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News Items – November 14, 2014

zengerU. student reaches far beyond his disabilities while training to help others
Deseret News
Darran Zenger and his guide dog, Archer, maneuver the University of Utah campus and the social work program with determination. Zenger has Usher syndrome; born deaf, he wears cochlear implants. And his sight continues to deteriorate with retinitis pigmentosa.… Zenger is working to become a social worker, which involves a demanding list of classes, practicums and training, learning people skills and understanding government aid.

Robin Contino is a member:
When puppets meet refugees, healing begins for children
Catholic News Service
Syrian children who have seen their houses bombed and family members killed are using string, glue, socks, beads and other odds and ends to help put their lives back together. Counselors, teachers and volunteers are being trained to help the children process their trauma through the use of puppets.… Robin Contino, Catholic Relief Services technical adviser for psycho-social support, is a licensed clinical social worker who spent 15 years overseas, mostly in Asia. “We know that kids process trauma not through talk, but through play,” she said. Many children who have experienced trauma have post-traumatic stress disorder, she added, explaining that they might find it hard to sleep or jump when they hear noises. “It’s the norm, but it never gets normal,” she said.

Panel Addresses Water Supply and How to Keep It Safe
The safety of drinking water was a key priority at a panel discussion Thursday evening at the University of Charleston. Thursday’s panel was organized by Advocates for a Safe Water System, and co-sponsored by the WV Center on Budget & Policy, Healthy Kids & Families Coalition, National Association of Social Workers WV Chapter, and WV Council of Churches.

Help coming for veterans behind bars
Livingston Daily (MI)
Kelli Canada, assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Social Work in Columbia, said social workers could contribute to the solution and partner with veterans’ courts to address the issues. “Social workers are equipped to provide support to veterans through research, education, outreach and advocacy, which allows social workers to connect veterans with helpful resources rather than criminalizing them,” she said. “There’s a stigma around receiving services for mental health, particularly for drug or alcohol use,” added Canada, who led a research team that studied veterans in the Missouri criminal system. “Social workers can try to help reduce the stigma of receiving services for veterans.”

Student veterans find another service opportunity in social work
University of Wisconsin–Madison News
When Andy Heitman returned to Madison after eight years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, one of the first things he did was enroll in the Part-Time Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work. “My whole goal all along, post-military, was to help vets any which way possible,” says Heitman, now a case manager for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Madison. “I saw social work as the best avenue to help veterans that were hurting.” Social work is an increasingly popular
choice for veterans returning to graduate school.

Inked-up Veterans Tell Stories of War Through Their Tattoos
Mike Ergo, who did two tours of duty in Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, is now a social worker and readjustment counselor for Veterans Affairs. He participated in the War Ink project to help find common ground between veteran and civilian communities. “My hope is that the idea of letting veterans tell their stories … can avoid putting us in the stereotypical lights of heroes, perpetrators or broken people who need pity,” Ergo said.

Cynthia Manzano is a member:
Public relations class wrestles away stress
The Shorthorn (UT-Arlington, TX)
“Each event reaches students in different ways to let them have fun and learn about what we do,” said Cynthia Manzano, clinical social worker and office outreach coordinator. Manzano said the office provides outreach workshops, counseling services, psychological assessments and evaluations to students. The sumo event was free and open to anyone.

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