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Wurzweiler Student One of Twelve Recipients of Latino Social Work Task Force Scholarships

August 27th, 2014 by raco
Latino Social Work Task Force

Scholarship recipients from schools including Lehman, NYU, Adelphi, Hunter, Columbia, Fordham, and Yeshiva. (Wurzweiler’s student Charlene Garcia is pictured on the far right)

Wurzweiler student Charlene Garcia was one of twelve graduate students awarded an annual scholarship for the coming year 2014-2015 by the Latino Social Work Task Force. According to the LSWTF, the funds are raised as a result of the LSWTF Annual Dinner and other fundraising events, as well as support of the Hispanic Federation with a $10,000 contribution toward the scholarship fund. Each student receives $2,000 along with a scholarship commitment from their individual school.

As of 2014, the LSWTF has provided funding of nearly $450,000 for 95 scholarships for 74 Latino social work students, including commitments by the graduate schools of social work.

Wurzweiler congratulates Charlene Garcia and all of the other recipients on this outstanding accomplishment!

Israeli WSSW Student Turned Soldier Returns From War With Thanks

August 20th, 2014 by raco

A Wurzweiler student who is close to completing the requirements for his MSW degree was called to duty in Israel shortly after the completion of the Block program in July. With the student’s (now colleague) permission, we are posting this recent  letter that he wrote to Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks. His name is withheld, as per his request, due to security issues.

We have so much to be proud of this Israeli social worker turned soldier.

“Dear Dr. Hendricks,

I just returned from two weeks of war and wanted to give you a brief update of what is happening. Currently, I am on standby waiting for further instructions depending on the ceasefire talks taking place in Cairo. Directly after our graduation exercises, I received a phone call from the Army, asking me to get back home as soon as possible, to gather my soldiers and get on the helicopters to Gaza. The energy and excitement generated at the beautiful graduation ceremonies were quickly replaced with intense operational preparations. I felt privileged to serve my country and protect my family and friends.

Nevertheless, the experience of war is unpleasant. It is indeed the kingdom of uncertainty, a range of feelings and experiences which is very challenging to describe in words. Maybe above all, is the awareness that death is always around the corner. When I had some time to think alone, I acknowledged the fact that in all the wars I have participated in to date, this is the first one that I am not just a soldier, but also a social worker. As such, I felt that alongside my operational responsibilities to target the terrorists, I had also human and social responsibilities to every innocent human being trying to avoid harming them and minimize their suffering.

On Saturday, I returned to Israel after not seeing my home for over two and a half month, I called Meir (Charash), and let him know that I was all right. It is hard for to express how much your unequivocal and unhesitant (sic) support means to me. Suffice to say, I was very touched by your concern and empathy and the degree of trust that you placed in me to complete all my assignments in a timely fashion once the war is over…

Dean Hendricks: Thank you so much for everything.  Kol Tuv.”

Wurzweiler Graduates Fifty Five Masters of Social Work

July 25th, 2014 by raco

Student speaker Sheldon Howard addresses the graduating class at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work 37th Annual Block Education Plan Commencement Exercises

On July 21st, 2014 Wurzweiler held its thirty seventh Commencement Exercises for the Summer Block Education Plan, in which fifty five students were conferred their MSW degrees. In addition to the Commencement Address by Dr. Joyce Brenner, the retiring Director of the Block Program in Israel, the students were inspired by their selected student speaker Sheldon Howard. Prior to graduation the graduating student body is given the opportunity elect any student to offer an address on their behalf at graduation.

Below is the text of this exceptional address by the graduating student, who was also the recipient of the Elaine Schott Advocacy Award, which is given to a graduating student  for promoting community initiative and social change. This address encapsulates the spirit of social work education and the commencement exercises and celebrates the accomplishments of the graduating students and the great and important work ahead of them as social work professionals.

Congratulations to all graduates, and to Sheldon Howard for his wonderful and entertaining words, shared here with his permission.

***

“OK…. So before I really get into what I want to say…

I have some news to share quickly…

… this is just in from the folks who produce the DSM ..

It looks like they’ve introduced a new condition…

It’s called…

POST-GRADUATE OK so which one is Adam 2 again?  SYNDROME…

It’s brought on by prolonged periods of stress…

…lack of sleep…

…and acute exposure to something called SSD for R. 

Whatever that is…

Symptoms include… a pervasive sense of panic… and you twitch every time you hear either one of these words… integrative or essay… 

Lastly – you’ve got that feeling you just want to go home already.

