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Thursday, February 1

From the Pen of the President: February 2018

Mary Gollings
NASW-Illinois Chapter President

Some of us find it hard to take our eyes off the news these days, some may find it easier to avoid the news altogether. I, for better or worse, cannot seem to help myself. Either way, many of us are feeling a stronger need than ever to fight for those we serve and for the principles are profession is based upon. While social justice is a long-standing element of the social work profession, I was pleased to see the emphasis that next month’s plans for Social Work Month placed on advocacy and leading change. The theme led to plans for using storytelling through videos and podcasts to promote the work our colleagues are doing and the commitments made to our profession and our world. Storytelling is often thought of as a tool we use with those we serve from individual interventions to support groups to efforts we help organize for social change. Asking social workers to be the storytellers allows us a new window to see the strides being made and the tireless efforts given across the nation in all fields of social work. I believe recognition not only promotes the person and the positive impact, but it also can restore our confidence that meaningful change does in fact happen. I also truly believe in the power of storytelling because it can help the person release the weight they have been carrying and give hope that others may benefit. There is nothing easy about the work we do or the battles we face. I hope the March Social Work Month celebrations allow you designated time to bask in your accomplishments and feel supported for your efforts. Thank you for all that you do each and every day of the year.

Mary Gollings (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) is currently social work supervisor at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, IL, overseeing clinical social workers in medicine and surgery services, primary care, and specialty clinics. Prior to serving the profession as supervisor, Mary worked in the VA system’s Geriatric Extended Care services and inpatient medicine service. She then served for several years as program coordinator and clinical social worker for veterans with sinal cord Injuries. Prior to joining the Jesse Brown VA, Mary worked at the Captain Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Mary has served on local, regional, and national committees to help with efforts on system redesign and process improvement as well as promotion of patient-centered care. She has also served on local and regional professional standard boards and continuing education committees to ensure that the highest level of professional standards in social work are met. Mary serves as field instructor for second-year MSW students and as mentor for social workers new to the professional field to assist them in their professional growth. Mary served on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors since 2010 as member at-large and served as treasurer for the chapter’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Mary also served as chair of the 2015 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference. She is an active volunteer with JDRF, mentoring children with Type One Diabetes and their families, as well as fundraising for research in the field.

Posted on 02/01/18 at 08:00 AM


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