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HIGHLIGHTS 6 | Social Work Spotlight: World AIDS Day 7 | Social Work Spotlight: National Human Rights Month 9 | Our Gift to You – FREE CEUs 11 | FORCE for Change 12 | Annual Conference Preview 19 | Partner Spotlight: Life Force Elder Care

National Association of Social Workers


VOL 29•3 | DECEMBER 2019

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Nkechi Okoli, President Judyann McCarthy, 1st Vice President


30 Silverline Drive, Suite 3 North Brunswick, NJ 08902 Ph:732.296.8070

Jennifer Thompson, MSW

Executive Director

Jenny Conger, 2nd Vice President Pat Spencer, Secretary Frank Greenagel, Central Regional Rep Sierra Spriggs, Northeast Regional Rep Dawn Konrady, Southern Regional Rep Megan O’Brien, Graduate Student Rep Thomas Cadmus, Undergraduate Student Rep

Christina Mina, MSW

Director of Member Services or ext. 117

Helen French

Director of Development & Education or ext. 122

UNIT LEADERS NASW-NJ has 12 units across the state of New Jersey.

Jeff Feldman, MSW, LSW

Atlantic/Cape May/ Cumberland Tanoa Bettis, Co-Chair

Hudson Lauren Snedeker, Co-Chair

Annie Siegel, MSW

Bergen/Passaic Melissa Donahue, Chair

Mercer/Burlington Mary Beth Kohler, Chair Miguel Williams, Co-Chair

Willis Williams

Camden/Gloucester/Salem Danica Rivello, Chair Danielle Cranmer, Co-Chair

Middlesex Joshua Collins, Chair

Director of Advocacy & Communications or ext. 114 Membership & Education Coordinator or ext. 128 Office Manager or ext. 110

Michelle Benloss

MSW Intern

Essex Felicia Fdyfil-Horne, Chair Ruby Sekhon, Co-Chair

Monmouth/Ocean Jeanne Koller, Chair Denise Gaetano, Co-Chair

Morris Cheryl Cohen, Co-Chair Veronica Grysko-Sporer, Co-Chair

Somerset/Hunterdon Chair & Co-Chair, Open Sussex/Warren Dina Morley, Chair Afifa Ansari, Co-Chair Union Chair & Co-Chair, Open

To learn more about Unit Leadership opportunities, contact

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A SPECIAL NOTE to Our Readers FOCUS will be taking a break during the months of January/February 2020 while we realign our production schedule. We’ll return in March 2020 with a special Social Work Month-themed issue. Our bi-monthly publication schedule will resume following the March issue (March, May, July, September, November). Thanks for your understanding!


. wishing our members the best this holiday season . Your NASW-NJ Team

President’s Message


2020 Annual Conference

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Executive Director’s Message


Advocacy in Action

| 14

Social Work Spotlight: World AIDS Day

Student Center

| 16


Social Work Spotlight: National Human Rights Month

Partner Spotlight: Life Force Senior Care

| 19


Member Benefits


Holiday Gift Guide: NASW Swag

| 20

Our Gift to You: Free CEUs



| 21

Beating the Holiday Blues

| 10

Social Work Month 2020

| 22

FORCE for Change

| 11

Winter Professional Development Workshops

| 23

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President’s MESSAGE

Dear Members: It’s that time of year where we take a moment to give thanks for family and friends during holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas and more. For those who do not celebrate these holidays, or who find this time of year particularly hard, I wish you a season of peace, happiness, and joy as well. As the new year approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the months that have passed; the obstacles we have tackled, and the victories we have been able to achieve as individuals and as a profession. The work we do does not go unnoticed, as we breakdown walls designed to keep people oppressed, excluded, and under-represented. We are at the frontlines of change, and our impact is immeasurable. Let’s recognize the progress we have made, while acknowledging the consistent efforts necessary to sustain the momentum in the new year. As a collective we need to continue to show up, stand up, and speak up, now more than ever.

