Page 1

Advocates for Positive Social Change

FALL 2017


FALL 2017

Dean and Professor

Anna Scheyett Associate Dean

Shari Miller

BSW Program Director

Leon Banks

Director of Research Expansion and Professor

Harold Briggs

PhD Program Director and MSW/MDiv Program Director

Tom Artelt

Director of the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights

Llewellyn Cornelius

Director of Field Education

Zoe Johnson

Director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations and MANML Program Director

Anthony Mallon

Director of Global Engagement

Jane McPherson

MSW Program Director

David Okech

Connect Magazine Staff Editor and Writer

Laurie Anderson Contributors

Claire Jordan, Taylor Lee Kennedy, Tony Lowe Graphic Design and Layout

Tim Welsh, Bulldog Print + Design

Robert Newcomb/UGA

School of Social Work

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Connect, the magazine of the UGA School of Social Work. This has been an amazing year for the School and I could not be more proud of all the work done by our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Anna Scheyett More importantly, I am so proud of the impact the School is having locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. We are engaged in partnerships and actions that are making a difference, that are promoting well-being and social justice, that are “making our mark” to make a better world. Social work is, at its core, a profession about action. We generate and use knowledge to inform our actions and interventions, all with a focus on promoting the health and well-being of vulnerable populations and on fighting injustice in all its forms. Everyone at the School of Social Work is committed to action—from the students who commit hundreds of hours of work to their internships, to the instructors who teach them the skills to engage in effective action, the faculty whose research looks for solutions to wicked problems, the staff who both volunteer in our communities and create a supportive community within the School, and our alumni who continue their effective action in careers that span decades. So take a look at the articles in this issue of Connect and read about some of the ways we work to transform lives. You’ll learn how our students are working for change in Athens through the student-led Social Justice Symposium, and how alumni are increasing well-being in post-Katrina New Orleans. You’ll read about cutting-edge research that explores ways to solve problems such as human trafficking, police violence and immigrant health access. And you’ll learn about faculty members like Dr. June Gary Hopps, who has had a lifetime of impact in her career and who was honored this year by the Council on Social Work Education with its Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award.


Laurie Anderson, unless otherwise noted Connect Magazine is published annually for students, alumni, friends, and supporters of the University of Georgia School of Social Work. For reprint permissions, address changes, or additional copies, email Copyright © 2017 by the University of Georgia. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without permission from the editor. The University of Georgia is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.

As you read through Connect, I hope you find topics and projects that resonate with you and touch the things you care about. Let me know what moves you and excites you; contact me ( and let’s talk about ways that you can connect more deeply with the School of Social Work. We would love to strengthen our relationship with friends like you and find more ways, with your support, to work to make our mark on well-being and social justice. With warm regards,

Postmaster | Send address changes to: UGA Connect Magazine 279 Williams Rd. Athens, GA 30602

Anna Scheyett, MSW, PhD Dean and Professor




17 LOCAL 4 Hispanic Links: Health outreach program targets Latinx community 6 Taking Action Against Toxic Stress


NATIONAL 17 A Lifetime of Impact: June Gary Hopps 20 Social Work Case Management: New book written by social workers, for social workers

7 Breaking the Cycle: School of Social Work partners with local efforts to address mental health and the criminal justice system

21 Research with Impact: “Black Bodies on the Ground”

8 Social Justice Symposium: An agent for change

22 Global Engagement

REGIONAL 9 Towards a More Inclusive Society: The Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights promotes collaborative dialog 10 Make Way for Innovation: The Institute for Nonprofit Organizations 12 After the Storm: In post-Katrina New Orleans, Ben McLeish invests in people 14 Empowering Families: Title IV-E is a win-win for students, children and their caregivers 16 Course Close-Up: “The Human-Animal Bond and Professional Practice”

GLOBAL 24 Lessons from the Troubles: Study abroad in Northern Ireland 26 12 Years in Ghana 28 Providing a Lifeline: Research project to help survivors of female trafficking in West Africa

PASSAGES 29 Daniels retires, leaves legacy of scholarship, program expansion 30 Farewell/Hello

GIVING 32 The MARK of Success: Your Gifts Matter 34 Why I Give: Betsy Vonk

Find us online at On social media, we are: @UGASocialWork

36 Statement on Social Justice by the faculty of the School of Social Work Connect Fall 2017



Health outreach program targets Latinx community Imagine not seeking help for a health problem because you didn’t recognize it or did not know that help was available. Native Spanish-speakers in Athens-Clarke County—the county in which the University of Georgia resides—face that problem every day. Despite comprising 11 percent of the Rebecca Matthew county’s population and almost a quarter of the local school district, many native Spanish speakers must rely on informal sources of information to learn about health or social services. A pilot program at the UGA School of Social Work aims to change that, both locally and regionally. Lazos Hispanos—Hispanic Links—will recruit and train

Spanish-speaking outreach workers to provide referrals for healthcare and social services. The outreach workers—or promotoras—will receive leadership training and education about services and then use their knowledge to assist Latinxs throughout the county. The 10-month program is funded by the University of Georgia President’s Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program. It is overseen by School of Social Work Assistant Professor Rebecca Matthew and an interdisciplinary team representing eight units across campus. In addition to assisting service users, the promotoras will advocate to service providers for culturally-responsive programs and policies for the county’s Latinx population. They and other project team members also will track and gauge successful access to care or services and barriers to participation. The findings, said Matthew, will inform other external funding proposals to develop

Credit: Photo by Laurie Anderson


Connect Fall 2017

Alejandra Calva and Carlos Pinto review plans to recruit promotoras for a pilot health education outreach program.

LOCAL sustainable promotoras programs locally and throughout the Southeastern U.S. “The promotoras model offers a culturally-responsive means through which to foster individual and collective health and social change—particularly within marginalized communities,” said Matthew. The idea of promotoras is not new. In South Carolina, the PASOS (“steps”) program, affiliated with the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, is an award-winning initiative that has been educating the Latinx community about preventive health care, parenting, and childhood development since 2005. PASOS trains promotoras in positive communication skills, healthcare service navigation, earning trust and maintaining confidentiality. The PASOS program will also provide training for Lazos Hispanos promotoras. Based on findings from the initial 10-month period, the Lazos Hispanos program will then tailor content and training to local needs.

Matthew’s co-principal investigators are J. Maria Bermudez, associate professor, human development and family science, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Carolina Darbisi, public service associate and assistant director for research and evaluation, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, and Pamela Orpinas, professor of health promotion and behavior, College of Public Health. Other contributors include Jennifer Elkins, assistant professor, School of Social Work, Edward Delgado-Romero, professor, counseling and human development services, College of Education; Jason Cade, assistant professor, School of Law; and Henry N. Young, Kroger Associate Professor, clinical and administrative pharmacy, College of Pharmacy.

“Eso yo siento que sí nos hace falta: estar más informados.” (I think that’s what we’re missing: to be more informed.)* *Survey respondant, Hispanic/Latinx Community of Athens-Clarke County, Ga. in 2016, LACSI UGA Portal

“Promotoras are effective in part because they are already known and respected within the community,” said Carlos Pinto, one of the pilot program’s coordinators. “They meet with family and neighbors and make referrals for basic healthcare, social services such as assistance for victims of domestic violence, and other services such as English classes and legal aid.” The Lazos Hispanos proposal owes its development to a survey of the local Latinx community conducted by UGA’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute, and on work that was funded by the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights. “One of the key findings (of the 2016 survey) was that a lot of people don’t know what services are available,” said Alejandra Calva (MSW/MPH ‘19), a program manager with LACSI who helped oversee data collection for the survey. The project managers are only training women so participants will feel more at ease, added Calva. “Women have traditionally been more accepted in Hispanic communities as healthcare advocates, and for the pilot project we wanted to stick with what people are comfortable with,” said Calva. Calva and Pinto are now recruiting native Spanish speakers for the project. Connect Fall 2017



Taking action against


Athens may soon become one of the first trauma-informed cities in Georgia. The designation would mean more policies, practices and tools in place to better recognize and respond to children who have experienced traumas such as abuse or neglect. For Jennifer Elkins, the policy shift can’t come soon enough. “The impact of trauma and Jennifer Elkins what we call adverse childhood experiences is so common and so prevalent it underlies most of the issues that we work with in social work,” said Elkins, an associate professor in the School of Social Work who specializes in the effects of trauma and long-term stress. Toxic stress can occur when a child undergoes, among other things, prolonged physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, exposure to violence or caregiver or family dysfunction without adult support. The problem—it’s not always recognized. “When children are distracted it often presents as if it’s a behavioral problem, and there are a lot of common symptoms with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” said Elkins. In many cases, she and others believe, the true cause likely involves post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression, all traceable to trauma or toxic stress. Elkins has worked for years to raise awareness in the Athens Clarke County region that many problems may be better treated with an understanding of trauma and toxic stress. As part of a Family Connection-Community In Schools committee chaired by Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court Judge Robin Shearer, she helped to organize a conference held in May 2017 to address concerns that children and families were not getting the help they needed. Attendees at the conference, titled “Awareness to Action:


