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University of Maryland Social Work Journalism Project Shows Diversity of the “Helping Profession”

Photos from stories featured in Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety

Photos from stories featured in Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety

Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety Net is a media project of the University of Maryland Journalism Center on Children and Families (JCCF) that is supported by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

The project allowed professional journalist to use various media – video, cartoons, news articles and audio – to tell the stories of how social workers help people from various walks of life and from different parts of the United States overcome life’s challenges.

Some of the stories feature NASW members or projects supported by schools of social work. Here is a synopsis of the stories:

Fulton: No Jobs, Stress and Little Help: This radio segment and article by Whitney Jones looks at how social workers are helping people who live in Fulton, an isolated, poverty-stricken community in western Kentucky. NASW member Peggy Pittman-Munke is featured.

Gay and Gray: Supporting LGBT Seniors: This visual slide show and print article from reporter Audrey Quinn looks at how social worker Bill Mendez helps elderly LGBT people in New York City. Many of these clients are growing old alone and may not be accepted in centers that serve primarily heterosexual elderly clients.

Take a Bow: This audio segment by reporter Alison Byrne looks at a center in New Jersey that helps children who have been hurt by sexual abuse or other trauma recover. Social workers, including Diandra Kaufman and Maria Talone, work at Children’s House.

A New Life in a New World: This article from reporter Cathleen Falsani examines how staff at the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay in San Francisco help LGBT refugees resettle in the United States. These refugees come from nations hostile to LGBT people. The article mentions the center employs social workers.

How can Social Workers use Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety Net? Here are 5 ways:

  • Include a link  the promotional packets when you visit local lawmakers and officials to give them a sample of the positive contributions social workers make in society.

  • Send a link to the series to your local college schools of social work and journalism and encourage instructors to use it as a resource.

  • Do you know of social work issues or initiatives that would make good news stories? Pitch your idea to the media and use Lifelines as an example of the kinds of stories they can do.

  • Do the Lifelines articles reflect issues occurring in your area? Invite local reporters to brown bag lunch meetings or hold meetings with editors. Use the Lifelines stories as a spring board to persuade reporters and editors to do a localized version article on the issue.

  • Put a link to Lifelines on your chapter or professional website to give  visitors more insight into the social work profession. And feel free to share the website through your social media connections (Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest).

Breathing in Chaos: Mindfulness as Behavior Modification: This public radio segment by reporter Sasha Aslanian profiles social worker Rebecca Stewart, who uses yoga, meditation and other techniques to empower children in a special education school in Minneapolis., who works with homeless clients, iureds feat.

Children of Warriors: Trickle-Down Trauma: This video and article from reporter Linda Jacobson looks at a USC social work program that places master’s degree students in school to help children of veterans, who are often affected by their parent’s deployment or mental illnesses such as post traumatic stress disorder.

A photo from Let Them Go, Let Them Grow: The Latina Girls Project.

A photo from Let Them Go, Let Them Grow: The Latina Girls Project.

Lost in Transgender: This article and photo montage from reporter Chandra Thomas Whitfield looks at a Colorado program that helps transgender clients who may be battling discrimination, addiction, HIV/AIDS or other challenges. NASW members Karen Scarpella, Helina Gebremichael and Jason Rathsack featured.

Violencia Domestica: This article and photo montage from Rebekah Zemansky puts a spotlight on a bilingual domestic violence shelter in Phoenix that helps Latina clients. Many of these clients must deal with cultural, immigration and language issues that make them more vulnerable to abuse or less likely to escape it. Social worker Julie Rosen, who is an NASW member, is featured.

Parent U: This article and photo montage from reporter Melody Simons looks at a University of Maryland Social Work program that empowers people in a poverty-stricken West Baltimore community to become better parents through classes and support groups.

Let Them Go, Let Them Grow: The Latina Girls Project: Latina girls in a Long Island, N.Y., community suffer higher rates of depression and suicide. Part of the reason are customs that keep young women isolated. This article and photo montage from Jenna Kern-Rugile looks at a social work project aimed at helping these young women overcome such challenges and prosper.

Women in Recovery: This article by Molly Ginty looks at a Tulsa, OK program that focuses on the unique challenges and needs of women who are recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Social worker Catherine Claybrook featured.

Been There and Back: Reporter Solomon Jones uses video and a news article to look at a Philadelphia program that is dedicated to helping house homeless veterans. Social workers Vincent Kane of the Veterans Administration and Earl Driscoll of Pathways to Housing are featured.

Looking for social workers who can speak to the media? Visit the National Association of Social Workers’ 1,000 Experts Campaign. And to learn more about the positive contributions social workers make to society go to NASW’s consumer website.

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  1. Working as a Social Worker in Florida (MSW- LCSW candidate) the main concern I have is that we are not well recognized as health professionals. We have to compete with LPNs for non-clinical positions. We are being requested to be Licensed only to get a regular salary. What can we do as a professional group to get the respect that we deserve? ?

    Thanks in advance,


  1. NASW launches celebration of Social Work Month 2015, association’s 60th Anniversary |

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