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Almost a year later, social worker learns his movie won NASW Media Award

In Change of Plans former American Idol contestant Brooke White (right) and Joe Flanigan (second from right) play an aspiring musician and fighter pilot who reluctantly adopt four children. Phylicia Rashad (third from left in back) played adoption social worker Dorothy.

Social worker and television and movie executive Joel S. Rice won a 2012 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Media Award for his film “Change of Plans” but it took almost a year for him to find out.

In “Change of Plans,” a made-for-television family movie that first aired on Jan. 8, 2011 on Fox, actress Phylicia Rashad plays a social worker named Dorothy who helps a reluctant couple adopt children who lost their parents in an accident.

Social workers voted “Change of Plans” best feature film, beating out other entrants including “Oranges and Sunshine,” a movie about British social work heroine Margaret Humphreys.

A crystal award trophy was sent to director John Kent Harrison last May. Rice, who is the president, Muse Entertainment Enterprises USA Inc., just a few weeks ago happened to find out the film won an award from Harrison.

The fact he won an award from NASW is ironic.

Rice earned a master’s degree in social work from UCLA and worked as a social worker before entering the film industry. He was also a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Rice worked with Jewish Big Brothers  of Los Angeles and while there developed a  program to pair young people living with disabilities with adult mentors who had the same disabilities.

Joel S. Rice, MSW.

Rice said he decided to go into the entertainment industry when he realized he could reach more people more quickly through television. He has included social work-related topics in his films, including dating abuse, cyberbullying, developmental delay, autism and schizophrenia (You can get his full filmography at the Internet Movie Database).

Rice hopes his films educate and raise the awareness of viewers about these issues.

“I have really been able to fulfill my goals through television rather than through one person or one group at a time,” he said.

In fact, Rice was instrumental in developing the script for “Change of Plans” and making sure an adoption social worker had a key role in the film.

The National Association of Social Workers is now looking into making a new award trophy just for Rice.

You have until Jan. 21 to give us your nominations for the 2013 NASW Media Awards. Read this to learn more about how to make a nomination.

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4 Comments

  1. This is awesome news! An example of how creative social workers are!

  2. Social worker and television and movie executive Joel S. Rice won a 2012 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Media Award for his film “Change of Plans” but it took almost a year for him to find out.

  3. Social worker and television and movie executive Joel S. Rice won a 2012 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Media Award for his film “Change of Plans” but it took almost a year for him to find out.

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