Celebrating National Social Work Month

Reflections from our Family Support Team

March is National Social Work Month, which provides us an opportunity to reflect on the important contributions of our dedicated team of case managers, school social workers, family support workers, and counselors. We asked them for their thoughts on the rewards and challenges of their work, and how they feel they’re making a difference. Here’s what they had to say:

Doxene Roberts, LCSW-R, ACSW
Vice President, Family Support and Housing Services
“Our staff members imbue their work with empathy, compassion and an ongoing desire to help those in need. We are all pleased when we see children break generational gaps, when clients get accepted for needed public benefits, when a victim becomes a survivor, and when someone shows pride in becoming a citizen, but we know there is so much more be done as we continue to respond to challenges as a team. I am humbled and appreciative of their contribution to WHEDco and the people we serve. Our work is very challenging and rewarding; while we navigate difficult systems and policies, and manage limited funding, each day, our staff members diligently teach, advocate, support, motivate and guide clients to help them achieve their individual goals.”

Irynamary Guzman, Family Support Case Manager
“The most rewarding part of my work is knowing that I helped an individual or family in need and being able to walk out of the office feeling accomplished, even if it was as simple as reading their mail or as comprehensive as filling out a public assistance application.”

Sindy Rivera, Senior Single Stop Case Manager
“The most challenging part of my work is listening to clients struggling because the benefits they are receiving aren’t enough to support their families or make ends meet; trying to have answers for clients who are afraid of losing their benefits due to the new rules and regulations being discussed by immigration officials.”
Katie McCaskie, Senior Family Support School Social Worker
“When I was began my work as a new clinician, I worked with a student and her mother, L, who was undocumented at the time. The case involved accompanying mom to court once I found out there was domestic violence in the home, connecting her to legal services, and helping her and her children navigate the shelter system. I will always remember the day L called me to let me know she had received her work permit and was on the path to legal documentation. Having the opportunity to witness the strength and resilience of my clients was and continues to be an honor and a privilege. That case always comes to mind when I feel overwhelmed or hopeless to remind me to keep moving forward.”

Delianna Castillo, Family Support School Social Worker
“I think the most challenging part of my work is when I come across situations that are out of my control and I cannot do more than I have. It is also challenging to learn of a student being mistreated or neglected at home, because you can only do so much in the school; the reality to some students is that when they leave school, they face a different world. To see a student living in ways you wish they didn’t have to makes it challenging, because you want to do all you can for your students.”

Kimberly Hernandez, Family Support Social Worker
“The most rewarding part of my work is to help people enact change in their lives. I get to see people transform themselves and make the best out of difficult situations.”

Marylind Soriano, Family Support Worker
“An elderly, disabled couple originally came to me seeking legal assistance, but I further assessed that they needed many other services. They needed housing relocation assistance and I was able to help them safely move to another low-income apartment and get Section 8. I assisted the husband with a citizenship application and fee waiver, and he is now a citizen. I also assisted them with their annual SNAP and lease re-certifications. Less than three years ago they were going to be displaced and had no idea what they were going to do, and now they are living a more stable life.”

Janira Soto, Family Support Worker
“I remember when a hearing-impaired client came in for legal counseling. We weren’t able to communicate with each. I felt helpless and wished that I had known sign-language in order to assist him better. Fortunately, through team work, we were able to sign him in and give him instructions on next steps!”

Poonam Carrasquillo, Family Support Worker
“The most rewarding part of my work is being able help staff members, building residents and clients with their specific needs, and being able to fulfill each request.”