Chapter Update

Tuesday, March 29

Celebrate Not Ventilate: 2011 Social Work Month Events Around the State

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, CAE
NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director

This past week and earlier in March, I had the privilege to attend several NASW Illinois District Social Work Month events around the state. At the conclusion of one of the events, a longtime NASW Illinois member asked me if I was going to discuss the current “state of the state” vis-à-vis our profession. I frequently do this at a variety of settings, but my response for this occasion was that the district award event was a time to celebrate (in so many words) and not ventilate.  There is plenty of challenging news and barriers to the service provisions we provide on a daily basis. But I am firm believer that Social Work Month—especially the NASW Illinois Chapter District Awards events—is a time to celebrate what we do and who we are as professionals. This was surely the case at events I attended in Bloomington, Decatur, Chicago, and in the Southern District, as well as the events that NASW Illinois Chapter President Yolanda Jordan attended in Kankakee and Oak Park.

The East Central District was busy with two Social Work Month events on March 23, 2011, the first of which was the district’s annual involvement with the Illinois State University Social Work Program’s annual social work seminar. This was followed by the district’s awards event that took place in Decatur. Following the redistricting of the chapter last year, Macon County is now included in the East Central District. East Central District Chair Candi Gray has done an exemplary job of developing activity and leadership in this new area of the district. The East Central District Awards event honored Mary Garrison, LCSW, as Social Worker of the Year and Kathleen Taylor as Public Citizen of Year.

On March 24, 2011, the Chicago District, chaired by Alexander Brown, honored Public Citizen of the Year Ben Wolf, JD, an attorney with the ACLU; Lifetime Achievement awardee Richard Jones, the CEO Emeritus of Metropolitan Services and president and chair of the NASW Assurance Services; and Social Worker of the Year Ida Anger. That evening, the Southern District, chaired by Travis Nottmeier, honored Kris Grawitch Fulkerson, LCSW, as Social Worker of the Year, and Donnie Bland as Public Citizen of the Year. Chapter president Yolanda Jordan, LCSW. attended the Calumet District’s 2011 Awards Event in Kankakee. The district, chaired by Chasity Wells-Armstrong, honored Susie Tate with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Jackie Hass as Social Worker of the Year, and Vincent Clark as Public Citizen of the Year.

Earlier in the month, I also had the opportunity to attend the Northeastern District’s day-long CEU and awards event. The district, chaired by Cheri Sinnott, awarded Stephanie Kutzen as Social Worker of the Year. On March 15, 2011, Yolanda and I also participated in the Three Rivers District Social Work Month gathering in Oak Park. To round out the month, this evening I will be traveling to Rockford to participate in the Jane Addams District Social Work Month event. The district, chaired by Joan Lodge, will recognize Elise Cadigan with a Lifetime Achievement award. The event will also remember and honor last year's Lifetime Achievement winner Frank Ware, the longtime CEO of Janet Wattles Center who passed away this past February.

Photos and bio of all NASW Illinois District Award winners can be found at Additional photos from this past month’s awards events are featured in the Photo Gallery on the chapter website. Enjoy the rest of Professional Social Work Month 2011!

Posted on 03/29/11 at 10:36 AM


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