Friday, December 18, 2015

Best Wishes to Ashland University's December Graduates!

The Social Work Department extends its congratulations to Ashland University students graduating tomorrow.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Have a Great Break!

We hope you all have a restful break and happy holidays!
See you in the new year!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Social Work Club "Give a Meal" Service Project Raises $1,149

Through its "Give a Meal" service project, the Social Work Club has raised $1,149 in cash and meal swipe donations (each meal swipe, used to purchase meals in the dining hall, is worth $6.50).
Rosemarie Donley, Director of Associated Charities, and members of the
Social Work Club unbox food for the Food Bank
These funds were used to purchase food in bulk through AU's dining services, which allowed the students to purchase more food per dollar than if they had gone to a traditional grocery store.
Social Work Club members stock shelves in the Ashland County Food Bank
The food purchased was donated to Associated Charities and the Ashland County Food Bank, which distributes food and some taxable (personal hygiene) items to individuals and families in need in Ashland County.
From left to right: Social Work Club members Bethany Jelenic, Jessica James,
Bailey Fullwiler, Jocelyn Bean, and Maria Erste
Congratulations, Social Work Club, on a job well done!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AU Social Work Professor & Field Director Nancy Udolph Presents at NASW Ohio Conference

Nancy Udolph, Associate Professor and Field Director of Ashland University's Social Work Program, presented Paving the Way for Trauma-Informed Organizations at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter Annual Conference last Friday.  NASW, according to the Ohio Chapter website, "is the largest professional organization of social workers in the world."

This year's conference, which focused on paving the way for change, hosted breakout workshops, poster presentations, an awards banquet, and keynote presentations on the future of social work practice in America and on harm reductive services in the trans community.

"Trauma-informed care is a best practice in the social work profession.  When incorporated into an agency's mission, philosophy and policies, all practitioners can delivery consistent, quality care that positively impacts client retention," says Udolph. "It also prevents burnout by training and supporting professionals in delivering appropriate and effective services to their clients."

A summary of Professor Udolph's presentation from the NASW Conference site is below.

According to the Trauma Informed Care Project, “Trauma Informed Care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma” (p. 1). Too often, social workers focus on treatment  without ensuring that their organizations are also supportive of the theory and method behind the treatment. Social workers are becoming trauma-informed but, if their organizations do not get onboard, it will be difficult to pave the way for true community change. This workshop will outline steps to take to create trauma-informed organizations and communities in an effort to avoid re-traumatizing survivors.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Family Violence Class Hosts Variety of Local Professionals, Teaches Conflict Management Techniques

In Professor Kuo's Family Violence (SOCWK 305) class, students learned from a variety of local experts in social services, mental health and law enforcement.

The Family Violence course, which examines dynamics of power and control in intimate relationships, covers the topics of child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.

"Having [students learn from] practitioners in the field adds value to the theoretical content, more so than just reading about the concepts in a textbook," says Professor Kuo.   Likewise, learning from experts who address family violence, either by working with victims and perpetrators directly or by working with the community as a whole, adds depth to the course.  "One instructor can't cover the vast field of family violence the way individual experts can," observes Kuo.

Guest speakers hosted by Professor Kuo include:

Intimate Partner Maltreatment/Domestic Violence
Child Abuse/Maltreatment
Elder Abuse/Maltreatment
  • Command Sergeant Major in Army Reserve 

Professor Kuo also addressed broader topics such as use of violence in the media and the impact of abuse and violence on mental health (the latter topic was covered in class by the Executive Director of the Ashland County Mental Health and Recovery Board).   The Director of Medina County Job and Family Services spoke with students about the impact of adverse childhood experiences on future mental health. 

Learning about family violence doesn't just prepare students for working with clients who are impacted by violence.  "Elements addressed in the course - values, ethics, parenting strategies, management of conflict - weave their way through our own experiences, too," Kuo notes.  "And this course teaches students options for managing conflicts that arise in their own lives as well as the lives of clients."

