Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
NASW-NC would like to introduce you to the 2014-2015 NASW-NC Board of Directors.
Each of our amazing board members chose the profession of social work for a reason and we would like to share their stories with you. Stay tuned for a post about each of the social workers who represent YOU on the NASW-NC Board.
I began my professional life as an elementary teacher at my mother’s wishes. I taught many years, first in elementary and middle schools, then at the community college and university levels. I was having a difficult time finding my niche because, although I loved the teaching process, I loved helping the students more than teaching them. For a number of years I worked with NC public school teachers, assisting them with personal independent study projects they dreamed of completing. Following this fifteen year commitment, I moved on, hoping to broaden my horizons and fill the ever growing void I harbored. I worked in a number of non-renewable grant funded positions over the next eight years, from Job Corps, to Workforce Investment, to Smart Start. The bulk of the work in these positions involved case management so I had first hand experience in the helping profession- helping “at risk” youth and families connect with appropriate supportive services to provide them with opportunities to improve their current situations.
At the close of the Smart Start grant, I was fortunate to obtain a position with our local LME, Smoky Mountain Center, as a Community Care Coordinator. Covering two adjacent counties, my duties were to follow up on clients who had been treated inpatient for mental health or substance abuse issues and were being discharged back to the community, and to connect them with appropriate services. It did not take long for me to realize this was the missing piece of the puzzle, this was the meaning I was searching for to fill that perpetual void I felt. I had the good fortune of re-acquainting myself with a young man who was a friend of our family’s, who had just begun working on his MSW through our local university, Western Carolina University. His wife had recently graduated with her MSW and was working at a local mental health agency. This was the spark I needed to complete my soul-searching process- I would go back to school and become a social worker. After completing the laborious entrance requirements, I began my course of study in the summer of 2009, graduating three years later with my prized MSW.
My first position as a new provisionally dual-licensed social worker was with our local mobile crisis unit which covered western North Carolina. I worked as a mobile crisis clinician for two years, attending to people in crisis at local emergency rooms or at their residences. I recently have begun a new position as a master’s level therapist for adult mental health and substance abuse serving Native Americans on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee. Although our organization is small, I have the good fortune of working with six other clinical social workers, all of whom have been instrumental in guiding me successfully to becoming a clinical social worker.
I am blessed to have had the chance to experience the wealth of opportunities I was given which allowed me to explore the alternatives which eventually led me to my lifelong calling as a social worker. I am proud of myself and proud of my profession for the outstanding job we do in working with the difficult but rewarding situations we often find ourselves facing in our everyday work.
Learn more about the NASW-NC Board of Directors and what NASW-NC does for the social work profession in North Carolina