2022 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Awards
This year, the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL) is honoring the work of some exceptional Illinois social workers and individuals whose work promotes social justice and social change with and on behalf of the people and clients they serve.
Many thanks to this year’s NASW-Illinois Chapter Awards Committee members as well: HIlary Tharp, Chair, Adana Cranfield, and Kimberly Palermo.
Congratulations to this year's 2022 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Award winners!
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Linda Sandman (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; LCSW) has over 35 years’ experience working with people with disabilities, including mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently, Linda is a co-director with Blue Tower Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging individuals, organizations, and systems to create cultures of respect, inclusion, dignity, and equality for people with disabilities. She is bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural and deeply committed to promoting inclusion for all. Linda played a role in implementing landmark legislation in Illinois giving access to sex education for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, culminating years of work promoting sexuality education and violence prevention. Press Release
SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR: Lynn R. Zakeri (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; LCSW) is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the Chicago area whose passion is to help people figure out what is wrong and help them feel better again. Previously working in the foster care system and then public schools, Lynn is now owner of Lynn Zakeri LCSW Clinical Services, PLLC, where she works closely with her associates and helps children, adolescents, adults, and families both clinically and practically. She enjoys assisting in the progress and achievement of attaining goals, and clients’ needs are prioritized, addressed, and met. Lynn volunteers and serves on many committees, both with NASW and in the community. Press Release
EMERGING SOCIAL WORK LEADER: Katherine Galloway(MSW, Widener University; LSW) is a licensed social worker with a career foundation in public service. She felt the pull to use her advocacy and intervention skills to improve quality of life for individuals, families, and communities that led her to embark into social work. She puts these skills to use in the Office of the Illinois Senate President and as therapist. Katherine describes a good day as working with her colleagues at the State Capitol and then bouncing a few blocks away to meet with clients and witness their brave transformations. Katherine credits her family for a foundation toward public service and is continually motivated by her clients’ vulnerability and fortitude. Press Release
PUBLIC CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Niya Kelly (MA, Loyola University Chicago; JD, Loyola University Chicago) is Director of State Legislative Policy, Transformation and Equity, at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). Her work focuses on Illinois’ state budget, public benefits, and housing insecurity policies. In her work she has drafted legislation including the creation of liaisons for students experiencing homelessness in college; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for community college students experiencing food insecurity; and access to free birth certificates for people experiencing homelessness. Niya understands that homelessness is a direct result of racism and inequities. At CCH she hosts a workshop for impacted people to better understand that homelessness is not created by individual failings but by systematic and institutional policies and structures. Press Release
The NASW-Illinois Chapter is proud of the work of Linda Sandman, Lynn Zakeri, Katherine Galloway, and Niya Kelly for their contributions both to the social work profession as well as their communities.