Well I don’t know about you but that’s how it feels to me…

…like we’ve just run a marathon… and a sprint at the same time…

A sprint-athon. Or a mara-thint.

But we are done. Finished. Graduation is termination.

And for me… this is about as good a way to go out as possible.

You’ve done me a great honour asking me to do this… And I’m very grateful…

I’m also very excited.

It’s hard to believe…

I mean it’s always been a dream of mine…

No…not speaking at graduation…. Not even being a Social Worker…

I’ve now got about five minutes to say pretty much whatever I want to a captive audience…regale you with stories about my family… my old neighbourhood… my dog… odd childhood experiences… 

…basically I have about five minutes to pretend I’m Professor Sweifach.

Which really wouldn’t be such a bad thing… to be like Professor Sweifach… or any of our professors… for that matter… who… each one in their way… has engraved the very best of their experience and knowledge … on each one of our new Social Worker selves… 

…and always with caring… and commitment… and a profound passion… for us and the work we now set out to do. 

On behalf of all those I am proud to call my classmates and colleagues… many many thanks to the Wurzweiler Faculty….  Administration… and Cheryl… you are the most miraculous one of all… Thank you… 

…and of course thanks to all the friends… family… loved ones… who supported us through all this. That could not have been easy. A very big and special thanks to all of you.

Now I know these few minutes I have to speak are not about me… I mean everyone I told about this… made it very clear… it’s not about you Shelly… but please indulge me in this little bit of self-disclosure.

Soooo…. I’m not 24. Oh – you knew that? OK never mind.

The point is… Social Work is not my first profession.

I worked in Journalism for a while…  

Telling stories is the focus of Journalism. Doing it dispassionately… a watch dog on governments… the first draft of history… and all that…

But where Journalism does its best to document what’s happening in the world… and hopes to make a difference…

Social Workers… are all about making a difference… being the difference…

Pursuing either profession will take you into some pretty dark places; into the shadows… 

…a reporter… armed with the power of the pen… Social Workers with the power of our professional values… our skills… our compassion… our courage… 

…we go into those dark places because that’s where there’s suffering… that’s where people are sad… oppressed and in pain… that’s where the vulnerable need a voice… where people who are hurting need a hand… where those most alone… most afraid…. most in need… they just want to hear that one person say… what is our job to say… what we commit to say…

That – It’s OK… I’m here… I’ve got your back….

When no one else does… I do. You do. We do.

That’s our job. We’re Social Workers.

And we can never know who we might find in those dark places… we might not understand their pain… or how they ended up feeling so isolated… rejected… lost… but here’s what we DO know… we know dark from light… we all crave the light… everyone deserves the dignity of knowing… I am seen… I am accepted for who I am… how I was created… like everyone else… B’tzelem elokeem… in god’s image… 

And that’s what we do. We help to bring light to those dark places… help people find their way back to themselves… That’s OUR job. That’s what we do. We’re Social Workers.

Now if you were looking for it… in our graduating group today… there is no doubt you COULD find difference. We are diverse. 

We are American. Canadian. Israeli. Religious. Secular. Jewish. Christian. Agnostic.

Some Older.

Almost everyone else much… much… younger.

Some of us are bald. 

Some have hair. 

Some have purple hair.

But the way I see it…with us… with all people…. we are much more the same than we are different. And that sameness is powerful… sticky… it binds us… and gives us something to make contact with… in every one of our clients… no matter who they are… or how they ended up in front of us…

Virginia Satir said we connect at the level of sameness… grow at the level of difference… So we Social Workers… we celebrate diversity… we can’t let it divide us…. We acknowledge and learn from the other… and walk together in search of more light.

And these days… there’s so much darkness… in parts of the world so many of us are so deeply connected to… it is very hard to see any light… to feel any feelings beyond pain… sadness… and frustration… anger… and fear… 

And I know I’m new at this… I haven’t even been a Social Worker for a day yet… so forgive my youthful innocence… (I was never able to shake it anyway)…. but whether it’s through prayer… or meditation… exercise… or shopping… however we do it… we need to take care of ourselves… to keep learning…growing… evolving… so we can still see something better on the horizon…

I had a great teacher who introduced me to the work of Paulo Freire who said – “If the structure does not permit dialogue – the structure must be changed” — that’s where we come in… we advocate for that change… for Social Justice… that’s our job. That’s what we do… We’re Social Workers.