Connect Fall 2017

Community Summit on Trauma and Toxic Stress,” included social workers, public school teachers, parents, first responders, mental health professionals and administrators from the juvenile justice system, among others. Keynote speaker Robin Saenger, founding director of Peace4Tarpon, the nation’s first trauma-informed community initiative, told the audience of more than 200 people why it was important to address the issue. “Think childhood trauma doesn’t affect us as adults?” she asked. “Think again.” The landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences study, she said, found strong links between childhood toxic stress and health problems in adulthood. A trauma-informed lens, Saenger added, changes how the community approaches misbehavior from a punishment orientation to one of assistance. “We can ask ‘What happened to you?’ not ‘What’s wrong with you?’” said Saenger. For Athens-Clarke County, becoming trauma-informed could mean more outreach to AfricanAmericans, who comprise about 54 percent of the school district but nearly 80 percent of discipline incidents. African-American and Hispanic boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, said Elkins, Robin Saenger “when in reality they are more likely to have something else.” At the conference, attendees brainstormed on recommendations for action. Suggestions included addressing the stresses related to poverty and reducing isolation through community programs. “It’s great if you are knowledgeable about trauma,” said Elkins, “but that is not enough by itself to move the needle. It involves systems change, and organizational change.” Since the conference, the Clarke County School District has begun educating principals on what is meant by “traumainformed,” and plans to widen the training to all school staff. The school district is also taking a team of administrators to the Trauma-Informed Schools Conference in St. Louis, Missouri in November 2017. With input from “Awareness to Action” attendees, Elkins envisions the county developing holistic, community-level interventions across multiple systems, such as training all school personnel and first responders to recognize the signs of trauma, or adding “calm down” spaces in schools and mindfulness exercises in school curriculum. “It’s not fair to have everyone in the community to be able to recognize trauma and not have structures and interventions in place that are trauma-specific,” said Elkins.


g n i k a e Br Cycle


Recent doctoral graduate joins local efforts to address mental health and the criminal justice system by Claire Jordan (ABJ ’18)

For many people with mental health issues, involvement with the criminal justice system means a never-ending cycle of release and recidivism. Local Katie Crawford organizations from Athens-Clarke County, including the School of Social Work, are joining national efforts to step in for reform. According to the Athens Clarke County Justice Planning Council, 38 percent of individuals in the local criminal justice system have a behavioral health disorder. Of these individuals, over half return to the system within a year of their release. The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Athens-Clarke County Police Department a $300,000 grant to implement programs that ultimately reduce the rate of individuals with mental health issues cycling through the local justice system. Faculty with the UGA School of Social Work are collaborating with the department and other local efforts to help get one of these programs off the ground—the coresponder initiative. The co-responder initiative will allow licensed clinical professionals to assist law enforcement officers on calls in which mental illness is involved. Part-time Instructor Katherine “Katie” Crawford (PhD ’16) is using her expertise to evaluate its effectiveness. Her doctoral dissertation focused in part on traumainformed care in social service systems. She has experience working with individuals to find alternatives to incarceration, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, and advocated for them within the court system. Crawford’s evaluation will measure potential issues with implementation and success in overcoming barriers. The School of Social Work is one of several partners, including Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to the co-responder initiative, the ACCPD will begin Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for local officials. MHFA training is a course that teaches how to properly identify, understand and respond to situations involving mental illness and substance abuse. Both the

MHFA training and co-responder programs intend to respond to calls with self-help resources rather than legal action. Institutions like the Denver Police Department implemented similar programs in April of 2016 that have seen impressive success. The Mental Health Center of Denver reported that 97 percent of calls involving co-respondents—more than 840 cases—avoided legal action. The potential offenders received assistance and care options instead. “It is our hope to not only reduce costs, but also decrease the number of jail and emergency room admissions for individuals with mental health disorders and/or co-occurring addictive disease,” said Crawford, “and to connect them with appropriate services and care within the community that will lead to more effective treatment outcomes.”

Connect Fall 2017



Social Justice Symposium: An Agent for Change Event wins local NAACP Image Award There’s a new symposium in Athens, and its aim is not simply talk, but action. Athens area residents concerned about the working poor and other social justice issues learned about ways to enact change at a free, daylong event created and run by social work master’s degree students. The Social Justice Symposium, held in January, featured workshops and talks focused on matters that directly affect people living in and near the Classic City. “The symposium is designed to ask of the community what it needs and bring those concerns to the forefront for social justice advocates,” said Yosha Dotson (MSW ’17), one of the organizers. “It offers a platform for diverse members of the Athens community to come together and discuss how social justice looks and can look here.” The event was organized and run by graduate students in the school’s MSW Student Faculty Committee. Other sponsors included the UGA Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights, the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs and Office of Sustainability. The Rev. Francys Johnson, Esq., president of the Georgia NAACP, gave the keynote address. “Here in Athens, Georgia, we must first recognize that we are not without power,” he told attendees. “We can bring about change.” Workshops and talks covered barriers to resources, building restorative communities, decision-making within cooperative businesses and creative methods of conflict de-escalation, among other things. Speakers included professionals from the fields of civil rights, criminal justice, poverty, affordable housing, immigration, child

abuse and conflict resolution. The event opened with the presentation of the inaugural June Gary Hopps Bridge Award to its namesake. “We chose Dr Hopps, the Parham Policy Professor, as the Bridge Award recipient and namesake because of her endless commitment to students and the social work profession,” said Dotson. “As a student, she educates you and challenges you to think about the interconnectivity of your passion and the broader implications for society.” An estimated 140 people attended, crowding the classrooms at the Unitarian Universalist Church where the event was held. Others attended electronically via a Facebook livestream. The strong response convinced the students to hold the event annually. “We have people already lined up and ready to present and engage with the community,” said Helen Robinson (MSW/MPH ’18) a few months after the symposium. In April, the event was recognized by the UGA chapter of the NAACP with its Image Award for Outstanding Social Justice & Advocacy Program. “Athens wants this,” said Dotson. “Athens is excited about this, and we have to be able to accommodate that excitement, which will translate into action.” The 2018 Social Justice Symposium is scheduled to take place Saturday, January 20, powered by a fresh team of graduate students. Claire Jordan/UGA

For details or opportunities to make the symposium a success, contact Yosha Dotson, or Jessica Smith,


Connect Fall 2017


Towards a more inclusive society The Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights promotes collaborative dialog

With its support of the first student-run Social Justice Symposium in January, the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights widened its outreach to the Athens community. The symposium won the UGA chapter of the NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Social Justice & Advocacy Program (page 8).

In 2017 the Center sponsored or co-sponsored: • “Liberation Theology: A framework for empowering disenfranchised African Americans,” with Llewellyn “Lee” Cornelius, director of the Center, and Fenwick Broyard (MSW ‘13), focused on the historical and contemporary uses of liberation theology for giving poor communities a spiritual foundation for empowerment. • “Mobilizing the Constructive Moral Power of Faith,” presented by noted Christian ethicist David P. Gushee, who focused on the role of inter-religious dialogue in social change. • “Released: When does the sentence end?” a documentary about the hurdles L-R: Yosha Dotson, Llewellyn Cornelius and Helen Robinson holding NAACP Image Award. that formerly incarcerated people face when attempting reintegrate into society, and a discussion with guest panelists Omar Howard, chaplain, HeartBound Ministries; G.F. “Pete” Peterman, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia; Brian Williams, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Public and International Affairs; Michael Robinson, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Social Work, and moderator Danielle Whylly, Ph.D., community outreach specialist with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta. The event was co-sponsored by the MSW Student-Faculty Committee of the School of Social Work and the UGA chapters of the Black Law Students Association, the NAACP and the National Association of Black Social Workers. To read more about this event, visit

L-R: Omar Howard, G.F. Peterman, Brian Williams, Michael Robinson

• “Urgency of the Moment: Lessons from the Past, New Possibilities for the Future,” a disability advocacy symposium held by the Georgia Disability History Alliance, the UGA Institute on Human Development and Disability and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. Experts from across the state shared insights from successful advocacy campaigns to advance disability rights advocacy and inform future engagement activities.

The Center also: • Strengthened an ongoing partnership with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to develop trainings on Reflective Structured Dialogue and community-based mediation. • Developed a study abroad program that will examine the impact of neocolonialism in the Caribbean, with a focus on indigenous rights and environmental justice (page 22). Plans are being made for more film screenings and discussions, advocacy forums on mental health and interprofessional healthcare, as well as the 2018 Social Justice Symposium.

The Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights was established in 2013 to foster research, education, service and dialog about ways to achieve a fair and inclusive society. It is directed by Llewellyn Cornelius, the Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies.

Connect Fall 2017



The Institute for Nonprofit Organizations Most nonprofit organizations start with a dream and a core of dedicated volunteers. Growth, though, requires a continuing influx of highly trained staff and management. This past year the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations stepped forward to meet that need through new offerings in its highly regarded Tony Mallon education and outreach programs, as well as through research conducted by its affiliated faculty.

Education: More options Recognizing the growing need for human service professionals to enhance their management and leadership capacities, the Institute now offers the Nonprofit Certificate as a stand-alone program through the UGA graduate school. This provides an opportunity for those who find themselves in need of additional training to increase their skills and knowledge in areas such as grant proposal writing, fundraising, volunteer management and social entrepreneurship. A proposal to deliver the Certificate as an online program is awaiting approval. Recent examples of the Institute’s ongoing effort to enhance curricular content and access: the popular course Grant Proposal Writing was taught online for the first time this fall, and another new course, Nonprofit Financial Management, was offered in the classroom.

The Double Dawgs program is a new universitywide initiative that provides structured pathways for qualified students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree within a five-year time frame. Through the program, the Institute now offers a pathway 10

Connect Fall 2017

to a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management and Leadership (formerly the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Organizations) to students with undergraduate degrees in Latin American and Caribbean studies, music, psychology, social work and theater. For details, see

Research: Responsive practices In a study funded by the American Society of Association Executives Foundation, Associate Professor Kristina Jaskyte identified four nonprofit board attributes that contribute to organizational innovation: critical questioning, shared vision, human capital, and diversity in personality among board members. Organizations need to pay attention to these attributes when selecting board members, the study noted, to better adapt to changing situations. For details, see Mr. Kihwan Kim, assistant chief officer with the Seoul Probation and Parole Office, Ministry of Justice, will be spending the next two years with the INPO as a visiting scholar. He will be exploring the child welfare systems in Georgia and conducting a comparative analysis of our policies and practices with those in Korea.

Service: Excelling at outreach With funding provided by the United Way and the Athens Area Community Foundation, and space provided by the Athens Classic Center, the Institute will deliver five workshops in the coming year to regional nonprofit organizations. The first one, delivered in October, was titled Program Design and Evaluation. Subsequent workshops planned for November, January, February and April will cover, respectively, Grant Proposal Preparation; Board Governance; Fundraising; and Volunteer Management. This past year the Institute also added an advisory council consisting of alumni, faculty and community partners to provide guidance on future directions in all the above areas. For more information about all its activities, visit


nternships with impact


Students in the degree and certificate programs annually devote hundreds of hours to projects that have enabled local nonprofits to secure grants, raise funds through events, evaluate their program performance and numerous other contributions. A few recent examples: • As interns for Extra Special People, a nonprofit that serves children and young adults with developmental disabilities and their families, Kelsey Upton identified funding opportunities and assisted with grant applications, and Mallory Humphries created videos like the one at that were used in a $3 million capital campaign. • For the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Rachel Sperber conducted a needs assessment and evaluation of a food security program. The findings will better inform efforts to reduce food insecurity in the region. • Nicole Fote’s internship with Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center resulted in a major gift to the Pediatric Outpatient Services unit. “Hospitals are thought of as conglomerates,” she said, “but they are nonprofits and have a hard time meeting their bottom line.” ©2017 Extra Special People, Inc.

Chalk it up to creativity Course on innovation benefits local nonprofits

Chalk, candles, greeting cards and seed-enriched peat pellets helped to improve local nonprofit bottom lines this past spring when students in Kristina Jaskyte’s Innovation in Nonprofit Organizations course responded to a challenge to raise money on a shoestring budget. Student teams were given a small initial sum and asked to find creative, collaborative ways to make it grow. With $1.10 in startup funds, Olivia Amato, Elizabeth Banerjee, Maddie Goossens, Meredith Metcalf, William Olmstead and Sara Uselman organized “Chalk It Up To Love,” a day-long community art experience. For a small fee, visitors outside Jittery Joe’s Roaster in Athens listened to live music and created sidewalk art utilizing sticks of colored chalk supplied by the students. The students raised $404 and, along with other teams, plowed their profits back into other class fundraising projects on behalf of the Athens Area Humane Society, Athens Land Trust and Hope Haven, which serves people with developmental disabilities. Additionally, during “Chalk It Up To Love” professional artist Jamie Calkin created a watercolor painting which the students auctioned off for $400 to benefit the school’s Wilbur P. Jones Scholarship. Altogether, the class raised more than $1200.

Connect Fall 2017




One of Leigh Diaz’s greatest job satisfactions is facilitating a good outcome for clients involved with the foster care system. Diaz, a third-year MSW student in the Gwinnett Extended-Time Program, is an intern with the Department of Family and Children Services in Jackson County. She is currently the lead worker in the Family Preservation unit. She came to the internship with several years’ experience in DFCS family preservation division, and uses that experience to advocate for both children and parents. “I want the parents to know I am fighting for them just as much as I am for their child,” said Diaz. “I want the parents to feel empowered to work their case plan and not give up. I also want to see neglected children strive to be better than average and know their past doesn’t determine their future.” Diaz is one of 24 students who in the 2017-18 academic year will learn to advocate for children and parents through the federallyfunded Title IV-E Child Welfare Education Program. The program, whose goal is educating and retaining competent DFCS employees, funds tuition, fees, books and mileage for competitively selected MSW and BSW senior students who serve in internships in DFCS offices in north Georgia.

“The Title IV-E program helps train better social workers, and also helps improve the outcomes for children and families served by DFCS,” said Professor Alberta “Bert” Ellett, who oversees the program at the school.

Alberta Ellett

Georgia desperately needs well-trained child welfare staff. According to DFCS 2016 Annual Progress and Services Report, from 2013 to 2015 the number of children in state care increased nearly 30 percent. In 2016, Georgia’s foster care system was responsible for an average of 3,400 children per month. As with other regions, DFCS’ Region 5—which includes Jackson county as well as Clarke, Oconee, Madison, Barrow, Oglethorpe and


Connect Fall 2017

Title IV-E is a win-win for students, children and their caregivers

other nearby counties—the number of children in foster care keeps rising while the agency battles to retain trained personnel. “The Title IV-E program helps train better social workers, and also helps improve the outcomes for children and families served by DFCS,” said Professor Alberta “Bert” Ellett, who oversees the program at the school. Stipend recipients are required to take two child welfare courses, serve in an internship in a county DCFS office, and upon graduation from UGA work for DFCS for 12 months for each academic year that the stipend was received. The selection process is highly competitive. Students may apply for the stipend for up to three years. Following the work requirement, most graduates of the program choose to continue DFCS employment. Those who remain find that the training helps them move up the administrative ranks. “They are better trained, and they have a better than average chance of becoming administrators, supervisors and managers,” said Ellett. For Diaz, the stipend will cover more than $4,000 of tuition and university fees, plus reimburse her up to $500 for textbooks and mileage going to and from her internship site in Jackson County. So rather than worry about holding down a job while putting in the hundreds of field internship hours that are required to graduate, Diaz can focus on what really matters – learning to serve her clients. “DFCS isn’t an easy job and in many cases it doesn’t seem rewarding. However, through all the negativity there is, you will see glimpses of hope, healing, happiness, understanding, and love,” said Diaz. “Those small glimpses are what will push you through the next heart ache—seeing children smile for the first time in several months when they have bonded with their foster parents and understand they are really safe now. Or seeing the parents determined to do their case plan to get their child back.” “I can guarantee you as well that you will never gain as much experience within one job title in social work as you will with DFCS.”

For more information about the child welfare training and the Title IV-E program, contact Professor Alberta “Bert” Ellett at

BY THE NUMB3RS In 2015, Georgia had:


total referrals for child abuse and neglect.*


victims of abuse or neglect, a rate of 10.8 per 1,000 children, or an increase of 21.6% from 2014.*


children living apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared with 7,591 children in 2011, an increase of 44.1%.* An average of


children in foster care each month. That number rose to 3,403 in 2016.**

* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2016). ** Georgia DFCS Descriptive Data by County, FY 2015 and 2016, p. 68. SFY2016DescriptiveData%201.4.17%20final.pdf


“I want the parents to know I am fighting for them just as much as I am for their child.”

Third-year MSW student Leigh Diaz stands before the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse, where her internship with the Division of Family and Children Services sometimes takes her. She credits the MSW program with improving her impact. “I have a greater understanding of being empathetic with the parents and children… to ensure I provide them with the appropriate services.”

Connect Fall 2017



In post-Katrina New Orleans, Ben McLeish invests in people Ben McLeish (BSW ‘01, MA NPO ‘02) calls himself a “serial social entrepreneur.” While some people make one business their life’s work, the father of four has helped to establish a neighborhood church, an elementary school and a community development association. Under the organizational umbrella of the latter, he’s contributed to the launch of financial literacy and job training programs, a thrift store and an affordable housing initiative. Any one of those enterprises could take McLeish’s entire focus, but the community organizer has his eyes on a bigger goal—social change. McLeish lives in New Orleans’ 8th Ward. Its historically black population has long struggled with poverty and crime; residents who returned after Hurricane Katrina—or who never left—still contend with its impact. The crime rate in St. Roch, the neighborhood where McLeish lives, is well above the national average, with murder leading a list that includes assault, vandalism and theft. Yet McLeish and his wife Stephanie (AB ’96) choose to live there with their four children. The reason: they believe in their community. “Our neighborhood historically was a very broken neighborhood,” said McLeish recently. “We understood that trauma is caused through bad, abusive relationships, and healed though restorative relationships. Living in the community makes their problems our problems.” Those problems have sometimes made national headlines. After graduating with a master’s in nonprofit management from the School of Social Work, McLeish worked for Desire Street Ministries and then for Desire Street Academy, a private Christian school for young African-American males in the 9th Ward. Not long after he arrived, Hurricane Katrina hit. “The school was under 17 feet of water for three weeks,” McLeish recalled. He helped the organization relocate to Atlanta and found boarding for students who had lost everything. Then he moved back to the St. Roch neighborhood and his pregnant wife. The flooding missed their house, but barely. The pair hung on, working with recovery efforts 12 to 16 hours a day for the next 18 months. As the DSA got back on its feet, McLeish saw unmet needs in his own neighborhood. Churches around them were unable to help their congregations and social services were sparse. So he, his wife and a group of friends formed the St. Roch Community Church to address both spiritual and physical needs of people in the area. The church began offering daily after-school programs and other social services. In 2008 McLeish and church members formed the St. Roch Community Development Corporation, a 501(c) (3) organization that focused on neighborhood improvement. The corporation started renovating flood-damaged houses and turning them into affordable rentals and purchases. Now renamed Thrive New Orleans, the organization has renovated more than a dozen housing units and acquired commercial assets that provide income for its endeavors. 14

Connect Fall 2017

Restoration Thrift, for example, offers affordable shopping in the St. Roch area while creating jobs, and provides financial support for TNO’s financial literacy classes and job training programs. In 2009 McLeish also joined fellow parents of school-age children to start a charter elementary school. “The local choices focused on a ‘teach to the test,’ ‘skill and drill’ environment, said McLeish. “We were this scrappy little group of parents who wanted something better.” In 2013 they opened the Homer A. Plessy Community School. Named for the civil rights pioneer, the school was the only one in the vicinity that offered an arts-integrated curriculum and a racially diverse student body. “In New Orleans, most schools are not diverse,” said McLeish. “They are either wealthy and white or poor and black.” The faces in the school, he said, reflect the mixed neighborhoods it serves, and kids learn by doing, not by regurgitating facts. Classes began in a rundown, former elementary school building in a tough neighborhood. Thanks to persistent “bulldogging,” said McLeish, this year the school moved to a better facility in the French Quarter, but it still serves the children of St. Roch and its environs. Once the school was established, McLeish turned his attention to promoting local entrepreneurship. He found his model in “Launch Chattanooga,” a small business incubator for people of limited means, and “Launch NOLA” was born. In addition to teaching basics such as accounting and how to create a business plan, Launch NOLA helps students identify personal roadblocks that stand in the way of success. Though the 12 week training academy hasn’t produced any millionaires, its graduates are using what they learn to bridge their own income gaps. For people too often excluded from the wheels of commerce, that’s a good start. “In New Orleans, 27 percent of all businesses are owned by minorities,” said McLeish, “but 56 percent of the population is minority. Of all businesses, only two percent of sales receipts go to minority-owned businesses. We’re trying to change that.” What’s next? Affordable housing is still high on his “to do” list. Thrive New Orleans plans to build new homes on 10 empty lots over the next 18 months. They will sell a few at market rates, said McLeish, and use the profits to subsidize other homes for first-time, moderate income buyers. With unCommon Construction, another nonprofit, the build process also will employ and train high school students from diverse neighborhoods. As each initiative grows, McLeish has quietly stepped back, allowing others to take leadership roles. He doesn’t plan on quitting, though, because needs keep coming to his attention. Despite being nicknamed the Big Easy, for many people New Orleans is anything but easy to live in. “This is a city you love or you hate,” said McLeish. “If you love her, you stay with her.”


“Living in the community makes their problems our problems.”

For more information about Thrive New Orleans, including how to get involved, visit

Ben McLeish, Photo by Kat Farlowe/UGA

© 2016 Homer A. Plessy Community School

Connect Fall 2017



COURSE Close-Up:

The Human-Animal Bond and Professional Practice

Peter Frey/UGA

They come covered in fur or feathers, or occasionally with scales or fins. They may have four legs, two, or none; make no discernable sound or talk a blue streak. One thing is certain—many kinds of animals are considered “friends” by humans. Social workers should take note, says Professor Patricia “Trisha” Reeves. “As professionals, we utilize a strengths-based approach with a person-in-environment focus, drawing on what can help clients,” said Reeves. “The human-animal bond is an important but often-overlooked resource in social work practice.” With about 68 percent of American households—or 85 million families—supporting pets in one form or another, the implications for human well-being are significant. Animals can help reduce stress, assist the disabled, increase social interaction, and act as a bellwether for human abuse or neglect. In Reeves’s course, students learn the many ways that animal-assisted interventions can benefit vulnerable populations. Patricia Reeves

Reeves: The course focuses on how the human-animal relationship has evolved over time, the role it plays in health and well-being, the range of animal-assisted interventions, and real-life concerns in human-animal partnerships, such as grief and loss, and humane education. Students might hear a child therapist share stories of how children connect with her specially trained dog, visit a facility that trains service animals, or see how an African grey parrot communicates with her human companion.

Q: Why did you start this course? Reeves: It became glaringly apparent to me how central animals are in the lives of humans and to their sense of wellbeing. Animals are a part of a sizeable majority of homes, and it’s quite common for people to acknowledge them as a part of their family. One has only to remember the searing scenes from Hurricane Katrina and more recent storms to appreciate how important they are in people’s lives.

Q: What kind of response has the course gotten from faculty on campus? Reeves: The course hasn’t been advertised outside of the School of Social Work, but when faculty learn about it-usually from their students-the response has been enthusiastic. Equine therapy for children with autism, for example, has importance in education; service dogs for veterans with PTSD has application in social work, counseling and psychology; dog-walking has public health relevance in the fight against obesity. I could go on and on. Faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine have been particularly interested, given the strong link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Q: Have all the students in the class been social work students? Reeves: No. Last year, there were students from the counseling department in the College of Education and the School of Social Work’s nonprofit management program. Students from many disciplines—public health, psychology and law to name a few—have expressed interest.

Q: How are students incorporating what they learn into their work? Reeves: One former student works with animals at a residential treatment center for children and adolescents with behavioral issues; another is a school social worker who partners with her dog in working with children who have impulse-control issues. Students clearly see how the human-animal bond affords beneficial, health-related outcomes to both humans and animals—a realization slower to come in the world of professional practice. I’m confident that with the increase in evidence-based research there will be a commensurate increase in work-related opportunities for UGA graduates who want to incorporate human-animal partnerships in their work.


Connect Fall 2017

© 2007 L.M. Bugallo Sanchez

Q: What is the course about?


s an undergraduate, June Gary Hopps dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Born in Florida during the “Jim Crow” era, she longed to see changes in laws that prevented African-Americans from participating as equals in society. While studying political science and history at Spelman College, however, an encounter with civil rights activist Whitney Young convinced her to pursue social work. “Young showed me the many roles and opportunities that social work presented,” said Hopps years later. Young, dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University, went on to head the National Urban League and serve as a policy advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon during the civil rights era. Hopps earned a master’s degree and then a doctorate, and pursued her passion for combatting injustice for blacks and other marginalized groups through activism and scholarship.

