In 1950, the Adelphi University School of Social Work was founded to better the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities. Last year, the School of Social Work celebrated 70 years of cultivating leaders who are advancing the field of social work by being strong advocates for social justice and driving forces for ethical social work practices.

This year, the School of Social Work is not only celebrating its 71st anniversary of training social work practitioners who make a difference in the community, but also honoring the field of social work as part of Social Work Month.

“Social Work Month is important because it’s a time to celebrate the great profession of social work,” said Schanica Pickens, director of the Master of Social Work program. “People can be highlighted and deliver powerful messages to a larger community.”Social workers are essential image

Social Work Month is a national celebration that spotlights the important contributions social workers make to society. This year, the theme is highlighting how social workers are essential workers who play a significant role in the well-being of several communities. The School of Social Work will be celebrating all throughout March, not only to honor an impactful profession but also to honor the social workers of today and prepare the social workers of tomorrow. Some of these are continuing education events that give students the opportunity to connect with experienced social workers for a low student rate or for free.

Manoj Pardasani, PhD, dean of the School of Social Work, said the month’s events “capture the elements of what social workers do and are capable of. Our mission is about promoting social justice, so we must look at our education, what we’re teaching and what we’re doing in the community.”

Learning directly from experts within the field

For students who are looking to gain more insight about the field of social work, Adelphi alumni will be discussing how Adelphi prepared them for the challenges and rewards of social work as part of “Spotlight on Careers in Social Work.” The conversation will be led by Elizabeth Szpilka, MSW ’93, director of outreach, enrollment and professional advisement in the School of Social Work. Students will learn firsthand from social work experts, examine what a day in the life of a social worker is like, explore the many job opportunities of social work, review what a degree in social work has to offer in the real world and more. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 3, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Because the conversation will dive into the important topics of a successful career in social work, there will also be another discussion on Monday, March 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Uplifting those who uplift the community

As the pandemic looms on, social workers continue to help those suffering from the impact of COVID-19. Those who are committed to supporting the unsupported also need support. That’s why on Friday, March 5, the School of Social Work is hosting “Compassion Fatigue: An Occupational Hazard of Social Work.” This workshop is designed to provide emotional support to social workers who are facing an increased risk of burnout due to the pandemic. Held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the workshop will offer a framework for mitigating the effects of compassion fatigue and will be led by Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development Renee M. Rawcliffe.

Preparing students to serve underserved communities

It is important for social workers to be prepared to help every kind of community. On Wednesday, March 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the School of Social Work is hosting a workshop that equips students with the knowledge necessary to help recently arrived immigrant communities, including asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. “Social Work and Legal Advocacy: A Collaborative Response to Trauma in Recently Arrived Immigrant Communities” will focus on how trauma influences the medical and mental health needs of immigrant communities. The presenters, a licensed clinical social worker and an immigration lawyer, will also go beyond mental health challenges by exploring the legal needs of the immigrant community.

Educating the community

A major aspect of social work is humanity. To educate the community on their human rights, the School of Social Work is collaborating with the New York City Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday, March 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Race and Color Workshop will focus on human rights pertaining to people of color and how we can bridge any gaps within the community.

“Every human has rights,” said Pickens. “This event will dissect education, freedom of opinion and expression, and teach the community basic human rights as moral principles.”

Reshaping the future of law enforcement

Social work is a field that affects every aspect of society, including law enforcement. On Thursday, March 18, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Alex Vitale, PhD, author of The End of Policing (Verso 2017), will lead “A Role for Social Work in the Police Abolition Movement.” Doctoral students in the School of Social Work will join the discussion as panelists and examine how incorporating social workers in law enforcement can result in a better relationship between police officers and the community, especially communities of color.

Preparing students to utilize every resource

For social workers to make a big difference in the community, they must not only be equipped with the best resources but also the knowledge necessary to utilize their resources in multiple ways. Social work expert Mark Doel, PhD, will explore the possibilities of using physical objects in direct work with children, young people and their families. Students will dissect the notion of objects and our relationship to physical objects. Concluding an eventful Social Work Month, “Using Objects in Social Work” will be held on Wednesday, March 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Social work students making a difference

Adelphi’s School of Social Work looks forward to another 70 years of training social work practitioners who are dedicated to making a difference in the community. In efforts to continue its commitment to students outside of Social Work Month, the School of Social Work established Adelphi Students for Change, a safe space for students who value social justice, humanity, diversity, inclusion and equity. Every week, students work to advance the profession by discussing topics related to creating the best social workers of tomorrow.

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