Nkechi Okoli, MSW, LSW

As part of this moment of reflection and preparation for the new year, I encourage you to take time for your own self-care. In order to continue to be ‘there’ for others, we need to take time to show up for ourselves. Set aside time to do something you enjoy and work to set your intentions for the new year. As a thank you for all that you do, and for being a valued member of NASW-NJ, we are offering you free access to a 2 CEU webinar as a part of our NASW Gives Back theme. This will be a regular occurrence in NASW-NJ Focus going forward—information on how members can unlock a free CEU opportunity in every issue. We appreciate you and are happy to give back to our members, as we know you give so much of yourselves to others. Overall, I wish you a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Sincerely, Nkechi Okoli

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NASW- NJ’s Executive Director

Jennifer Thompson, MSW

Friends & Colleagues: Over the past year, our community has come together, grown, and celebrated in so many ways. Your energy and passion have propelled the Chapter forward and we have remained a vibrant community throughout the state. I am so grateful for our membership—you continue to inspire me. This year we have been fortunate to be embraced by new partners, as well—companies, organizations, and community leaders who are connecting with social workers, the communities we serve, and whom share our commitment to advocacy. These partners have given our Chapter the ability to bring new and exciting opportunities to you—from our pool party at the Annual Conference, to our first Private Practice Bootcamp and Healthcare Symposium. Thanks to our partners, sponsors, and friends, we have been able to develop new programs, opportunities for networking, and engage in advocacy in new ways. In 2020, we will continue to strengthen our community and enhance our programs, adding more value to our members, and advancing our social justice priorities. We will continue to develop one-day symposiums, led by experts in their respective fields, that bring you together for both education and fellowship. We are developing a service-learning opportunity to the US/Mexico border, so that you have an opportunity to lend your time and talent to a community you have told us you are concerned about. We plan to honor and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. We are planning a statewide salary survey, a legislative day in Trenton for our membership as a whole, and an Annual Conference for 2020 that is both inspirational and aspirational, looking to the future of our profession. We will continue to bring you best practices and learning in the field of social work as we seek to live our values and make our communities stronger. On behalf of our state team and national colleagues, thank you again to our members, partners, and friends. I hope you enjoy the holidays!

In Solidarity, Jennifer Thompson, MSW

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AIDS DAY This year’s theme for World AIDS Day, commemorated on December 1, is “communities make the difference.” In conjunction with this important observance, we’ve chosen to highlight the work of one of our state’s original HIV/AIDS community organizations: the Hudson Pride Center (HPC). According to David Rosen, LCSW, Clinical Director at HPC, HPC has “embodied the spirit of ‘communities making a difference’ ever since its founding in 1993.” Rosen notes that HPC was one of NJ’s first LGBTQ+ community organizations specifically established to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis at a time before effective HIV treatment. HPC’s first support service for people trying to survive HIV was its HIV Buddies program, where HIV+ people abandoned by their families due to HIV stigma were matched to caring volunteers trained to assist them with household tasks and companionship. “Twenty-six years later” says Rosen, “HPC continues to serve people now living with HIV, and its mission has expanded to include the provision of a social and wellness safety net for the entire LGBTQ+ community.”

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HPC remains one of the few LGBTQ+ agencies in NJ that is also a primarily minority-serving and staffed institution. Most HPC clients have few social support networks and are emotionally fragile, having experienced years of discrimination, according to Rosen. HPC programs are thus aimed at reducing the health and human services disparities so common to LGBTQ+ communities of color. Current programs and advocacy services include LGBTQ+ support and social groups for youth, adults, seniors and non-binary/transgender people, as well as specialized HIV linkage to care and treatment adherence services for HIV+ gay/bisexual men, transgender people and women of color. Another important service goal at HPC is to help prevent HIV transmission among high-risk gay/bisexual men and transgender women. HPC therefore offers clients workshops and support groups on safer sex, such as condom negotiation and

PrEP, an effective daily medication-based advancement in the national HIV prevention effort. HPC also provides HIV PrEP Counseling to help clients access and remain on PrEP regimens to avoid HIV-infection. Additionally, HPC offers community trainings focused on educating organizations and providers on delivering LGBTQ+ and HIV affirming services and hosts annual cultural events such as its LGBTQ+ Youth Prom, Vogue Ball, Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil, LezFest Events, and Pride Festivals. “This broad array of activities has enabled HPC to not just create a much-needed safe space for the diverse HIV+ and LGBTQ+ communities of Hudson County but to make a real difference in the fight against HIV these past 26 years and counting,” says Rosen. “Our work is tangible proof that community can make the difference!” For more information, visit



