendinger answers questions about the issue in an article published at The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

A climber and a therapist, Hemendinger, MPH, LCSW, is clinical director of the OCD Program and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“Eating disorders don’t discriminate,” Hemendinger says. “We see in athletes anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating and OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder). Most commonly with athletes though, there is disordered eating, which is a pattern that creates energy and caloric deficiency through overexertion, overexercising, more restrictive eating, on-and-off dieting or fasting, under fueling.”

cover of October / November 2023 issue

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