File photo/UGA School of Social Work

A Lifetime


In 2017, the Council on Social Work Education recognized her accomplishments by selecting Hopps to receive one of its highest honors, the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award. The award recognizes exemplary accomplishments in research, teaching pedagogy, curriculum development, and organizational leadership over an entire career. Hopps’ career has held many firsts. She was the first African-American dean of Boston College School of Social Work and the youngest in its history. Under her leadership, the school transitioned from a small regional program to one of national prominence, rising to 14th in the U.S. News and World Report’s graduate school rankings. As the first African-American editor-inchief of Social Work, the flagship journal of the National Association of Social Workers, she developed initiatives to bring more women and people of color into research publication. Hopps’ published work, which includes seven books, often calls attention to inequality outside and within social work. In the 1995 book “The Power to Care” (Free Press), she examined the roles that discrimination, poverty and race play in the effectiveness of social workers trying to help the most vulnerable populations. A special 1982 edition the NASW journal Social Work which she edited, “People of Color and Social Work,” is considered a landmark publication by those in the profession. “Dr. Hopps’ eminence as a social work policy scholar reflects her lifelong dedication to equality and social justice,” wrote Anna Scheyett, dean of the UGA School of Social Work and Jenny Jones, dean of the Clark Atlanta Connect Fall 2017





1960: Participates in Atlanta lunch counter sit-ins, earns AB political science and history, Spelman College 1962: MSW, Atlanta University School of Social Work (now Clark-Atlanta University) 1965-1968: Supervisor, Roxbury Multiservice Center, Roxbury, Mass. 1968: Founding member, Boston Tenant-Landlord Review Panel



1971: PhD, Brandeis University 1971-1976: Faculty, College of Social Work, The Ohio State University 1976-2000: Dean, Boston College School of Social Work 1977-1982: Editorial Board, Social Work

University School of Social Work, in a letter supporting Hopps’ nomination for the award. “We are in awe of her bravery and resolve for justice for all.” Hopps grew up in central Florida, the greatgranddaughter of slaves and the daughter of a schoolteacher and an independent businessman who raised cattle and built bridges. Her parents held their five children to high standards. All four daughters earned doctorates. The son graduated college and took over managing the family business of Gary Farms. At home, Hopps and her siblings were exposed to the writings of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, as well as lively political conversations between her parents and other family members. Hopps had her first clashes with authority in grade school, when she voiced strong opinions about civil rights. “I was raised in a family that just didn’t give in to racism,” she said. She got her chance to make a difference while attending Spelman College. In March 1960, the petite undergraduate risked physical attack and was arrested for participating in the first lunch counter sit-ins in Atlanta aimed at ending segregation. Students who


Connect Fall 2017




1982: Editor, “Social Work and People of Color” special edition of the journal Social Work 1982-1984: Member, United Way of America, Futures Committee, and editorial board, Social Work Research 1983-1995: Board of Trustees, Wheelock College 1984-1989: Editor-in-Chief, Social Work 1986: Board of Editors, Dictionary of Social Work, 1st ed. 1989-1991: Chair, Fulbright Scholars Social Work Review Committee 1989-2007: Member/Chair, Board of Trustees, Spelman College


1991-1995: Associate editor-in-chief, Enc Social Work, 19th edition 1992: NASW Presidential Award for Excell Social Work Education 1993-1997: Editorial Board, “Research on Practice” and “Dictionary of Social Work” 1995: Co-author, “The Power to Care”* 1999: Co-author, “Group Work with Overw Clients”*

participated in the protests risked more than a beating; their families could suffer backlash as well. “Fellow students were concerned their parents might face job restrictions and other push backs of great cost for survival,” recalled Hopps. “The cause was a dangerous one.” Hopps helped to recruit volunteers from her school; the women of Spelman showed up in the greatest numbers. At the UGA School of Social Work, Hopps has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship, which honors the civil rights lawyer who helped to desegregate the University of Georgia, and in establishment of the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights. In addition to teaching courses and guiding research, Hopps serves as an authority in the area of public policy as it relates to families and children. Hopps also initiated Parham Policy Day, an annual studentrun event at which leading national and state figures discuss best practices for creating good public policy.



cyclopedia of

lence in

n Social Work ” 2nd ed.



2000: Co-editor, “Social Work at the Millennium”* 2000-2010: Editorial Board, Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work 2000-present: Parham Professor, UGA School of Social Work 2005: June Gary Hopps Atrium named at Spelman College



2013: NASW Social Work Pioneer® 2015: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Spelman College 2017: CSWE Significant Lifetime Achievement Award

Early Years


*The Free Press

“Her dedication and foresight has connected clinical and community practice and multiple disciplines while shattering racial and gender lines,” said Yosha Dotson, a social work graduate student. “She engages you by using her personal experiences to bridge the past and present generations.” Hopps’ endeavors galvanized Dotson and other graduate students to establish the Dr. June Gary Hopps Bridge Award, presented to Hopps in January at the first annual student-run Social Justice Symposium. “Dr. June Gary Hopps is a pioneer, trailblazer, civil rights hero and bridge builder,” Dean Emeritus Maurice Daniels told the audience at the event. “She has made enormous contributions to the cause of social justice and social work education.” Daniels was dean during much of Hopps’ career at UGA. Hopps’ many other honors include the National Association of Social Workers’ Presidential Award for Excellence in Social Work Education, and admission to its cohort of Social Work Pioneers®. She also served as president of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, chaired the accreditation committees of several top social work schools, and chaired the Spelman College Board of Trustees for many years. In 2005 Spelman, her alma mater, named its Manley Center Atrium in her honor, and in 2015 presented her with an honorary doctorate. Hopps received the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award at the CSWE’s annual awards luncheon in Dallas, Texas on October 22. “June Gary Hopps’ tireless efforts as a drum major for civil and human rights represents a beacon of hope, a profile of courage and stellar leadership,” wrote Professor Harold Briggs in another nomination letter. “I cannot think of a better person more deserving of this award.”

June Gary Hopps grew up in central Florida, the great-granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of a schoolteacher and an independent businessman who had operations in cattle, farming and real estate. Education was important to her family. Her grandfather taught her to read before she entered school. He saw to it that his five grandchildren had new books at the start of each school year instead of the second-hand primers that were then standard for black students. All four daughters earned doctorates. The son graduated college and took over managing the family business of Gary Farms. At home, Hopps and her four siblings were exposed to the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, as well as lively political conversations. She had her first clashes with authority in grade school when she was reprimanded for questioning the status quo. “I had heard a discussion at home that the words ‘liberty and justice for all’ were not quite true,” she recalled. “I was raised in a family that just didn’t give in to racism.” Other influences included historian Howard Zinn, her advisor at Spelman College. Zinn is best known for his 1980 book “A People’s History of the United States,” which examines history from the perspective of vulnerable populations. Hopps got her chance to make a difference while attending Spelman. In March 1960, she helped to recruit volunteers from her school to participate in lunch counter sit-ins in Atlanta aimed at ending segregation. The gambit was dangerous--students who participated risked more than a beating or jail time; their families could suffer backlash. “Fellow students were concerned their parents might face job restrictions and other push backs of great cost for survival,” recalled Hopps. She joined the first wave of students and was among 77 arrested at the nonviolent protests. “She stood out among the women at Spelman,” recalled Rev. Albert Brinson, who sat with Hopps that day. “June was a very calm, beautiful young lady, intelligent and committed to service to other people.” They were bailed out of jail by civil rights lawyer Donald L. Hollowell. The following year Hollowell would secure desegregation for black students at the University of Georgia.

All photos on page 19 courtesy June Gary Hopps

Connect Fall 2017



Social Work Case Management:

New book written by social workers, for social workers

Credit: Nancy Evelyn/UGA

Social work case management is a high growth occupation. Case management, which requires determining the social and/or health care needs of clients and facilitating service use in their community of care, is often part of other social work duties as well as a position in its own right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of social work case managers in the health care sector is expected to increase 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, a much faster rate than the average for most professions. The strongest growth areas include general health care, mental health, addictions and gerontology. Yet most new graduates holding a bachelor’s or master’s degrees in social work are inadequately prepared by their coursework to practice case management grounded in a strong social work model. “Case management looms large on our professional horizon,” said Michael J. Holosko, the Pauline M. Berger Professor of Family and Child Welfare at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. “But colleges aren’t teaching how to use a proven social work model when doing case management. Ninety-five percent of social work graduates must learn how to do this work on the job.” To fill the void, Holosko wrote and edited “Social Work Case Management: Case Studies from the Frontlines,” (Sage Publications, 2017) with input from 42 contributors. “It is the first textbook about case management written by social workers, for social workers,” said Holosko. Contributors to the book—many from the UGA School of Social Work—provide compelling, real-life examples of how they employ a step-by-step approach to case management known as the task-centered case management model (TCCM). “The TCCM is one of the more practical and empirically field-tested social work models, and has been used effectively across many different practice settings,” said Holosko. Twenty-two case examples in the book give some sense of the method’s adaptability in a great range of environments, including a military veteran’s hospital in Athens, a community health center in Kentucky, an in-home health care agency in Canada and a youth counseling service in Hong Kong, to name a few. The book also covers the history, context, licensure and current realities of case management, and includes a glossary. “This book equips students with valuable, practice-relevant information,” Michael J. Holosko said Holosko. “With this knowledge, they’ll be better prepared to be case managers.”


Connect Fall 2017

To learn more, visit social-work-case-management/book244543.

