Contact: Lisa Sollie
(MERIDIAN) – March was National Professional Social Work Month and this year’s theme “Social Work Matters” seeks to showcase the impact of more than 642,000 professional social workers in America.
Mississippi State University-Meridian celebrated the month with its annual awards program Tuesday, March 27th at 9:30 am in Kahlmus auditorium. MSU-Meridian’s Social Work program was established in 1972, began the national accreditation process in 1995, and was successfully accredited in 1997. Since its inception, over 200 students have graduated with a degree in Social Work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the country due to an increased need for health and aging related services, as well as child, family, and school based supports.
“As the profession of hope, social workers help people overcome poverty, inequality, insecurity, fear, violence, trauma, loss, and pain,” noted Rhonda Carr, director of the social work program at MSU-Meridian. “What social workers do and how they do it does matter to our country’s success,” she added.
According to Carr, MSU-Meridian students are involved in several community service events throughout the year including Operation Reindeer, a program in which the Association of Student Social Workers purchase Christmas presents for the residents at East Mississippi State Hospital. Students also assist with the annual Care Lodge Domestic Violence conference, volunteer with the Run for Hope, sponsored by Hope Village for Children, assist with Gaits to Greatness, a therapeutic and guided riding program for special needs children, youth, teens and adults, and volunteer with Love’s Kitchen throughout the year. Students must also complete an internship/practicum consisting of 450 hours in a social service or helping agency prior to graduating.
According to Dr. Marian Swindell, Associate Professor in the program, social work is a calling.
“Social workers are people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, who want their work to make a difference,” noted Swindell. “They are able to help clients work through not only how they feel about a situation, but also what they can do about that situation.”
At MSU-Meridian’s Social Work Awards program, outstanding social work students were recognized in the following categories: Outstanding Research Award, Social Work Student of the Year, and Field Placement Student of the Year. Several individual achievement awards were also presented.
As a direct result of the outstanding work our social work students have done in the community, the Henry Daum Endowment was established in 2011. During this year’s award ceremony, two students received an educational scholarship from that endowment.
Also, the Sandra Vaughn Scholarship was announced. Vaughn joined MSU-Meridian faculty in 1990, was promoted to Program Director in 1999, and was instrumental in the growth, vitalization, and success of the program. This scholarship honors her dedication to the social work profession, devotion to family, and commitment to improving the lives of Mississippians.
Last Updated: 5/17/12