Social Work: An Overarching

Commitment to Human Rights

This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). Social workers play an enormous role in defending human rights, preventing violations of human rights, and assuring that human rights are being met. We do this in every level of our practice—micro and macro—whether it is assisting a client in finding affordable, safe housing (the right to social security), working with parents to advocate for their children’s educational needs (the right to education), organizing a voter registration drive (the right to democracy), or joining with our co-workers to form a union (workers rights). At Monmouth University School of Social Work, the commitment to advancing human rights and social justice is embedded in the mission and curriculum. Students within both concentrations, Clinical Practice with Families and Children and Global and Community Practice, take a required advanced core course in which they develop and implement an intervention that advances human rights and social justice within their field placement or community. On a global level, Monmouth University School of Social Work hosts three International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) representatives to the United Nations (UN); Dean Robin Mama, Dr.

Michael Cronin, and Dr. Anne Deepak. IFSW represents 3 million social workers in 128 countries, all of whom strive for social justice, human rights, and inclusive, sustainable social development through the promotion of social work best practices and engagement in international cooperation. The representatives to the UN for IFSW work with other UN agencies and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to share best practices to further global understanding of the central role of social work in promoting and defending human rights. They also help to organize Social Work Day at the UN, a gathering place for people around the world who are working to make a difference. For 35 years, students, practitioners, and educators have convened at the UN to learn more about its work, innovative projects, and issues related to International Social Work and the critical role social work plays in the international arena. The date for 2020 Social Work Day at the UN is still being finalized. You can check for updates and registration info on the Monmouth University School of Social Work website (

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JOIN NASW-NJ NOW AND SAVE! Enjoy the benefits of Membership throughout the year: ADVANCE YOUR CAREER • Reduced rate for all in-person and online CE programs • Reduced rate for LSW and LCSW Test Prep Courses • Reduced rates for Annual Conference • Free CEUs during Social Work Month • Clinical Supervisor Directory (Find a Supervisor/ Promote your Practice) • JobLink (Members-only online Career Center) • Access to NASW Scholarships (for students) • newSWire™ e-newsletter (weekly) and FOCUS magazine (bi-monthly) • Social Work Advocates (National bi-monthly magazine) • Free annual subscription to Social Work journal • Practice updates • Specialty Practice Sections • Unlimited access to NASW Research Library (including 25 international research databases) • NASW Press – 10% discount PROTECT & GROW YOUR PRACTICE • Free Ethics Consultations • New Jersey licensing updates • Tools & resources created just for you • Legal resources

• HIPAA Resources • Discounted liability (malpractice) insurance • Reduced rate for NJ Private Practice Manual • Help Starts Here (free listing on Social Work directory) • EAPrefer (referral of EAP clients) BE AN ADVOCATE • Social Justice Priorities and Briefs • Advocacy and Legislative Alerts • Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) CONNECT WITH PEERS • Unit events (regionally based): activities, networking, & CE programs • Private Practice Shared Interest Groups (regionally based) • Social Work Meet & Greet Networking Events • Take on a volunteer leadership role • Join the MyNASW Online Community NEW JERSEY SERVICES • Personalized Licensing Consultations • Brief Legal Consultations • Exclusive personal and professional discounts for members • Competitive advertising across NJ platforms

TO JOIN NASW NOW, GO TO: WWW.SOCIALWORKERS.ORG 8 2019 |2019 8 June December |

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Beating the HOLIDAY BLUES Tips for Therapists and Clients