Black Bodies

on the Ground

Civil rights activists and social workers have another horrific fact to cite when arguing for change. In 2015 unarmed African-American men were being killed by police at a rate of almost five times that of unarmed white men. The finding was made by Michael A. Robinson, assistant professor of social work at the University of Georgia, and published in April 2017 in the Journal of Black Studies. Robinson made the discovery while researching the historical relationship between police and African-Americans. In addition to reviewing violent encounters between law enforcement figures and blacks over the last 400 years, he and two graduate assistants reviewed reports on police killings of unarmed men printed between January 1 and December 31, 2015, in the Washington Michael Robinson Post and the Guardian, a British newspaper. After comparing the reports and checking them against more than 300 articles from local and national newspapers covering the same shootings, he compiled a list of 219 unarmed citizens who died at the hands of police or while in police custody. Of that number, 101 were white, 79 black and 39 Latino (Figure 1). Though more whites were killed, Robinson pointed out that African-American males comprise seven percent of the U.S. population, yet represented approximately 36 percent of the deaths. More disturbing, when the ratios were adjusted against populations of 100,000, the percentage of African-American deaths shot up even higher. “Unarmed Black men were killed at an alarming rate of .41 per 100,000 as compared with Latinos at .14 and White men at .08 per 100,000,” wrote Robinson. “Unarmed Black men were killed at a rate of close to five times that of White men.” The results of the study, said Robinson, point to a strong need for change in the way police interact with AfricanAmerican communities, and action by social workers to advocate for change on local, state and national levels. His recommendations included pushing for a federal law that requires all Figure 1: police departments to report any deaths at the hands of police officers Actual Number of Unarmed Men Killed to a national database. 120 “The actual number of civilians killed by police is unknown,” 100 wrote Robinson, “as only three percent of our nation’s 18,000 police departments voluntarily submit this information to federal agencies.” 80 Robinson turned to newspaper accounts for his study due to the lack of 60 federal data. 40 Robinson also recommended mandatory body cameras for police officers, placing more black officers in African-American 20 neighborhoods, and establishing more programs to increase positive 0 interactions with police. African Caucasian Latino American “When the death of an unarmed African-American citizen happens at the hands of police officers, it can upset a city, a state, and even the entire nation,” concluded Robinson. “We should work to break that cycle before more lives are taken.” “Black Bodies on the Ground: Policing Disparities in the African-American Community—An Analysis of Newsprint From January 1, 2015, Through December 31, 2015” had the highest score in a blinded peer review process, and was awarded the 2017 Junior Faculty Award by the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Racial, Ethical, and Cultural Diversity. Robinson also wrote about his findings for the London School of Economics’ American Politics and Policy blog ( Read the paper at Deaths of unarmed men

Credit: Harold Waters/UGA



Connect Fall 2017



G L O B A L engagement

Robert Newcomb/UGA

In 2017 Jane McPherson, Ph.D. was named director of Global Engagement for the School of Social Work. McPherson is coordinating expansion of the school’s global activities and raising awareness of its work in global education, research, and service with a stronger social media and web presence.

Jane McPherson

“I am very excited about the opportunity to showcase the creative global projects that are spearheaded by our students and faculty,” said McPherson, who teaches the undergraduate course International Social Work and whose research focuses on human rights in global social work practice.


• The Katherine A. Kendall Institute of the Council on Social Work Education funded a new UGA social work program, Transcending Boundaries. Beginning spring 2018, the program will connect BSW students with social work students at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies.

BSW students attend Social Work Day at United Nations

Jane McPherson/UGA

• Ten BSW seniors represented UGA for the first time at the 2017 Social Work Day at the United Nations. The group, led by Jane McPherson, traveled to New York to learn about international community development and environmental sustainability. For details, see

• Beginning in 2019, the school also will offer a Maymester program in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Guided by the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights, students will learn about neocolonialism, environmental justice and developing culturally appropriate educational interventions. This program will be in addition to the successful programs in Ghana and Northern Ireland.


St. George’s, Granada

Connect Fall 2017

Zagreb, Croatia

Learn more about the school’s global engagement activities at, via Facebook at and via Twitter using #UGAglobalSW.

Jane McPherson/UGA

© 2009 dpursoo

• Emily May (MA MNL ’19) is interning in Uganda during the fall 2017 semester, evaluating programs being delivered by Sole Hope (, which seek to reduce health problems among children.


Research • International research efforts this past year included papers on HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, human rights, poverty, and intimate partner violence among immigrant populations, among other topics. • Faculty travelled to the United Kingdom, Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, Brazil, China, Colombia and Croatia to give invited presentations, participate in research projects, or develop collaborations.

© 2009 Alexander Klink

• Doctoral students gave invited and peer-reviewed presentations in Croatia at the 20th Biennial International Symposium of the International Consortium for Social Development. • Doctoral student Porter Jennings served a summer assistantship through the Oxford UGA program. At Brasenose College she learned about the Oxford style of teaching psychological disorders and applied it in her research. Zagreb, Croatia

Service and Advocacy • A new MSW course, Addressing the Bases of Power, Oppression, Social Justice, Evidence-Informed Practice, Advocacy, and Diversity (PrOSEAD), asked students to practice global social justice advocacy by writing to print media outlets about populations outside the U.S. Some of the letters were published in Georgia newspapers, and one in the Washington Post. • Faculty and students also raised funds or collected goods for populations impacted by hurricanes in Houston and in the Caribbean. • Students attending Maymester in Ghana helped renovate a facility at the City of Refuge, an orphanage that rescues victims of child trafficking. • With an awareness of the global dimensions of migration issues, members of the school’s Students for Global Social Work organized a screening and discussion of the Peabody Award-winning film “Don’t Tell Anyone/No Le Digas a Nadie” about the struggles of a young, under-documented female in New York, and doctoral students responded to national policy changes in the U.S. that affect young migrants with advocacy efforts and new research initiatives. Connect Fall 2017 Credit: Micah Branch/UGA



Lessons from the Troubles:

Study abroad in Northern Ireland Taylor Lee Kennedy (MSW/MPH ’18)

Each Maymester, social work students travel to Northern Ireland to get firsthand exposure to the transgenerational impact of the violence from a decades-long conflict known as the Troubles. For many, the experience is life-changing. During the trip, students meet people from all sides of the conflict—former members of the IRA, police, counselors and victims of violence, among others. For the spring 2017 trip, three BSW students and 11 MSW students attended and were led by Professor Betsy Vonk and Assistant Professor Michael Robinson. For Robinson, the journey was an eye-opening first visit to the region. “I was overwhelmed by the striking similarities between the Irish civil rights movement and the civil rights movement in the U.S.,” he said. “I learned that their movement was based on the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Just like our Betsy Vonk Bloody Sunday in the U.S., they had a Bloody Sunday as well. The Republican protesters were singing “We Shall Overcome” when they were brutally murdered by the British special forces.” For many, a highlight of the trip was meeting former political prisoner Don Browne in Londonderry/Derry. Browne utilizes yoga to help others who experienced the Troubles. He has been featured in various publications, such as the Smithsonian Magazine, where he details his experiences and how trauma impacts both individuals like himself and the greater community. Another favorite experience each year for students is meeting Jon McCourt, a civil rights protestor who was present at the Bloody Sunday massacre. McCourt joins students in their tour of the Museum of Free Derry, providing intimate details about artifacts on display there from the Troubles. Students have written about several ways they think the trip has changed their perspectives, said Vonk. “Some talk about how their preconceived ideas about members of paramilitary groups were challenged by meeting former members,” she said. “They think this awareness will allow them to approach others with less bias and greater openness. Others found self-confidence on the trip through managing new challenges. Several students found that the trip affected their ideas about what they want to do in their social work careers. For example, one student is now considering community social work.” Professor Vonk hopes that students will apply what they learn on the trip to their lives in the U.S. Many students, she said, already began this process as they found similarities between the conflict and subsequent peace process in Northern Ireland and conflicts here in the United States, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Robinson believes the trip teaches students the importance of social justice. He also hopes that students learn what can happen if a people are treated unfairly and denied basic rights. Robinson conducted an independent study with all 14 students, allowing them to explore their own interests, such as trauma. He and the students were surprised by some of the barriers to treatment. “I was disturbed by the duty to report (to authorities) that mental health counselors were required to do,” he said. “They had to report any knowledge or admission of a crime by their clients. This prevents many former activists from getting the help they need to address the trauma faced during the Troubles.” This year marked Professor Vonk’s last year leading the study abroad program. Robinson will direct the program in 2018. Professor Vonk recalled her favorite experience was visiting the Corrymeela Centre in Ballycastle, an ecumenical retreat center. Vonk says that not only is it a wonderful place to meet volunteers from all over the world, but also “a place that seems to encourage personal reflection, which is much needed by the students in order to process Students add messages of peace to a wall that separates Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. everything they are learning and experiencing.” Credit: Micah Branch/UGA


Connect Fall 2017

For more information on the Northern Ireland study abroad program visit

Jon McCourt provides a vivid firsthand account of life in Londonderry/ Derry during the Troubles. He was present at what came to be known as Bloody Sunday, when British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march against internment. “I have lived the conflict, watched people die in it, have cried and hurt with the rest of our people, and I have also laughed through some of it,� he wrote in 2009.* A former member of the Irish Republican Army, he is now a community peace activist. *The Guardian, March 3, 2009.