The topics and skills taught in the course, while valuable, can be challenging for students, some of whom may have been affected by family violence themselves.  "Family violence tends to be a sensitive topic," says Kuo.   "I use reflection journal assignments and debriefings to help my students process what they are learning and to cope with the impact the course may have." 

Family Violence, SOCWK 305, is offered each fall and fulfills a core requirement for social sciences. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NPR Article Highlights Impact of Social Workers at Aurora Sinai Medical Center

Social work is known as being a helping profession.  While most people attribute this help to the clients they serve, few people know that social work can help organizations save money. The cost benefit of using social workers to intervene in the lives of patients and to address social issues resulting in repeated returns to the emergency room at a Milwaukee hospital is described in this NPR article.  The hospital estimated having saved over $1 million by placing social workers in their emergency room. 

"Stories like this are actually common-place but get little attention by the media," said Dr. Michael Vimont, director of Ashland University's Social Work Program. "So, by addressing the needs of people through a comprehensive psycho-social approach by using social workers, organizations can meet the needs of their clients and save money."

To learn more about the program and the methods used by the Aurora Sinai social workers, you can read the full article here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CSWE Conference Brings New Challenges and Opportunities

Visit CSWE to learn more
Professors Mike Vimont and Nancy Udolph attended the annual program meeting for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) held in Denver on October 15th through the 18th. According to Dr. Vimont, “attendance at this conference is essential in maintaining and enhancing our program, and to learn about new accreditation guidelines.” This year was particularly important due to new competency standards that were published during the summer. “We discovered that as an institution, we will be among the first to be evaluated under these new standards,” explained Dr. Vimont. “This provides us with a challenge and yet also an opportunity. Once we go through this process, other institutions of higher learning will be looking upon us for guidance for their own upcoming accreditation.”

Plans are already underway in reviewing and making necessary changes to curriculum to comply with these new standards. The social work professors will be presenting information obtained from this conference to the social work program’s advisory board at a meeting scheduled for November 20th

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Need for Social Work Professionals to Grow by Nearly 20%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the governmental agency that compiles labor economics and statistics, jobs for social workers will experience an 18.8% rate of growth, which is faster than the national average.  Positions under this category include social workers in the education, healthcare, and mental health fields.

By 2022, jobs are expected to grow from 607,300 jobs nationwide to 721,500, an addition of 114,200 jobs.  Additionally, 128,600 jobs will be available due to individuals retiring or leaving positions for other reasons.

Ashland University's Social Work Program combines classroom instruction with real-world experiences throughout each student's time in the Program, culminating in a 500-hour internship with one of 40 affiliated agencies in the Ashland area.

This successfully prepares students for employment or graduate studies in the growing field of social work - in the past five years, over 95% of our graduates have either gotten a job or been accepted into graduate school.  Most who apply to graduate school in social work have received advanced standing allowing them to complete their master's degree in less than the typical two years.

To learn more about Ashland University's Social Work Program, visit our website.

Visit the Employment Projects table to view these statistics and more.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

AU Social Work Club's "Give a Meal" Drive

This year's "Give a Meal" (formerly known as "Skip a Meal") service project will start on Monday, October 19.  Social Work Club members will be available from 11 am until 1 pm in the Eagle's Nest on Monday and Tuesday and from 4 pm to 7 pm in Convo on Wednesday of that week.

Club members will be collecting meal swipes (worth $6.50) and monetary donations for the drive.  All money collected will be used by AU's dining services to purchase food in bulk, which will then be donated to Associated Charities and the Ashland County Food Bank.

Be sure to stop by and help "Give a Meal" to an Ashland County family in need!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Social Work Professor and Program Director Conducts Community Presentation

Dr. Michael Vimont, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Director of the Social Work Program, conducted a community presentation regarding research activities he has undertaken.  Over the past four months, he has researched the Ashland community's health needs as part of a five-year grant funded by the Ohio Department of Health and administered by the Family and Children First Council of Ashland.