The holiday season often inspires feelings of warmth, joy, and belonging, regardless of one’s religious affiliation. However, for some people, this time of year can evoke feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety, according to an article by The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, published in Psychology Today (2017). The article cites evidence that “holiday blues” are a real phenomenon, but don’t always manifest in ways we’d expect. For instance, research has disproven the widely held belief that suicide rates spike during the holiday season; November, December, and January have the lowest daily suicide rates of any month (Bronfenbrenner Center, 2017). However, some surveys have confirmed that people do feel more stress, anxiety and depression between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. These feelings often coexist with positive feelings about the holiday and can center on issues including “lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings” (Bronfenbrenner Center, 2017). NASW member, Gerry Viggiani, LCSW, LCADC, PMH-C, owner of Lotus Blossom Psychotherapy in Eatontown, NJ and facilitator of the NASW-NJ Monmouth/Ocean Private Practice Shared Interest Group (PPSIG) notes the holiday season can be overwhelming for some and can create a focus on materialistic or unrealistic expectations of ourselves and those around us. She suggests social workers and their clients practice gratitude to reframe issues and return focus to the positive when experiencing a dip in mood during the holiday season. Viggiani suggests several ways to cultivate a gratitude practice, including:

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: The holiday blues are short-term, time-limited, and typically lift when the holiday season ends. If feelings of depression or anxiety are still being experienced after the holidays and they interfere with activities of daily living, this may be indicative of a more severe issue. Social workers should use their clinical judgement to fully assess a client’s symptoms and presentation, or, if experiencing sustained symptoms themselves, should seek professional care.

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• Counting Blessings: Create a journal or a list, daily or weekly, of 5 things for which you are grateful. The list can contain both big and small things. Dig deep! • Three Good Things: Similar to counting blessings, but instead of just listing the things you are grateful for, journal about it and add the causes for your appreciation. • Prayer or Meditation: Reflection through meditation or prayer can offer clarity and lift spirits. • Gratitude Letters/Visits: Writing thank you notes or visiting people and sharing your gratitude. • Experiential Consumption: Instead of buying a material gift, purchase or create an experience to be shared, providing you and others a chance to build opportunities for gratitude.

SOCIAL WORK: A Force for CHANGE LEADING DIALOGUE ACROSS ALL PLACES AND SPACES WITHIN NEW JERSEY IS CRITICAL TO THE MISSION OF OUR CHAPTER. We believe in being an active voice and participating in conversations that showcase the broad range of expertise social workers bring to practice settings—and sometimes that means thinking outside of the traditional box that social workers are placed in. On November 14th, the Chapter did just that by participating in the Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners conference, Force for Change. Social Workers are entrepreneurs and business owners, envisioning organizations and agencies and creating practices and programs that lead the national dialogue. Our Executive Director, Jennifer Thompson joined a power panel of leading policy experts in New Jersey including Senator Nellie Pou, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter. The panel members discussed their own experiences as women in politics and policy, as well as lead a conversation around what it will take to elect more women to office. Thompson shared, “You don’t have to run for senate or assembly, that’s not for everyone. But look around your community, see what you can change, where your voice may be needed. It might be a school board, it might be a council seat, but there is a place where your voice is missing—and I challenge you to go find that, lean in.” In addition to leading the dialogue around policy and advocacy and sharing the work the New Jersey Chapter is doing to advocate on a number of issues, the Chapter also had the opportunity to showcase the innovation of the sector. The conference hosted two distinctively different “pitching” contests, providing opportunities to pitch investment ideas to funders and PR pitches to leading journalists including Women’s Day and NJ Biz. NASW-NJ took the stage in partnership with Friends with Holograms to pitch the partnering of social workers and virtual reality (VR) developers to bring to life VR programs that create social change. On a second stage, the partners pitched to the media the story of how social workers and companies can come together with diverse skillsets and expertise to develop partnerships that positively impact communities. With over 50 pitches in each contest, NASW was given three minutes to put their best case forward. We made it to the finalist stage in both events and just learned—OUR PITCH WAS A WINNER! We are anxiously awaiting next steps as we look forward to making our Virtual Reality pitch a reality.

