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Saturday, October 1

Statewide Conference Honors 2005 Award Winners

Dee Goodale-Mikosz, LCSW

SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR

Sherry Bryant, LCSW, CADC, LMFT

An advocate in the true sense of the word, Sherry Bryant is the 2005 NASW Illinois Chapter Social Worker of the Year. Her ceaseless efforts on behalf of suicide prevention in the wake of her son’s untimely death by suicide in December 1993 propelled Sherry to begin a search for the “whys” of suicide and its prevention.

 Sherry’s work in the area of suicide prevention has been remarkable. Her passion and determination have led to great successes and social change across Illinois. She spearheaded and was the founding president of the organization Suicide Prevention Services, Inc. (SPS), a 501 3C not-for-profit community-based organization in Batavia, Illinois. SPS has educated literally thousands of individuals in suicide prevention. However, there is much more to her story.

 Sherry has been the “guiding light” and chairperson of the Illinois Suicide Prevention Strategy Committee. Under her leadership the Committee lobbied the Illinois General Assembly to successfully pass the Suicide Prevention, Education and Treatment Act which was signed into law by Governor Rod Blagojevich in August 2004. This Act also established the State of Illinois Suicide Prevention Task Force (http://www.ilsp.net) along with the formation of five funded pilot education and prevention programs aimed at groups which are at a high risk for suicide and their caregivers. In 2004, this Committee sponsored the first Suicide Prevention Conference in Illinois with 130 attendees, forty of whom were trained in the Question, Persuade, Refer techniques for suicide prevention. Her strong support on this issue at the national level helped pass the Garrett Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Bill signed by President Bush. On a regular basis, Sherry meets with U.S. Speaker Dennis Hastert in his Batavia office to keep the issue of suicide prevention “on the top of the pile.” With all that she does in this arena, Sherry effectively maintains a private practice in Oswego, Illinois, serving a highly varied clientele.

 Sherry’s nominators had this to say about her and her endeavors with suicide prevention: “someone who exemplifies the concept of improving one’s community, improving the plight of those with mental illness and advocating for all the now-stilled voices;” “tireless advocate for suicide prevention;” “no one who more clearly manifests and sets forth the values and qualities of a social worker;” and lastly, “dynamic, passionate, loyal and, most importantly, engaging as an advocate and colleague.”

 Sherry’s nominators include Jerry J. Murphy, Patricia Reedy, LCSW, Judy Ashby, LCPC, Terri Montesano, Carol M. Wozniewski, Janet Yanos, PhD, LCSW, Stephenie Weber, LCPC and Peter M. Gutierrez, PhD.

 Congratulations, Sherry Bryant. Sherry received her award at the September 2005 NASW Illinois Statewide Conference.

Posted on 10/01/05 at 12:02 PM (0) Comments

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