For more information about the presentation and the research methods Dr. Vimont is using in his research, visit the AU News Center.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Social Work Faculty to Travel to Council on Social Work Education Conference

Next week, Professor Udolph, Field Director, and Professor Vimont, Program Director, will be travelling to Denver, Colorado, to attend the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Conference on the Frontiers of Change.  CSWE is the accrediting agency for social work in the U.S., and is the accrediting body for Ashland University's Social Work Program.

The Conference will feature 14 hot topic sessions that represent a wide range of emerging and important topics for social work educators.  These sessions focus on topics ranging from social welfare policy to values and ethics, teaching methods and learning styles to immigrants, refugees and displaced populations.

Professor Nancy Udolph, who directs the field experiences social work students complete throughout their time at Ashland University, will be attending numerous sessions focusing on field experience.  "I'm most looking forward to learning about best practices in field experience, which I can then bring back and integrate into the program here at AU," says Professor Udolph.

This year's Conference will also provide updates on CSWE's new core competencies (CSWE establishes core competencies which social work students strive to master in order to be effective practitioners in the field after graduation).  Ashland's Social Work Program will implement these new competencies for the 2015-16 school year.

Safe travels, Professors!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fall Career, Internship, and Graduate School Fair

Career Services will be hosting a Fall Career Fair on Thursday, October 8th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm in Upper Convocation. Professional dress is required for this event (for guidance on what to wear, consult the Career Service's Business Attire Pamphlet, specifically the "Business Professional" section). Be sure to bring several copies of your resume. Student Registration, which is highly recommended, will be available on the Career Services website. All registered students will receive nametags to wear at the event.
There are many exciting opportunities for jobs and internships at this career fair. Employers attending include:
- Catalyst Life Services
- Absolute Care
- Goodwill
- Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging
- Ohio Guidestone
- Recreation Unlimited
- The City Mission
As well as these employers, there will be many graduate schools attending with great opportunities. AU students should refer to the Portal for a complete list of employers and graduate schools who will be in attendance at the Fair. Be sure to keep an eye out for Career Service's post in the week before the event.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome, Class of 2019!

The Social Work Program is delighted to welcome the class of 2019, which includes 14 Social Work majors!  
For information about AU's Social Work Program, check out our website.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ashland University receives Award of Excellence

At the 2014 the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging’s Annual Meeting, Ashland University, along with Ohio State Mansfield, was recognized with an Award of Excellence.  Nominees for the Award are considered based on outstanding community service and/or providing solutions to a difficult problem in the northern Ohio area. 

Noted were the University’s Social Work Program and its College of Nursing, both of which partner with the Area Agency on Aging to provide students with field experiences.  This partnership equips students with the experience and skills needed to meet the challenges of working with an aging population.   Ashland University Social Work Program places value on offering internship experiences to students in agencies that provide and coordinate services to older adults and that promote independence and well-being for those adults.

For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, visit our website. 
Additional information about Field Experiences the program offers, as well as a list of Affiliated Agencies, can be found on our Field Experience site.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Social Work Graduates

From left to right:
   front row -    Jennifer Williams (cum laude), Joshua Yoder, Alexis Lee (cum laude), Mary Hitchcock
   middle row - Morgan Richter, Ashley Starcher, Kaitlyn McCreary, Jennifer Lindsay (magna cum laude)
   back row -    Prof. Nancy Udolph, Haley Mossing (cum laude), Chelsea LaPorte, Jereese Wilson, Kaitlynn Dolezal,
                        Casey Kelley, Prof. Michael Vimont
   not pictured - Heidi Howard
Congratulations, Class of 2015!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ethnic Potluck Provides Opportunity to Share Experiences, Recognize Academic Achievements


Every April, senior-level students of the social work program hosts an ethnic potluck dinner for their fellow students.

The purpose, aside from eating a lot of great food and socializing, is to share their experiences as practicing social work interns in the “real world” of social work.

Fourteen soon-to-be graduating students presented their expertise to about 30 other social work students who will soon follow in their footsteps. 

Social Work Seniors
(all in blue for Child Assault Prevention Awareness!)

Social Work Outstanding Students
Congratulations to our outstanding social work students recognized by social work faculty. Every year, one student from each of the three classes, sophomore, junior, and senior are recognized for their academic, leadership, and mentoring achievements.
From right to left (Alison Bartholomew, sophomore; Jennifer Lindsay, senior; and Bailey Fullwiler, junior).

Congratulations, Seniors and Outstanding Students! 

For more information about AU's Social Work Program, check out our website.
For more information about Senior Field Experiences, view our Field Experience page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jennifer Lindsay, Intern at Appleseed

Jennifer Lindsay is an intern at Appleseed Community Mental Health Center.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

For my social work internship, I have been placed at Appleseed Community Mental Health Center. It’s a not-for-profit mental health agency in Ashland that provides many different services like counseling, case management, pharmacological management services, school liaison services in the local schools, housing programs, rape crisis and domestic violence services and programs, and a crisis hotline. 
What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?

Through my internship, I have had a variety of different duties on the youth side of Appleseed. Three days a week, I spend time doing case management (CPST). I currently have my own caseload of clients who I have been working with on a weekly basis. CPST services are provided to children who attend Appleseed and are having problems behaviorally, emotionally, or socially. These problems may occur at home, school, or in the community. CPST services vary from client to client, but services are always geared toward whatever will benefit and support the client and his or her family. I have also spent two days a week as a part of the school liaison piece of Appleseed. I spend two days in local schools working with students in the school setting and helping them alleviate barriers to their education, discuss things that are going on at home which may be affecting them in school, and assist students in some basic social skills and everyday needs.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
I feel like the Social Work Program at Ashland University has prepared me in countless ways for my internship, and my future as a social worker. All of the behavioral classes have given me a greater understanding for the needs that my clients have. Furthermore, I feel as though I was very well prepared through all of my classes in the Social Work Program to enter my internship. Learning things like human behavior, professionalism in the field, confidentiality, how to build a positive working relationship with clients, and social work competencies and ethics has been instrumental in guiding my behavior and conduct in my internship. I am so thankful for the ways that Ashland University’s Social Work Program not only prepared me for my internship, but also my future career.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
Throughout my internship, I have really loved building relationships with clients so that I can have a positive working relationship with them. It’s not always easy, but I really love getting to know my clients so that I can best serve them. It has been awesome getting to see their strengths and figuring out how to help them use those strengths. I have worked with some clients for long enough that I have been able to see the positive changes that they are making in their own lives, and that is extremely rewarding.

For more information about Appleseed Community Mental Health Center, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Alexis Lee, Intern at Samaritan Hospital

Alexis Lee is an intern at Samaritan Hospital. Samaritan Hospital is an acute care facility focusing on treating people in the Ashland area. The mission of Samaritan Hospital is to take the lead in serving and supporting the patients in the surrounding areas they serve.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

I work in the Social Service Department at Samaritan Hospital. This department is in charge of discharging patients, assessing needs, and making referrals to post care services.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
I am involved with the discharge planning process with patients. I have also been involved with preoperational classes and connecting patients to resources.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship? 
Ashland University prepared me for my internship by teaching me the basic skills and knowledge as well as communication skills needed to work in this field. I also feel that it taught me responsibility and time management. 

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
I enjoy the fast pace and wide variety of people the hospital has exposed me to. 

For more information about Samaritan Hospital, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Social Work Club Raises Funds for Easter Baskets for Associated Charities

In mid-March, the Social Work Club raised $178 by selling sweet treats for a great cause - making Easter baskets for children in the Ashland community.

Using the funds from the bake sale, Club members created and donated 23 Easter baskets.    

Social Work Club and Faculty Assemble the Baskets
The baskets included craft supplies, coloring books, puzzles, jump ropes, bubbles, stuffed animals, stickers, small games and, of course, Easter candy!

Social Work Club Members with Fully Assembled Baskets
From left to right: Jocelyn Bean, Jessie Ryder, Ellie Miller, Stephanie Julian, Logan Imber, and Mallory Serrano
Not pictured: Bailey Fullwiler

Great job, Social Work Club!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Morgan Richter, Intern at Harmony House

Morgan Richter is an intern at Harmony House Homeless Services.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
Harmony House provides emergency housing, food, and support services to individuals and families who are homeless, while they work to gain maximum independence. Harmony House provides clients with weekly case management meetings, workshops, and job training activities. Harmony House also provides public transportation to help people in their job search.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in? 
My job duties at Harmony House include completing client intakes, case management, interacting with clients, facilitating job skills and life skills group meetings, and working with Harmony House children through the After-School Program. I have been involved with community activities such as the Point-in-Time Homeless Count and the annual Soup Supper/Silent Auction fundraiser.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship? 
Ashland University's Social Work Program has prepared me for my internship by teaching me the skills I need to engage in a client/professional relationship and how to handle situations in an agency setting. The program has also taught me about social work values and ethics and how to incorporate them into practice.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
Over the course of my internship I have most enjoyed my experience with getting to know the clients I work with, as well as working with the children. I feel so good at the end of the day knowing I have made a positive impact on the lives of others.

For more information about Harmony House, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jereese Wilson, Intern at Richland Newhope

Jereese Wilson is an intern at Richland Newhope – Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities. This organization is dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities to live, work, and participate in the community. Richland Newhope works with people and their families to enrich the lives of the developmentally disabled.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
This semester I have had the unique experience of being able to work in three areas of the same agency. I am placed in the Service and Support Administration (SSA), Help Me Grow (HMG) at the Early Childhood Center, and also at two of the Richland Newhope Industry workshops on 4th Street and on Longview Ave. Although these are only a few areas under the umbrella of the County Board, in my short time working in these various parts of the agency, it is clear that they really cater toward the needs of the individual person. They serve to support both children and adults through various programs, support services and funding sources.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
Since I have been involved in so many different parts of the agency, I have had the opportunity to have a variety of experiences. In the SSA building, I work alongside the Individual Consultants to help the individual create plans centered on their specific needs. I have had the opportunity to build a case load, go on home visits, plan meetings, and to research and provide services. Another activity that I am involved in in the SSA building is the Major Unusual Incidences (MUI) department. In this department I work with the Investigative agents to help investigate and track incidents involving Richland county residents who receive our services. For my macro project, I was able to work on the 2014 Major Unusual Incident Annual Review. It was essentially a 20 page report that compiled all of the data from last year. As a result of my work, I was able to help present some of the information with my supervisor. Although I was a bit nervous about sitting in a room full of supervisors and department heads, it was a great experience and I was so thankful to be a part of it.

In the HMG department I had the opportunity to work with the service coordinators. I was able to help interview potential parents of the program, with the help of my supervisors, using assessment forms and to provide input to the early intervention team. After eligibility was determined based on the initial assessment, I was able to follow the children as they progressed and provide additional information to the family that may be helpful to them. My supervisors made me feel comfortable with the assessment forms and how the system was organized. I was even able to complete some of the process on my own.

At the workshop, I was able to help individuals strive toward the goal of community employment. Richland Newhope is currently providing job training skills, new community employment opportunities, and job readiness programs to help individuals become more involved in the community. The adult services department has so much to offer individuals. Between helping with the community employment activities and learning more about the job readiness programs, I had the opportunities to get to know more about the individuals and the hard work they do in the workshop every day.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
The Social Work program at Ashland University has done an amazing job preparing me for my internship. In my undergraduate years, prior to my internship experience, I did not realize how much of each class that I would actually need to utilize. There really is a method and a clear thought behind every pre-requisite class that is required before entering into this program (even statistics!) and they were well worth it. I’m so thankful for the education I received from this program and for every professor who took the time to prepare me not only for my internship, but for my future in the social work profession.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
Honestly it is hard to pinpoint one specific thing that I have enjoyed so far because the whole experience has been wonderful. I love all of the information that I am gaining through this experience. I also love the fact that I am in an agency that is willing to accept some of my thoughts and ideas. Getting to work with the individuals, go to trainings with the staff, and learning the different programs and services offered to people in Richland County are things that can help me throughout my career. I am thankful for having the experience.

For more information about Richland Newhope, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Department, please visit their website.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chelsea LaPorte, Intern at Wayne County Children Services

Chelsea LaPorte is an intern at Wayne County Children Services (WCCS).

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

Wayne County Children Services’ mission is to protect abused, neglected, or dependent children and to strengthen families. The three units at WCCS are intake, ongoing, and adoption/kinship. All three units play an important role in accomplishing the agencies mission. I have been working closely with the intake unit, but I have also worked with the other units as well. Intake caseworkers are the caseworkers that get a case when it is first opened. The caseworkers are responsible for making attempts to talk to the family and to address the concerns that were reported to the agency. If families are uncooperative or it is evident that a child is unsafe then there are cases where the child is removed from the family. There will be a case plan/safety plan that is initiated with the family even if a child is not removed. The caseworkers refer clients to community services that will help them either get their child back or to improve themselves.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in? 
Up to this point in my internship, I have been working in the intake unit. Some of my duties include typing case notes into the computer for caseworkers and making phone calls to providers to get releases or any updated information regarding clients. I have had the chance to shadow all of the intake workers by going on home visits and to court with them. I have also sat in on family team meetings and semiannual review meetings with families. I strongly feel that going on visits with a caseworker it is beneficial for me because if I do mess up or forget what to ask a client, they are there to help. Every day is a learning experience for me, and I am thankful to have a supervisor that is willing to let me go out into the field with other caseworkers.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship? 
Ashland University’s Social Work Program has prepared me for my internship in several ways. The material that is discussed in all of the social work classes is relevant to my internship in some way. I find that the core competencies that are taught in the social work program are essential to my internship. In my internship it is important to know how to communicate effectively with clients and to also use empathy when appropriate, and the social work program prepared me for this. I find myself using skills that I learned from our professors in many situations in my internship. As a student in the Social Work Program it is hard to visualize yourself using the skills you learn in classes, but when you finally get to utilize those skills in practice, they will come to you naturally because of the preparation of Ashland University’s Social Work Program.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
What I have enjoyed most about my internship at WCCS so far is all of the different cases and experiences that I have been exposed to.  My day at the agency is never the same and there is never a dull moment. I look forward to coming in every day to learn and to ask questions to the caseworkers and my supervisor. My supervisor and the caseworkers have all been open and have taken time to explain certain terms and processes to me, which allows me to learn something new every day.

For more information about Wayne County Children Services, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March is Social Work Month!

Social Work Month provides a special opportunity for professional organizations, employers and the general public to recognize and celebrate the contributions of social work professionals.

From the National Association of Social Workers Website:

2015 marks a special year for the social work community.

The nation will commemorate National Social Work Month in March and the National Association of Social Workers will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015.

NASW’s goal during Social Work Month and throughout 2015 will be to educate the public about how social workers and the association have brought about major positive social changes, improved the lives of individuals and families, and will continue to do so in the future.

For information about activities planned and opportunities offered by the NASW Ohio Chapter, visit their website.

Happy Social Work Month!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kaitlyn McCreary, Intern at Richland County Juvenile Court