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NASW - NJ ANNUAL CONFERENCE April 26 - 28, 2020

Social Workers Dr. Desmond Patton and Dr. Courtney Cogburn, both of Columbia University, are nationally renowned for their forward-thinking work with artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). Their efforts underscore the importance of incorporating social workers and social work values into the development of these and other emerging technologies. As our technological advances continue to push the boundaries of human possibility and understanding, Patton and Cogburn envision a crucial role for social workers in creating and advancing more humane and ethical tech. The two will discuss their efforts in detail during their keynote address at the 2020 NASW-NJ Annual Conference, allowing attendees to witness the impact of technology on social work, as well as the impact of social work on technology. In Dr. Cogburn’s experience, many of her colleagues and friends—even those with a fierce belief in social justice—were “out of touch with the impact of racism on African Americans today.” So, she found a way for others to walk in the shoes of someone living that experience. She and a colleague created a 12-minute virtual reality film, 1000 Cut Journey, that uses VR technology to allow viewers to experience the impact of racism on African Americans today.

“When I come into AI spaces to talk about my work, I am almost always the only social worker in the space,” said Patton, in an August 2019 interview with “The reality is, AI canʼt do anything without human effort or human intelligence,” Patton continued. “AI is really bad at emotions. It cannot detect context. So, we need people who have training and understanding of how emotions work and the role of context to ensure that we are creating the most ethical tools possible. So, people trying to hire the best data scientists should also be trying to hire the best social workers.” In the article, Patton emphasizes the importance of anticipating how technological solutions to societal problems will impact diverse communities. He believes social workers are crucial in the technological development process to identify “issues of race, power, privilege and oppression” that must be considered in the creation and adoption of the algorithmic tools that power these technologies.

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“We wanted people to have a visceral sense of what [being the target of racism] feels like,” she said in an article published in Columbia News. Having such an experience is “more likely to trigger empathy, and to help [someone] understand the scope and nature of racism and racial inequality in our society.” Columbia News describes Cogburn’s film as one that “immerses viewers in the life of a fictional African American man, Michael Sterling, as he encounters racism as a child, adolescent, and adult.” The film debuted last April at Tribeca Immersive, the Tribeca Film Festival’s virtual arcade, which showcases virtual reality and augmented reality films.

“#IamRemarkable made me acknowledge and proudly talk about my achievements out loud in a room full of people. For the first time, I didn’t let fear hold me back – a major milestone in my personal At NASW-NJ, we strive to ensure that women and persons from underrepresented backgrounds feel comfortable taking part in our organization, and that they see themselves represented in the ranks of our leadership and overall membership. We’re extremely proud that our leadership over the past several years has reflected this diversity. However, not all organizations are so willing to share and diversify power, resulting in a large gap in leadership positions for women and underrepresented populations.


– Tanisha, Duke University

Research has shown one of the biggest hurdles women and underrepresented groups face when attempting to tackle this leadership gap is practicing self-promotion — or vocally expressing their achievements in a working environment. The benefits of self-promotion are vast — including taking control of how you’re perceived by others and making them understand the unique contributions you can make. #IamRemarkable is an initiative originated at and sponsored by Google that strives to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond, thereby breaking modesty norms and glass ceilings. As of July 2019, the #IamRemarkable initiative had reached 50,000 participants from 65 countries with over 2,500 trained facilitators delivering the workshop worldwide. Now, we’re pleased to announce that we’re bringing the #IamRemarkable phenomenon to NASW-NJ. Join Executive Director, Jennifer Thompson, as she facilitates an #IamRemarkable workshop at the 2020 NASW-NJ Annual Conference. The workshop will not only teach participants the skills of self-promotion but will also increase awareness of the hurdles women and underrepresented groups face in the workplace and beyond.

“After #IamRemarkable, I became aware of how we are inclined to have negative feelings towards other powerful women. I started turning those feelings into positive feelings: pride and empowerment.”