A few years ago when I was saying kaddish for my Mother – who I miss every day… but especially today – I got familiar with several passages in the siddur – the Jewish prayer book – passages I didn’t know so well. One line has stayed with me and helped me in a lot of ways but also as a Social Worker… and I will end with this… the line is  – U’ve’tuvo mehadesh b’chol yom ma’aseh braysheet… in his (or her) goodness – God – however…whatever you understand god to be… god renews the act of creation every day. To me that means that… Every day matters… Every day there is hope. Every day things can get better…

And guess what?

We get to help do that now…

…you know why? 

That’s our job.

We’re Social Workers.

Congratulations everyone. 

Thanks.”

 

Dr. Joyce Brenner, Director of the Wurzweiler Block Program in Israel, Honored as Distinguished Alumni, Retires After 27 Years

July 22nd, 2014 by raco

Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks presents Dr. Joyce Brenner with the first ever Wurzweiler Distinguished Alumni Award

On July 23rd, 2014 Dr. Joyce Brenner’s twenty seven years with Wurzweiler School of Social Work were recognized as she steps down and embraces retirement. The first ever Wurzweiler School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Brenner, who graduated

Dr. Joyce Brenner delivers the Commencement Address July 23rd, 2014 at the Block Program Graduation, fifty years after receiving her own MSW degree.

fifty years ago with an MSW degree from the School in 1964, and then received her DSW degree twenty years later. Dr. Brenner also delivered the Commencement Address to the fifty-five graduating students, fifty years after she received the same degree. As well, in an example of coming “full circle”, Dr. Brenner’s own daughter was one of the graduates, hearing her own mother’s inspiring words.

Dr. Joyce Brenner (center) with Israeli colleagues Marva Perrin Levine (left) and Meir Charash (right)

Two days prior, on July 21st, more than fifty students, alumni, faculty and staff were on hand to celebrate her accomplishments as Director of the Block Program in Israel and wish her well as she retires after more than a quarter of a century of service.

In addition to some remarks by Dean

Dr. Brenner’s retirement celebration was well attended

Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, a retrospective video featuring photos and well-wishes from colleagues Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Raesa Kaiteris and Meir Charash and an address by Dr. Brenner highlighting her career and offering thanks rounded out the event. Watch the video here.

Dr. Brenner with students and Dr. Joan Beder (right)

Wurzweiler’s “Sexual Identity and Social Work Practice” Common Day a Great Success

July 3rd, 2014 by raco

A Message from Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks reflecting on the Block Program’s “Sexual Identity and  Social Work Practice”- themed Common Day at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, July 2nd, 2014:

Thank you Students, Faculty and Staff,

Our joint efforts paid off in a wonderful Common Day experience.  Thank you Student Government Association, Dr. Levy, the Panelists, and Marc Raco!  It was an informative and enlightening experience that emphasized our social work role and responsibilities to LGBTQ clients.  Enjoy the photos of the event!

Dean Hendricks

The Future of Wurzweiler

June 20th, 2014 by raco

A Message from the Dean:  The Future of Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Dr. HendricksEvery May, the faculty and administration meet for Spring Wrap-Up to review the year that is ending and to plan for the year ahead.  As usual, we agree on new goals and directions for the School, the curriculum and for our students.  Students are generally surveyed through Survey Monkey for their input on our discussions, and we look at course evaluations to see what trends exist among students and faculty.

In addition to all these discussions, this year the focus was on expanding on-line course offerings for the Fall, Spring and Summer sessions in the MSW and PHD programs.  Our main concern is maintaining high standards of social work education while expanding our reach as a School to new populations both nationally and internationally.  Alumni have expressed a need for an on-line PHD program for many years, and we are finally acting on this request.  You will hear more about this as we teach ourselves and our students how to use new technologies in on-line education.

We are also hard at work preparing for reaccreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  Our self-study is due October 2016 and our site visit will take place in February 2017.  The most dramatic change for our School is shifting our attention to competency-based education.  In other words, we have to assess the extent to which our students achieve social work competencies established by CSWE.  Some of you are already familiar with this, but there will be more discussions about competencies as you move through your social work education at Wurzweiler.  Soon we will be able to report to students how well we are doing as educators and how well you are doing as graduates in achieving competence in social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Lastly, I want you to know that we have already begun to plan for our 60th Anniversary as a School.  Our 60th logo is already on all our stationery, and a joint Board and Faculty committee will help plan a gala in Fall 2017 to celebrate the past, present and future of Wurzweiler, and to raise more scholarship money for our students.  I hope all our alumni will join in this celebration.

