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The Incredible Spirit and Generosity of Our Members
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Message from the President

The Incredible Spirit and Generosity of Our Members

A couple of years ago, the nominations committee reached out to me to run for the NASW-NYC Office of the President. Honored, my biggest concerns were about how much time the position would take and if I would find the work interesting. On the positive side, I knew I would learn more about NASW and our professional organization’s critical issues and develop new skills. In addition to working with Chapter staff and volunteers I knew and liked, I looked forward to meeting many more social work leaders and professionals. After 10 months as President and participating in another Social Work Month Celebration, I can report that though I am tired, I have been working with and meeting extraordinary social workers! The social workers I meet are interested in making a contribution to improve and make a difference in the lives of others. Social workers work in the present to change the future!

Those of us who hold events for Social Work Month at our agencies and/or speak at other organizations, use the time to reflect on what about our work, our professional lives and volunteer activities gives us cause for celebration. At my agency — NYC Department of Homeless Services —
as in many others, I appreciate the support and recognition social workers get for contributing to our mission and service delivery system. I’m inspired by how many of our colleagues return to school to get their social work degrees while continuing to work. These employees receive positive support from others in our work places and from their social work schools as they attend class and learn how to help others. I am proud to find how many social workers carve out time to take the Social Work Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) course that enables them to supervise the next generation of social workers.

In addition, one of the reasons I have enjoyed my volunteer position with the NYC Chapter of NASW is the incredible spirit, eagerness and generosity our members have to work towards solving difficult problems by sharing their expertise and time. For example, on the Executive Committee (or ‘EC’ to our newer members), our First Vice President is Gwendolyn Butler of the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services who brings her expertise in working with individuals and groups to our committee. She encourages us to do the right thing for our members. Penny Schwartz, Second Vice President, from The Mount Sinai Medical Center brings her long-term experience with NASW-NYC and understanding of organizations. She pushes us to stay focused. Third Vice President Kevin Lotz works at Palladia, Inc. by day and at a shelter he created —Trinity Place — in the evenings. He brings an interest in engaging new professionals using social networking and technology. Joseph Girven, Treasurer, of James Lenox House Association and Carnegie East, willingly and easily shares his knowledge of budgets. He makes sure the budget is balanced yet helps us to maintain the programming that makes NASW-NYC special. Ilene Marcus, Secretary, from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, brings board development experience and pushes us all to do better. She has guided our planning process to ensure our programming stays focused on increasing membership. Ravi Bhasin, of International Center for the Disabled, listens to what we all have to say and helps us make sound decisions. Lisa White, of Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, comes with knowledge of NASW-NYC from her previous years on the Board. She is committed to our membership. Gail Siegal, from Jewish Home Lifecare, brings intelligence, good judgment, and common sense to the group. She makes sure we are clear in getting our message out. Our Executive Director, Bob Schachter, rounds out the group. He brings his years of experience, knowledge of NASW and his desire for NASW to succeed. Overall, I think the Committee works because we share common goals of increasing membership and making our Chapter relevant to social workers in our community and to the social work professionals we represent. This makes working together supportive, tough, exciting and productive.

I encourage you to think about volunteering with NASW-NYC. Come and meet some extraordinary social workers who share in wanting to change futures. Meet social workers who can help you find a new job. Meet an expert in the field you can call for information or consultation. Take a workshop. Tell us your ideas. Check out our website for a list of past and upcoming events. This month we have had stellar events organized by the Asian American, African Descent, and Latino Social Work Task Forces. I was fortunate to attend them all and applaud how they highlighted the positive contributions made by social workers. Please join us for our Annual Meeting, May 12, 2011, Succeeding on the Strength of Our Convictions in Social Work: Breaking Through in Extraordinary Times and definitely do not miss our first “After Party” following the meeting.

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