To celebrate National Social Work Month (March), we sat down with a few of our 120+ social workers to talk about their unique experiences and paths that brought them to social work and then to COA.
Deneen, LSW, is a supervisor in our Aging and Disability Resource Center (Call Center). She helps people navigate the complicated web of long-term care services and supports, helping them understand their options and connecting them to resources to help meet their unique needs.
Years as a social worker: 25
Years at COA: This is my third “tour of duty” at COA. I worked for 6 ½ years my first go around; 5 years the second; and a little over 1 ½ years as of today. As they say, “third time’s a charm.” It’s time to sit still.
Other professional experience: Group facilitator for adults dually diagnosed with a mental health condition and chemical dependency.
Why did you become a social worker? I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to college. I went to a vocational high school, where I trained to do office work. But I had some great people in my life who told me that going to college was a possibility. Once I settled into college, I found myself gravitating toward classes about human behavior and social policies. College is where I learned that there is actually a field of study that made sense to me in the way I was wired and motivated. I would have made a great secretary but I was supposed to be a social worker… no doubt.
Favorite things about the job: When someone talks to me, I want them to leave or hang up the phone feeling empowered and respected. I get the opportunity to do that every day as an ADRC specialist. It’s one of the favorite aspects of my job. I also work with an awesome group of motivated and productive individuals on my team, which makes for a great time and great days at work.
Other thoughts about your job? Not every call that I take or contribution that I make ends with accolades, but knowing that I’ve done my best feels rewarding and helps me prepare for my next call or my next assignment. I am one of the voices in the beginning that results in dignity and independence for the individuals we serve at the end. I feel good about that.