Chapters Celebrate Social Work Month

Lucrecia Suarez, Kristine Nelson, and Peg MillerNASW Oregon handed out awards at its Social Work Month event. From left: Lucrecia Suarez, Social Worker of the Year; Kristine Nelson, Lifetime Recognition; and Dr. Margaret “Peg” Miller, Public Citizen of the Year.

National Professional Social Work Month was celebrated from coast to coast in March. NASW chapter leaders and others were busy hosting advocacy days, award and recognitions ceremonies as well as attending proclamation speeches and promoting social work through the local media. It was all done to help highlight this year’s theme, “Social Workers Inspire Community Action.”

The NASW News invited chapters to report their activities. Here is a brief rundown:

Arizona: Democratic State Rep. David Lujan, the minority House leader, spoke at the chapter breakfast in the Phoenix area. The chapter also hosted an awards luncheon in Tucson.

Connecticut: The chapter launched its first ever Clinical Social Worker of the Year award, sponsored by its Clinical Social Work Network. The chapter’s Latino/a Social Workers Network held a reception to honor Latino/a administrators and supervisors. Several articles honoring social workers and Social Work Month were published in local newspapers.

Colorado: The chapter held its annual Social Work Celebration on March 5. Chapter awards were presented for Social Worker of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

Florida: Seventeen chapter-sponsored events took place throughout the Sunshine State. Local units presented a total of 62 awards. Honorees included social workers, elected officials, public citizens, educators and students. There were 13 continuing education events statewide during the month.

Illinois: Chapter leaders participated in nine district events across the state that included continuing education workshops and award celebrations. The American Society on Aging workshop was presented by the chapter’s Older Adults Shared Interest Group in Chicago. NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark was a presenter. The chapter also co-sponsored the African American and Latino Social Work Symposium.

Louisiana: Six billboards showcasing the Social Work Public Education Campaign were posted in the state’s major cities. The chapter’s annual conference in Baton Rouge included an awards ceremony with 900 participants.

Maryland: The annual conference theme was “Celebrating NASW at 55 — Social Workers Lead the Way — 1955-2010.” The conference featured 12 continuing education workshops and an awards ceremony. The keynote presentation was by social work historian Harris Chaiklin. The chapter added a special pre-conference workshop this year, which focused on forensic social work.

Massachusetts: Members spoke to social workers at a state mental health hospital, Children’s Hospital and Salem State College School of Social Work. The chapter’s Legislative Education and Advocacy Day at the State House drew more than 500 social work professionals and students. The state’s Department of Children and Families ran a poster campaign honoring the workforce.

Michigan: Legislative Education and Advocacy Day included 350 student participants. The chapter’s executive director traveled the state, successfully recruiting new members as well as making successful contacts with rural higher education organizations.

Missouri: The 2010 Show-Me Annual Symposium’s theme was “Social Workers: Agents of Change.” More than 175 social workers participated in the educational and revitalizing event. The chapter’s Advocacy Day was its largest event at the capital since 1990, when members lobbied for social work licensure. The governor signed a proclamation honoring Professional Social Work Month in Missouri and called upon citizens to join with NASW and the Missouri chapter in celebration and support of social workers and the social work profession.

New Hampshire: The chapter hosted its annual awards dinner and ethics workshop. The workshop was called “Ethical Concerns in Working with Individuals at Risk for Suicide: Looking Across the Lifespan.” U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., spoke at the event and assisted in honoring this year’s award winners.

New York State: NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark inspired a crowd of 300 social workers as a speaker at the chapter’s annual Power of Social Work Conference in Albany. Dr. Lawrence Shulman was the featured presenter. The event included workshops to promote collaboration between NASW-NYS and schools of social work across the state.

“From Radical Hope to Tea Party Radicals: Where does Social Work Fit?” was the keynote theme at the NASW-NYS Western Division’s annual awards ceremony in Buffalo.

Oregon: The chapter led a media campaign, held its biennial statewide conference and hosted an appreciation luncheon in southern Oregon during the month.

Pennsylvania: More than 400 social workers rallied on behalf of the chapter’s Legislative Advocacy Day. The chapter held social work galas in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Several divisions held individual Social Work Month activities, including continuing education workshops, luncheons, student scholarships and an urban mural arts tour.

Puerto Rico: The chapter hosted its annual conference on March 26.

South Dakota: Ken Kraybill presented on the topic of motivational interviewing at the chapter’s state conference, which took place March 25-26. Mary Standaert was recognized as South Dakota Social Worker of the Year. Receptions were held in Sioux Falls and Yankton to recognize the efforts of all social workers in the state.

Virgin Islands: The chapter hosted two events. Speakers participated in an all-day training in St. Croix and St. Thomas, followed by a luncheon celebrating Social Work Month in partnership with the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services at each island. Gifts were given to area members and social workers.

Metro Washington: The chapter hosted a day-long event that featured presentations on such topics as community organizing and interventions in acute trauma. NASW Foundation Social Work Pioneerw Bernice Harper presented on transitioning to retirement. Attendees heard from deans of local schools of social work and participated in a job fair.

West Virginia: Members attended ceremonies and received proclamations honoring the profession from the governor, the House of Delegates and the State Senate. The chapter also helped to produce and promote a Social Work Public Education radio ad campaign.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane devoted an entire column to the importance of social work and Social Work Month. He included comments from the chapter’s executive director, Marc Herstand.