– Rayan, McKinsey & Company

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Advocacy in


Professional Practice Issues Over the past several months, NASW-NJ has seen forward movement on several issues we have been addressing that impact the practice of social work in our state. One issue that has been brought to our attention by numerous members is unexpected denial of LCSW licensure by the Board of Social Work Examiners (BSWE). Some applicants who applied for their LCSW licenses were finding their clinical supervisors did not meet qualifications set forth in the social work licensure regulations, or the BSWE had determined the work they were performing did not meet the definition of clinical social work in the regulations. In response to NASW-NJ’s advocacy on this issue over the years, the BSWE has created and released a “Proposed Plan of Supervision” document that applicants can complete and submit for approval prior to beginning their clinical hours and supervision. This plan will allow applicants to verify in advance that their clinical supervisor and their clinical job functions will be accepted for licensure, prior to putting in the actual 2-4 years of work. The Proposed Plan of Supervision has not yet been formally adopted into the official social work regulations but is now available for applicants to submit to the BSWE on

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a voluntary basis in order to ensure their clinical supervisor and the clinical activities of their job are in compliance with BSWE regulations. We have also worked with the BSWE to address the changing timeline for when applicants may sit for the clinical licensing exam. A directive was issued by the national Association of Social Work Boards to all state boards of social work examiners, requiring applicants to have completed their required supervised clinical hours, prior to submitting an application to sit for the clinical licensing exam. NASW-NJ successfully advocated on behalf of social workers to delay implementation of this directive until January 2021. As such, between now and January 2021, applicants in NJ may continue to sit for the clinical licensing exam 90 days following their successful completion of the Masters level exam. NASW-NJ also responded to the proposed telemedicine regulations for social workers put forth by the BSWE, submitting several pages of comments on the proposed regulations. We will continue to work to ensure these regulations, when published, contain provisions to secure client confidentiality, set forth clear and actionable guidelines for what is considered telemedicine and how social workers are permitted to engage in this activity, and that permissions and restrictions related to the practice of telemedicine are no different for clinical social workers than they are for other mental health professionals.

Coalition UPDATE: The New Jersey Parity Coalition is a grassroots effort by partnering organizations and individuals working to end insurance inequalities in treating those struggling in seeking services for mental health and/or addiction. NASWNJ has been a member of the Coalition since its inception. The Parity Coalition was instrumental in achieving passage of state-level mental health parity laws in New Jersey that strengthen federally mandated protections, ensure that insurers in our state are complying with parity requirements, and help individuals impacted by substance abuse and mental health issues achieve access to care. There is a strong belief amongst coalition members that access to care issues have not completely resolved following passage of the Parity Bill earlier this year. As such, the Coalition’s work moving forward during the 2020-21 state Legislative Term will continue to focus on bills that impact parityrelated matters, such as: insurance network adequacy, a health insurance Ombudsperson, privacy of personal behavioral health insurance information, etc.

Parity law implementation remains a strong priority for the Coalition, and both independently, and in conjunction with the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI), the Coalition will help educate providers and consumers on provisions of the parity statute.

NASW-NJ will continue to work with the Parity Coalition to ensure the clients our members serve have access to quality, reimbursable care and that clinicians will be able to receive insurance reimbursement for services provided.

The Coalition will also continue to monitor any regulations promulgated to implement provisions of the parity law passed earlier this year.

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Student CENTER

Student Leader Spotlight:

Rosalina Cerda-Lopez believes in helping others. She also believes in taking advantage of the opportunities presented to her. When she learned of a study abroad opportunity for students that would allow her to provide aid to struggling communities, she leapt at the opportunity. In January 2019, she traveled to Greece to provide agricultural education to refugees and the homeless population. Her cohort spent time at local food pantries and shelters, helping to restock shelves and engaging and educating the community. “I found the opportunity to positively impact children and families to be highly rewarding,” says Rosalina. “Also, as the only social work student on the trip, I was able to use my knowledge of social work ethics to help inform our work there.” Rosalina is a BSW student at Rutgers Newark, Class of 2022. She is pursuing majors in both Social Work and Sociology, as well as minors in Psychology and Urban Education. Her goal upon graduation is to work with at-risk children and youth, specifically as a school social worker. “I have witnessed the life-changing difference stable and steady guidance can provide a child,” says Rosalina. “I want to help disadvantaged children learn to use their strengths to create a life they desire and to realize they have the power to break generational cycles of poverty, trauma, and abuse.” Rosalina is also president of the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society chapter at Rutgers Newark. As president, she plans to grow the organization’s efforts related to humanitarian issues and to use the honor society as a place to network and build long-lasting relationships with like-minded students and professionals. In July 2019, Rosalina joined another study abroad trip, this time to Puerto Rico, to provide community education on the benefits of solar energy. In the process, she not only received training in how to install solar panels but also participated in the completion of several solar projects in isolated communities that have yet to recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria. This opportunity allowed Rosalina to witness the resilience of the Puerto Rican people. Additionally, during her stay, a historical mass protest occurred to remove the Governor after his leaked messages revealed sexist, profane and homophobic comments. Despite still reeling from the devastating consequences of Hurricane Maria, this community banded together to combat political corruption and overcome yet another obstacle to their survival and well-being. From this experience, Rosalina says she has learned that societal change requires patience and persistence from a united community.