Jon McCourt gives students a tour of historic sites of civil unrest. Credit: Betsy Vonk/UGA

Two of the many murals created to remember the infamous Bloody Sunday.

Connect Fall 2017



Years in

GHANA by Tony B. Lowe

The 2017 Interdisciplinary Study Abroad in Ghana Program was different from previous years. For the first time, the program included only social work students and faculty—10 graduate students and two faculty members. It also had a new director—Dr. Tiffany Washington. One thing had not changed, though—students came face-to-face with the story of human rights on the world stage and within Ghana. For centuries, Ghana was the launching point for “the Middle Passage,” the horrific journey that carried enslaved people to the New World. Its coastline is dotted with fortresses known as “slave castles” which held humans as trade commodities. One of the most moving experiences for students are walks through the Elmina and Cape Coast castles. The tours take them through underground dungeons that once held hundreds of human beings in near total darkness. I have always felt as if the air was thinner there, with a faint smell that you cannot describe. Our guides, Alto and Justice, pointed out a special trap door and delicately recounted how it was once used by the fort’s governor to secretly move shackled women up to his bedroom. This May, as I walked across the Elmina beach in sight of colorful traditional fishing pirogues, I realized that I had been traveling to this coastline for the last 12 years, exposing UGA students to the tragedy and beauty of Ghana. The lessons we learned were pragmatic, funny and inspiring. For example, in my first year in 2004 I remember being chased with students by a raging elephant at the Mole National Park, a wildlife refuge in northwest Ghana. Nobody was hurt, but we learned that when local kids start running, don’t ask questions—just run with them! During my first year I also recognized that many families in the rural regions suffered barriers to a basic education. In response, I developed the Ghanaian School Uniform and Resource Project. Through this effort, we raised money to purchase school supplies for children in the Togome and/or Sugashee villages in the north. The latter were primarily Muslim subsistence farmers. Many of their school-age children were not enrolled because their families could not afford the required uniform. Girls were also often denied education because of limited resources and cultural attitudes. The cost was equal to $5.00 per child for an entire school year. In 2004, however, the average daily wage in that part of the country was equal to one dollar per day. A school uniform represented one week’s salary. Clearly, we could


Connect Fall 2017


Tony Lowe waves goodbye to his friends and colleagues in Ghana

do something. In 2005 we raised enough to buy 30 uniforms. The project took off. The third year we raised enough funds to purchase 60 uniforms; the fourth year we purchased over 100 uniforms. By the close of the project in 2015, we had raised over $10,000 and purchased over 1,500 school uniforms in equal quantities for boys and girls, hundreds of child-sized sandals and other school supplies. The villagers thanked us with simple gifts (my favorite was a baby goat), but the biggest payback was seeing school enrollment rise. For several years now UGA students have also seen another pathway for hope at the Lifeline Project in Accra, an enterprise that rescues girls from sex trafficking and provides them with counseling, social services, and vocational training. Sadly, slavery—aka human trafficking—persists. It is particularly rife among the youth of impoverished families. By making education possible for the children in two villages, we made it less likely that they would ever be part of that darkest form of commerce. I hope in the future we can do more, by providing more service on the world stage that impacts needful families and children. I also remember the joy and challenges of working with faculty from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and the University of Ghana’s School of Social Work, among others. The late Bettye Smith, from the UGA College of Education, provided welcome humor and practical advice and is dearly missed. From her and colleagues in various disciplines I learned that we all have a shared interest in helping our students to get the most from the Ghana experience. Other colleagues, students, staff and families gave selflessly of their time and/or with financial support. Jeanelle Muckle, the school’s business manager, would forego her monthly visit to the hairdresser in order to provide a donation for the school uniforms. Jackie Ellis, field coordinator, and Professors June Gary Hopps and Larry Nackerud, among others, were always very supportive. I am deeply humbled and thankful that so many people generously gave in ways that will improve lives in a nation from which so many lives have been taken. I leave the program in the good hands of Dr. Washington, proud to have helped increase the school’s global connections.

- Farewell!!!!

Photos courtesy Tony Lowe/UGA

Connect Fall 2017




Providing A

Research project to help survivors of female trafficking in West Africa

Robert Newcomb/UGA

The word for ‘survivor’ in the Hausa language, spoken widely in West Africa, is ‘tsira.’ It can also indicate “escape.” Both meanings apply to female victims of the sex and labor trafficking in that part of the world, for whom survival can mean escape from forced prostitution. Escape is not always permanent, however. Once a girl is exploited, social stigma follows. Women with little formal education and limited social and economic supports face a high risk of revictimization. Now female trafficking survivors will get more options for help, thanks to research being conducted by faculty at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Associate Professor David Okech and partners from five UGA academic units and the University of Ghana are identifying ways to help female victims of human trafficking reintegrate into West African society. The project, funded by the UGA President’s Interdisciplinary Seed David Okech Grant Program, will lay the groundwork for testing interventions that have been or are being used to help Ghanaian females recover their lives. Human trafficking is a growing challenge in Ghana and other West African nations. It is now estimated that close to four million people in West Africa1 are trafficked in some form. “Traditionally, parents send their children to live with extended family members to strengthen family ties or enhance their children’s skills, education, and life prospects,” wrote Okech and colleague Alexis Danikuu in an overview of female human trafficking in Ghana2. In other cases, parents hand over their daughters as indentured servants to atone for a wrongdoing. Once away from family protection, the children often are mistreated and forced to flee. Those who end up in sex or labor trafficking may find it difficult to return home. “To date, no evidence-based programs © 2015 Akke Rozema have been developed to facilitate successful reintegration,” Okech wrote in the project proposal. Supported by the seed grant, the researchers are collecting data from trafficking survivors, service providers and government offices on factors that facilitate the physical and mental health of survivors and services for survivors in low-income communities. They will use the data to develop a manual that will describe for the first time which interventions, policies and practices improve the outcomes for trafficking victims in West Africa. The manual also will provide a basis for research proposals to study the efficacy of the interventions. © 2012 Leyla Alexander-Genculu Okech’s colleagues include Nathan Hansen, professor, College of Public Health; Jody Clay-Warner, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, department of sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Steve Kogan, associate professor, human development and family science, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; John Anarfi, associate professor, University of Ghana Regional Institute of Population Studies; Dr. James Appiah-Pippim, associate professor of medicine, AU/ UGA Medical Partnership and Jennifer Elkins, associate professor, School of Social Work.


International Labor Organization. Forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking (2017, July)

2 “Providing a Lifeline for female survivors of human trafficking in Ghana,” in M. Gray, (Ed.). The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa, chapter (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2016) 28

Connect Fall 2017

A rich blessing:


Maurice Daniels retires, leaves legacy of scholarship, program expansion

Maurice Daniels, who served as dean of the University of Georgia School of Social Work from 2005 to 2016, retired from the university on May 17. “Maurice Daniels has had an illustrious career at the university, first as a faculty member and later as dean of the school for 11 years,” said Dean Anna Scheyett. “His contributions to social work and to the university are numerous and significant.” During Daniels’ tenure as dean, the school’s endowment tripled and the school created several new endowed scholarships and graduate assistantships. The school also established two professorships--the Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies and the Georgia Athletic Association Professorship in Health and Dean Emeritus Maurice Daniels Well-Being--as well as the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights. While dean, Daniels also authored the book “Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights.” Daniels joined the University of Georgia in 1981. Prior to becoming dean he directed the Master of Social Work program, coordinated field instruction, and was project director of the Patricia Roberts Harris Graduate Fellowship Program. In 1999 he co-founded and became director of The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies. He was honored by the university for his years of service at a special reception held in September 2016. “It was a rich blessing for me to serve as dean,” Daniels told attendees. “I had the pleasure to serve 11 fulfilling years. I greatly appreciate the generous remarks about accomplishments that occurred during my tenure. However, I reiterate that those accomplishments occurred as a result of supportive faculty, hardworking and loyal staff, and tremendous assistance from alumni, friends, and donors. The school was also the recipient of an abundance of support from the central administration and partnerships with a number of entities in the larger university community.” In addition to being awarded the status Professor Emeritus, in August Daniels was also awarded the title Dean Emeritus. He plans to continue to research civil rights history and remain active in support of human rights issues. File photos, UGA School of Social Work

Maurice Daniels welcomes Mary Frances Early, first African-American to graduate from UGA.