The faculty and administration continue to envision new directions and new goals for the School.  We have raised more scholarship money this year than last, and our enrollment continues to steadily rise despite all the competition in NYC where 10 Schools of Social Work reside each offering their unique brand of social work education.

While you are a student here at Wurzweiler, please take advantage of all we have to offer you.  Smaller classes, faculty advising, extra-curricular learning opportunities, opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research or other scholarly activities, service learning events, becoming a student member of the National Association of Social Workers, and putting into practice the lessons learned from your teachers, classmates and the people you serve.

I am entering my third year as Dean, and my tenth year at YU, and I am confident that Wurzweiler has wonderful alumni and students who can help us realize our vision of the future.

Dean Hendricks

 

Research Findings and Curriculum on Hearing Loss in Infants

June 19th, 2014 by raco

(L to R) Dr. Susan Mason, Dr. Charles Auerbach and Dr. Wendy Zeitlin

 Wurzweiler School of Social Work professors Dr. Charles Auerbach, Dr. Susan Mason and Dr. Wendy Zeitlin recently presented the findings from their research on Hearing Loss in Infants

The resources and modules are below.

 

Hearing Module – Pediatric Hearing Loss (PDF)

Hearing Module- Public Health (PDF)

Hearing Module- Working with Families of Children with HL (PDF)

Resources – Hearing Loss in Infants and Children (PDF)

Resources – Public Health and Working with Families (PDF)

Wurzweiler Students Participate in Artstroll

June 18th, 2014 by raco

IMG_20140618_100007_312Several students of Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work have offered photographs of the Washington Heights, NY area as part of the School’s participation in “Artstroll”. The photos of Washington Heights-Inwood by Yeshiva students reflect the diversity of our students and community.

According to the “Artstroll” website, for the past 11 years, local artists and leaders have partnered to build a stronger community through the arts in Northern Manhattan. The Uptown Arts Stroll is an annual showcase for this effort, giving a voice to an arts community that is growing in the often overlooked and quickly gentrifying neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood. Since 2003, the Uptown Arts StrollIMG_20140618_095954_394s mall has grown from a one-day event to a month-long celebration offering a wide variety of arts and cultural events north of West 155th Street. The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) in collaboration with local artists, businesses, community leaders and institutions, has produced the Uptown Arts Stroll since 2008.

The 2014 Uptown Arts Stroll will feature open studios, art exhibitions, concerts, literary events, and performances throughout Northern Manhattan from West 155th Street to West 220th Street.

ArtStroll2014-Brochure-192x271The Yeshiva University contribution to Artstroll can be seen on the first floor of Furst Hall at 500 W. 185th Street (9am-5pm Mon-Thurs and 9am-2pm Fri) through June 27th.

For more on “Artstroll” and the other exhibits visit http://www.artstroll.com .

Wurzweiler Alumnus Esteban Ramos Featured in “Manhattan Times”: Youth Development Organization Boasts Two Decades of Service

May 28th, 2014 by raco

From “Manhattan Times” May 14, 2014

“For your information   FYI marks two decades of service”

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

 

Esteban Ramos

Esteban “Steve” Ramos

In Northern Manhattan, “FYI” is a lot more than information.

Founded in 1993, Fresh Youth Initiatives (FYI) is a non-profit youth development organization that focuses on providing support and skills to youths ages 9-18 with afterschool, enrichment and summer programming.

FYI youth spend most of their time volunteering throughout Northern Manhattan. Among the tasks they take on include organizing care packages for area seniors; painting over mailboxes covered in graffiti; sewing mittens and sleeping bags for homeless people; and gardening in local community gardens. Some also make their own clothes from recycled materials.

When not volunteering, the youths work hit the books at FYI’s offices located at West 171st Street in afterschool tutoring and enrichment programs.

Each activity is part of the organization’s holistic approach to giving area kids a boost, explained Executive Director Steve Ramos.

“I like it when we have fun,” said Josue Lora.

“There’s a very strong sense of family,” he said of the organization which is marking two decades of service.
In one year, the students will cumulatively complete 12,000 hours of volunteer service, and touch about 300 lives, he estimated.

READ FULL ARTICLE

First Ever Class of Wurzweiler School of Social Work Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy Graduates

May 27th, 2014 by raco
Members of the WSSW premiere class in Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Members of the Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Congratulations to the graduating fellows of the premiere class of the “Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy” at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University.

Several students graduating from Wurzweiler School of Social Work's Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Several students graduating from Wurzweiler School of Social Work’s Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy