"You will never be bored with being a social worker," Alyse November, licensed clinical social worker, tells Adelphi students. "The opportunities are endless."
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, the best thing that can happen to Alyse November, B.A. ‘87, M.S.W. ‘89, is boredom. When she starts feeling unchallenged in her social work career or in life in general, she breaks the tedium by uncovering unmet needs in the community and fulfilling them in unique and meaningful ways. From designing bullying programs and creating networking groups, to volunteering for leadership roles in organizations and implementing cancer support groups, Alyse is always looking for a more impactful way to improve the quality of her patients’ lives.
Originally from Bayside, Queens, Alyse relocated to Baldwin during her adolescent years. As the older child of two teachers, an emphasis was placed on education, getting a degree and advancing academically. When the time came to decide about college, Alyse followed in her father’s footsteps, Ronald Zimmerman, B.A. ‘63, and selected Adelphi as her alma mater.
From the start, Alyse loved Adelphi; with its small intimate classroom setting and dedicated professors, she was relieved to find that college didn’t have to be intimidating. After her first psychology class with Professor Robert Hoffman, Alyse “fell in love with the subject matter” and changed her major from drama to psychology. She earned a B.A. and immediately applied to Adephi’s Ph.D. program. After receiving a disappointing rejection, she considered her advisor’s recommendation to follow her passion for helping others by pursuing a master’s degree in social work. Because clinical counseling was her goal, Alyse took the advice, received her M.S.W. and discovered that social work was exactly where she wanted to be.
At her very first job as a social worker at Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway, Alyse was exposed to multiple disciplines, from pediatrics to oncology to ER care. Seeing an additional way to be of service to her patients, she developed and implemented two very successful support groups, one for cancer patients and the other for caregivers. Not stopping there, Alyse also launched wellness days for staff, including massage and mindfulness sessions, art therapy and more, to help alleviate workplace stress.
Alyse left Peninsula Hospital to start her family and to begin her own private practice as an independent contractor. Working with the AHRC, early intervention agencies and home health organizations, she provided services to children with special needs from birth to age three, including psycho-social assessments, behavioral interventions and parental support. Alyse saw new opportunities to assist others and broadened her client base to support the homebound and elderly, as well as children on the autism spectrum and their families. She was involved with so many different groups that, when she and her family relocated to Florida in 2002, Alyse had to write 13 resignation letters!
In Florida, Alyse began working in the home health department of Boca Raton Hospital. Her career path took an unexpected turn, however, after her son reported to her that he was being bullied at his elementary school. After telling her son’s story to the principal, he encouraged her to create and implement an anti-bullying curriculum in the school district. Called “Different Like Me,” the program was a great success—reducing bullying behavior in the school by over 75 percent. The program was adopted by multiple Palm Beach County school districts, with the same impressive results. Building upon that success, Alyse rewrote the curriculum and created a web-based video program to address the prevalence of bullying within elder care facilities as well. Now, Different Like Me is the name of Alyse’s successful private social work practice, where she and her staff of 30 offer social work services, psychological testing and speech therapy.
Alyse and her husband continue to reside in the Palm Beach area of Florida. Together, they have four children: Alyse’s two sons are now in college and her two step-children are finishing high school. With her practice thriving, Alyse continues to seize opportunities to help others. In addition to speaking engagements and board memberships (including the Florida Voice on Developmental Disabilities and the National Association of Divorce Professionals), she is the president of the Palm Beach county chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, a supreme court certified family mediator and a contributor to the book Bullying in Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic. She is certified in transgender care and is pursuing both a Ph.D. in clinical sexology and certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy. Alyse’s goal is to continually add relevant areas of expertise to her practice in order to make it more responsive to the needs of today’s patients. To Alyse, a career social work is the perfect profession to pursue:
Social workers have such opportunity to provide service in almost every setting: politics, medicine, schools, homes, business. We can go anywhere and work with any population with any issue; I don’t think there are many professions can say that.… Being a social worker provides an opportunity to make a difference in an individual’s life, in a community, in the nation and in the world. You will never be bored with being a social worker, the opportunities are endless.
Published May 2019
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