Kaitlyn McCreary is an intern at Richland County Juvenile Court. This court system is aimed at executing adjudication hearings for juveniles within Richland County.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
I work as a Diversion Officer and Community-Control Officer, which is a type of probation officer, and I have both types of clients on my caseload. The Diversion Program is designed for youth who have minimal to no previous involvement in the juvenile justice system and provides youth a second chance at having a clean record. If a youth completes Diversion successfully and does not commit another offense within a year and a half of being terminated, their file becomes sealed and their record is kept clean. Community-Control works in a similar way; the offense does go on your record, but this is still designed for giving youth a second chance. Both types are minimal supervision, and I am required to enforce court orders and make recommendations at court hearings when I feel they can be terminated or if they need to have more intense supervision to be placed in a higher level of probation. I get to work with juveniles and their families in all capacities. It is a great mix of criminal justice and social work. It can almost be viewed as mini-counseling sessions when I conduct office visits. I make sure to convey to my clients that I am here to help them be successful while in this program and that I care about their well-being. I work closely with parents and children and try my best to help better that relationship.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
It’s hard to name all of my duties and explain them all, but my main part has been having my own caseload of about 25-30 juveniles. They are placed on either Diversion or Community-Control. I am responsible for all of my youth and meet with them at least once a month, connecting them with resources that will help them complete probation successfully. I attend court hearings for a variety of cases, including my clients. Also, I file charges for the Intake Department, which means I read the police reports, make sure the alleged charge is applicable to the situation, and that the Ohio Revised Code number matches the charge and is written correctly on the summons. I also administer drug and alcohol assessments, and I conduct drug tests and office visits for my clients. I am the lead presenter for the Truancy Awareness Program the court organizes every other week.

I will become trained to administer OYAS Assessments to juveniles (Ohio Youth Assessment System – March 10-11 is my training). This allows me to interview all of my clients to assess their level of risk to better help place them in the correct level of probation based on the amount of supervision needed.
How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?

The program has prepared me with the specific information and scenarios I would be dealing with in the field. The curriculum is exactly what I needed to learn to help me succeed in my internship. It has allowed me to think critically and apply my knowledge in my internship when working with clients. I have been able to see when a specific class has impacted my success while working in my internship. I am very thankful for my education at Ashland University and can see every day how it paid off to choose getting my education from this social work program. I feel very prepared for grad school, as well as becoming a professional social worker in any field I choose to pursue.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
I have simply enjoyed learning so many things so far. There is always more to learn, and I feel more prepared and more confident with every step. I have also enjoyed getting to meet new people and being part of a professional group. I have been blessed with the greatest supervisors and it truly has enhanced my experience. I know it will be hard to leave them once the semester is over, but I am anxious to see what my future brings.

For more information about the Richland County Court, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jennifer Williams, Intern at Catalyst Life Services

Jennifer Williams is an intern at Catalyst Life Services. This private non-profit company focuses on providing outpatient services to adults and children in the area. They strive to rehabilitate, help with crisis intervention, have transitional and residential programming, have communication services, and provide vocational rehabilitation and training.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

Catalyst is a huge organization that contains a lot of departments. There's the Rehab Center, the Adult Unit, the Children's Unit, New Beginnings (a facility for individuals with substance abuse problems), and more. The building I am in primarily is known as the Center, which houses the Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit, our alcohol and drug program, and all of our adult mental health services. 

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in? 
With an agency as large as Catalyst, I have had the opportunity to do a ton of different things. I spent a lot of my time with the SAMI team, which stands for Substance Abuse and Mental Illness. It is a dual diagnosis group, which means that all of the clients that the team works with have co-occurring substance abuse and mental health conditions. I have also worked quite a bit with our alcohol and drug team and the individuals back on the Crisis Unit. During this placement I have had the opportunity to sit in on therapy sessions with a couple different therapists, work on mental health assessments, and observe as well as lead group activities for both mental health and alcohol and drug groups. I have also been able to visit MedCentral to do pre-screen assessments and step down requests from the psychiatric floor, go to felony Drug Court, and even visit the state hospital. I also have the opportunity every week to sit in on treatment team meetings with our clients in Mental Health Court.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
I had no idea that I would feel so prepared for my internship placement. My education provided an amazing foundation for all the things I am doing and observing in the agency on a day to day basis. Everything I learned in classes over the years has truly been put into action. I feel like, as college students, there is always the fear that we won't succeed after we graduate, and having the opportunity to complete this practicum has definitely reassured me that I made a great choice when I picked social work.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
I love getting to know our client base. Whether it's in therapy, treatment team, or group, I love the interaction of building up rapport with clients and even the people I work with. They are all really supportive of each other and you can tell they really care about the clients and about each other.