Maurice Daniels accepts the 2007 President's Fulfilling the Dream Award

Connect Fall 2017




This past year saw many people retire or move to other positions. In addition to Dean Emeritus Maurice Daniels, we said a sincere thank you and regretful farewell to:

Mary Zorn Bates (MSW ’83) served the school since 1987, most recently as a clinical assistant professor.

Trina Salm Ward, Ph.D., joined the school in 2013 and served as assistant professor and coordinator of the MSW/MPH dual degree program.

Jackie Ellis (BSW ’78, MSW ’83, Ph.D. ’05) worked at the school since 2002, most recently as an academic professional in the field education office. She retired and returned part-time with the Title IV-E program.

Jeff Skinner, MSSW, M.Div., began working with the school in 2000 as program coordinator for Project Healthy Grandparents. At his retirement, he was coordinator of BSW field education.

Trudy McAfee retired from the Gwinnett campus after providing more than 20 years of office support.

Carol Smith Taylor (BSW ’84) joined the school in 2015 and served as field education coordinator for the Gwinnett campus.

Sandra Murphy (Ph.D. ’07) joined the school in 2009 and served as the highly respected director of field education.

Harold Waters (ABJ ’98) joined the school in 2011 as alumni director.

Cindy Roberts served as support staff for the field education office, retired in June and returned part-time with the Title IV-E program.


Connect Fall 2017


We are excited to welcome the following individuals:


Constance Wooden-Smith, MSW, serves as an academic professional and Gwinnett campus social work coordinator.

Thomas Artelt (AB ’73, MSW ’82, Ph.D. ’05) is the BSW field education coordinator and MSW/MDiv dual degree coordinator. He also holds a M.Div. from Christ Seminary (Seminex).

Jenay Beer, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Institute for Gerontology within the College of Public Health, with a 30 percent appointment in the School of Social Work.

Vivian Burrell, LCSW, is MSW field education coordinator at the Gwinnett campus.

Sindhuri Chandrupatla is an application analyst on the School of Social Work Instructional Technology team

Katherine “Katie” Crawford (Ph.D. ’16) is a part-time instructor and the field faculty liaison for MSW concentration students.

Zoe Johnson (MSW ‘04) is director of field education, orchestrating approximately 450 student placements each year. She anticipates completing requirements for a Ph.D. in the coming year.

Angela Lawson provides administrative support for field education.

Kate Morrissey-Stahl (MSW ’09) returns to the school as a clinical assistant professor. She looks forward to receiving her Ph.D. in 2018.

Mumbi Mwaura (MSW/MPH ’14) coordinates graduate recruitment and continuing education.

Devon Sanger (MSW ’11), LCSW, serves as an academic professional and coordinator of MSW field education for the Athens campus.

Connect Fall 2017




of Success:

Your Gifts Matter

Students from the UGA School of Social Work are committed to service. Our undergraduate majors serve 250 hours in the community through their internships in their senior year, and our MSW students serve an average of 475 hours in the community each year. Pursuing their dreams and serving the community should remain their priority and their focus, but many of them are instead managing significant student loans and simply trying to make ends meet. Scholarships, assistantships and funding to meet unexpected emergencies can help.

“The financial assistance you are providing me will greatly support my future and my career…I am extremely honored and thankful for my experience at the School of Social Work, as it has prepared me to serve children and families in need. When I have the opportunity and the privilege, I hope to help future students reach their goals as you have assisted me.” - Chelsea McElveen (MSW ’17), Elizabeth B. Loyd Scholarship “The Helen Elizabeth Huey Scholarship gave me confidence to achieve the goal of completing graduate school and gaining employment in the child welfare arena. Currently, I am a social service specialist within Resource Development at Clarke County DFCS. I love this role because it allows me to be directly involved in achieving permanency for foster youth. I will always be grateful for the Helen Elizabeth Huey Scholarship because it gave me the confidence to feel valuable to the child welfare community. Thank you all for believing in me!” - Deja Thomas (MSW ‘17) Helen Elizabeth Huey Scholarship “This award will allow me to continue to move forward toward my goal of working with those experiencing homelessness, as licensed social worker. This investment in my future is invaluable.” - Hannah Mapes (BSW ’17), James D. Horne Memorial Scholarship

J. Lloyd Allen (Ph.D. ’17), Pauline Berger Memorial Graduate Assistantship in Family and Child Welfare Jessica Smith (MSW ’19) Tisha Abolt Memorial Graduate Assistantship 32

Connect Fall 2017


Student Emergency Fund “In choosing to return to school and pursue a master in social work as a single parent, I was fully aware that I did not have much financial margin. During my last semester, several unexpected expenses occurred, including a medical bill and the breakdown of the family car. The Student Emergency Fund covered the cost of the repairs, and enabled me to continue to focus on being a student and parent.” -Tyler, MSW graduate who is now practicing in Atlanta

“The emergency funds helped me buy groceries for my children, and helped pay my bills. With the help of the emergency funds, I was able to continue the courses that I was taking. I felt a real sense of hope and support from the UGA MSW program.” - Lindsay, a second year MSW student and a single mother who experienced a sudden financial setback

Faculty at the School of Social Work tackle community and

societal challenges every day. Their work ranges from helping families in poverty avoid predatory lenders to finding the most effective way to help people struggling with addictions. They are always eager to take on new challenges, but a lack of financial support oftentimes impedes their ability to move a project forward. When faculty do secure private funding to kick-start a project, it often leads to additional funding from federal grants and foundations.

“The Houseguest Program,” an innovative, community-engaged scholarship model that integrated research and teaching, partnered students with families to address the issue of caregiver burden for persons with dementia. For developing the course and researching its utility, Assistant Professor Tiffany Washington received the university’s 2017 Service-Learning Research Excellence Award and 2016 Creative Teaching Award. The course and research study were supported by a $2,500 service-learning fellowship and a $500 private donation.

How you can help: • • • • •

Establish an endowed scholarship Provide annual scholarship aid Support an experiential learning opportunity Contribute to the Student Emergency Fund Provide start-up funds to help faculty get research projects off the ground • Establish an endowed professorship

For more information, contact:

Dean’s Office (706) 542-5424

Connect Fall 2017



Why I Give: Betsy Vonk (Ph.D. ‘96) is a professor at the School of Social Work. She teaches clinical social work classes in the Master of Social Work program both in Athens and at the extended-time program at the Gwinnett Campus. In 2013 she and her siblings established the Robert A. Vonk Scholarship for social work students committed to providing services for people with developmental disabilities.

First, it’s not just me. It’s my brother and sister— Harry Vonk and Jodie Vonk Raney—who along with me felt strongly about starting a scholarship for a student who would work with people who have problems like our younger brother Bob did. Our brother died several years ago. He had an intellectual disability, so he was in special education and also needed a lot of support throughout his life. There’s so much available for kids like that now, but there was just nothing when my brother was coming up. He was mildly intellectually disabled, but the only programs that the school system had to offer were for profoundly intellectually disabled people. He couldn’t keep up in regular school, but he was not a good fit at all for those programs. It was not at all what he needed. Also, once people like my brother graduate from high school, they still have many needs for supports of various types, and social workers can definitely help with those. So when he died, we decided that we would honor his memory by creating a scholarship for BSW or MSW students who would be committed to working with people with developmental disabilities. I don’t know what all of the past scholarship recipients are doing now professionally, a few years down the road; it’s gratifying though to know that those students were committed to working with people with developmental disabilities when they graduated. Every year I make a contribution to the Robert A. Vonk Scholarship so that I can make sure it will be well-funded into the future.

Photos courtesy Betsy Vonk


Connect Fall 2017

Statement on Social Justice by the faculty of the School of Social Work At the UGA School of Social Work, we believe social justice occurs when systems of all sizes (individuals, families, communities) are able safely and dependably to obtain the civil and human rights and resources they need to thrive. These include but are not limited to health; economic growth; social rights, equity, and inclusion; safety; freedom to move about the world; social support; food security; a clean environment; education; employment; childcare; and housing. Eliminating social injustice is central to our work as social workers, requires brave and assertive action and effort, and must be present in all we do and say. The School of Social Work advocates for social justice by fighting for the rights of people and communities, particularly those who have experienced marginalization, stigma, discrimination, and oppression of any form. We partner with communities in Georgia and around the world to embrace and speak truth to power and privilege and to promote change for social justice in our classrooms, our research, and our service. Approved unanimously by the faculty of the School of Social Work on September 15, 2017

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


Athens, GA Permit No. 165 279 Williams Street Athens, GA 30602 (877) 535-6590

The University of Georgia is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Americans with Disabilities Act institution.

Connect Magazine Fall 2017  

The alumni magazine of the University of Georgia School of Social Work ( For more information, contact

Connect Magazine Fall 2017  

The alumni magazine of the University of Georgia School of Social Work ( For more information, contact