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Rosalina hopes to take advantage of future student trips, in order to increase her knowledge of other cultures, grow her social work skills, and continue to nourish her soul by helping create change in the lives of disadvantaged people and communities.

Social Work Student Organization Spotlight At Seton Hall, the mission of the school’s Graduate Social Work Club is to establish a campus-wide social work presence through advocacy, education, and volunteer opportunities. The organization is currently comprised of 10 to 15 members who meet once a month. The club welcomes all MSW students.

recruiting speakers to campus to discuss social work concerns, and events to educate the surrounding community about the profession of social work,” says club member, Jeanette Torres. The club’s holiday Food Drive took place from November 1 - 21. The food collected will be used to support two shelter facilities within Union and Essex Counties.

One of the club’s goals is to educate both the current campus community and the wider community on social, emotional, and health issues. Current co-president, Pam Gabriele, has led this effort by creating a monthly newsletter to spread information to the college community regarding mental health, social issues, and public health concerns.

“As a second year MSW student at Seton Hall, I am so impressed by the new club members,” says Torres. “I see their commitment and their vision to empower other club members and the Seton Hall community.” Torres says as a continuing student, she sees her role with the club as ensuring the group continues to think outside of the box and to motivate all members to achieve the goals set by club.

The Graduate Social Work Club was very active last year. They volunteered at a campus Syrian Supper Club event, supported a soup kitchen during the holidays, and attended the Annual Social Work Day at the United Nations.

“Together we will be able to spread more peace and harmony,” she says.

“With many creative minds on board, this year we have multiple activities planned, including the continuation of our newsletter,

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PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Life Force Senior Care

Life Force Senior Care has been working hand in hand with social workers for 30 years and has been a supporter of NASW-NJ for more than a decade. “Entering into a year-round partnership with NASW-NJ made complete sense,” said Jared Rodgers, Chief Executive. “We offer social workers a desirable solution for their clients—the ability to safely remain in the comfort of their own home—while the NASW helps us with getting our message out to the social work community across New Jersey, be it through advertising, their Annual Conference, or the opportunity to sponsor targeted events and programs.” Life Force began in 1989 with three caregivers and a shared understanding that seniors wanted to age in their own homes. Ever since, Life Force has specialized in providing 24-hour live-in caregivers, a feature that sets them apart from other conventional providers who offer set hourly services between certain times of day. “Because our caregivers are in the client’s home 24 hours a day, the service is more dependable,” said Rodgers. “And our flatfee pricing makes it easier for families to plan for the costs associated with caregiving. Most importantly though, families have the assurance their loved one is never left alone. Our live-in caregivers are there to respond to the client’s service needs—on the client’s schedule, not the company’s.” Another unique aspect of Life Force’s model is their fleet of vehicles maintained for the sole purpose of transporting caregivers to and from clients’ homes. This allows the organization to quickly intervene in the case of an emergency that would require relieving the caregiver on duty and replacing them with a qualified substitute. Providing transportation for the caregivers adds a whole new dimension of dependability of service to the consumer. One of the most rewarding benefits of the work they do, according to Rodgers, is witnessing the positive effect their services have on the adult children of clients. “So often, we see family caregivers desperately seeking help and answers. Life Force offers a professional caregiving solution that provides each family the peace of mind they seek,” says Rodgers. “We give back their freedom to be a son or daughter to their aging parent instead of a full-time caregiver.” For more information, visit

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FOCUS Classified Rates: • Over 7000 members • Digital delivery and printed • Frequency: 1 issue • Text only • 50 words or less, $100

Your Ad Here

Contact, call 732-296-8070, or visit for more information.