For more information about Catalyst Life Services, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ashley Starcher, Intern at the Workforce Investment Act Youth Program

Ashley Starcher is a Transitions Coordinator intern at the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program through Tri-County Educational Services Center. The WIA was passed by congress in 1998 and is a workforce development system that helps employers find the right employee after they have been trained through the program. The WIA Youth Program is geared at helping young people gain the skills and resources necessary for long-term employment.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

I work through Tri-County Educational Services Center, but my office is located at the Job and Family Services building in Ashland. The Workforce Investment Act is in place to help adults and youth, but I specifically service youth ages 14-21. Through the program, youth can gain paid work experience or receive funding assistance to further their education through individual classes or up to a two-year program.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in.
In my job, I place youth at worksites throughout the county. There they work for up to approximately 200 hours, all while getting paid. The goal is for them to obtain work experience to help knock down barriers to obtaining a full-time job on their own. While they are in the program, I assist them with goal-setting and other interventions they may need. If the youth is not enrolled in the program for work experience, they are placed in classes for training or other education, such as STNA classes. I can assist them with transportation and other possible needs, such as uniforms for clinicals. Most of the youth are in high school, so I get to work with them in school as well. I have been involved with a specific group of students multiple times during their first period class. I teach them different responsibilities, such as budgeting, creating resumes, and utilizing online resources to search for jobs or explore career options.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?
I feel that learning about empathy in my classes has been very beneficial for me. I am able to create a healthy relationship with the youth because of the different techniques I was taught. Building relationships with the adolescents is very important for an efficient intervention, so I am very thankful for the skills I gained from my professors.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
My absolute favorite aspect of my job is working with the youth in the high school. Being able to teach them different approaches to success is interesting, and watching them retain the information is even more rewarding. I really enjoy watching them grow within their placements, as well. It allows me to feel like I am truly helping them in this vulnerable stage of their life.

For more information about the Workforce Investment Act, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Haley Mossing, Intern at Ashland Parenting Plus

Haley Mossing is an intern at Ashland Parenting Plus. This organization strives to enhance lives by providing education, promoting responsible decisions, and offering different opportunities for children. 

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

Ashland Parenting Plus (APP) consists of three different programs that provide a variety of services: Parenting Education, Juvenile Diversion, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Parenting Education is for parents who are looking to further their skills as well as gain the necessary tools to assist them in raising their children. APP also offers Divorce Education which is mandated through court system for any couple who has children. The Juvenile Diversion program consists of both individual and group mentors that work with youth to develop their assets and create a lasting and positive change. One new aspect of Juvenile Diversion is Wraparound, which is a family intervention that is designed to allow the family along with their chosen natural supports to lead the change efforts. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program is more than just a sex education program. TPP educates youth in various different subject areas regarding all different aspects of life. There are groups for females called Empowerment Groups and groups for males called Respect Groups which take place throughout the school year in the elementary, middle, and high schools in the county.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?

I am currently working mostly with the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. Until recently, I have been observing but now I am getting to lead some activities with the girls. Soon I will be leading the entire session. I work with three different group facilitators, one for each different level of schooling (elementary, middle, and high school). I am also currently working on a project where I am gathering data from the past several years to determine the effectiveness of the TPP programs for a grant to potentially expand TPP to some surrounding counties. I have also worked with Wraparound, participating in family team meetings. 

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared your for your internship?

The Ashland University Social Work Program has provided me with the basic knowledge and skills to prepare me to work in the social work field. I was nervous going into my internship that I was not prepared, but I am always surprising myself with how much I actually know from my education through the program. The Social Work Program has taught me the importance of client empowerment, how to interact with clients in order to help them throughout the helping relationship, as well as the fundamental skills for documentation.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?

I mostly enjoy working with the groups in the TPP program. Working with groups was something that I was extremely nervous about going into my internship, but the more I observe and the more involved I become with leading groups, the more I enjoy it and look forward to those days. I love getting to watch the girls grow as individuals and help them become vibrant young women.

For more information about Ashland Parenting Plus, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their  website.