FOCUS Ad/Image Rates: • Over 7000 members • Digital delivery and printed • Frequency: 1 issue • Full-color, camera-ready image sent to NASW-NJ via electronic upload • Full page/bleed: $1000 • Advertorial: (story ad w/ image or logo) $1500 • 1/2 page: $700 • 1/3 page: $450 • Inside back cover: $2000 • Back cover—limited availability, call for details

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Social Work MONTH


Social Work Month in March is a time for us to celebrate the great and transformative profession of social work. The theme for Social Work Month 2020 is “Social Workers: Generations Strong.” This theme has various meanings. As we enter a new decade, it is important to look back and honor the powerful, positive impact the social work profession has had on our society for generations. We also want to spotlight the lifeaffirming work that social workers from all generations — from the Greatest Generation to the Z Generation — are doing. If you have a multi-generational social work story—your family has generations of social workers, or you have an inspirational or moving story of the connection between a young social worker and a mentor—now is the time to reach out and let us know so we can share your story with our entire community.

The NJ Chapter has many exciting events and programs in the planning for Social Work Month. Our popular free CEU offerings for members will be back, as will our Sip n’ Paint event that was a huge success last year. We’re also planning a full media blitz, including a press conference and lobby day in Trenton to help our elected officials and others learn about the important contributions social workers make to society and the struggles faced by the profession. And our annual Legislative Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD) will return to bring hundreds of social work students to Trenton to learn about the legislative process and hear from speakers from across the government and policy spectrum.

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We’re also experimenting with some new offerings we can bring you for Social Work Month. Some ideas we’re exploring include a Film Festival (with CEUs!), speed networking events, and local service project opportunities. If you have stories you’d like to share, would like to schedule a presentation by NASW for your organization or classroom, or if you have other questions about Social Work Month 2020, please contact Jeff Feldman at jfeldman. You can also find resources online at www.

NEW JERSEY CONTINUING EDUCATION APPROVAL COLL ABOR ATIVE Do you offer professional development courses for social workers? Are you looking to reach more people and increase your revenue? Adding CE credits for social workers is a geat way to do so! The New Jersey Social Work Continuing Education Approval Collaborative (CE Approval Collaborative) is recognized by the New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners as an approving entity for social work CEUs in the State of New Jersey.

To learn more & apply visit:



NASW-NJ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OFFERINGS Clinical Supervision Course January 10-12, 9:00am – 4:30pm daily North Brunswick, NJ (20 CEUs) Social Work Licensure Exam Institute January 7, 9:00am – 4:30pm North Brunswick, NJ (no CEUs) Integrating Environmental Justice January 14, 6:00 – 8:00pm Live Webinar (2 CEUs)


Culturally Competent Care of Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Clients for Cisgender Clinicians 101: Transgender – The Basics January 29, 6:00 – 8:00pm Live Webinar (2 CEUs) The River of Grief and Loss February 12, 6:00 – 8:00pm Live Webinar (2 CEUs) Ethical Decision Making in Private Practice February 19, 6:00 – 8:00pm Live Webinar (2 CEUs) Extreme Risk Protection Order (Red Flag Law) March 9, 6:00 – 8:00pm Live Webinar (2 CEUs) Culturally Competent Care of Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Clients for Cisgender Clinicians 102: Transgender Advocacy March 25, 6:00 – 8:00pm June 2019 | 23 Live Webinar (2 CEUs)

NASW-NJ 30 Silverline Drive, Suite 3 North Brunswick, NJ 08902




S AV E THE DAT E APRIL 26-28, 2020 Borgata Hotel & Spa, Atlantic City. Call Us Today to Become a Sponsor. (732) 296-8070

Dr. Desmond Patton Dr. Courtney Cogburn 24 June 2019 |

See Pages 12 & 13 for more details

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NASW-NJ FOCUS December 2019  

NASW-NJ FOCUS December 2019  

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