Photo: HSU students participate in rally for Medicaid at Texas capitol
Hardin-Simmons University social work students and faculty members will be helping to feed the homeless and impoverished in our community this evening as they join with Love & Care Ministries on a weekly outreach to provide hot meals, cold and hot drinks, as well as socks, blankets, sleeping bags, and hygiene items.
Melissa Milliorn, associate professor of social work at Hardin-Simmons University and chair of the department, says the night strike is one of many activities in which HSU social work students participate during the month of March, with is National Social Work month.
Social work students kicked off the month of activities with Social Work Advocacy Day in Austin, Texas, on March 5, 2013. Two faculty members, along with 20 HSU students, 16 students from Abilene Christian University, and four social work professionals from the community traveled to the state-wide event.
Tuesday, March 26, is the National Association of Social Work awards luncheon. HSU Senior, Melissa Sartor, of Abilene, will receive the Social Work Student of the Year Award. Melissa is the daughter of Chuck Sartor, HSU facility coordinator; and Tina Sartor, advancement office gifts coordinator.
On March 28, students will attend the Abilene City Council meeting where Mayor Norm Archibald will read a proclamation.
Milliorn says students going on the Love & Care Ministries night strike will experience homelessness in Abilene first-hand. “They will see where those who are homeless tend to live in our community; they learn about impoverished areas of the city; what neighborhoods are lower income areas with greater needs; but most of all, they learn about how to help, how to be a humble servant by providing a simple meal and prayer for folks in need. This experience challenges personal values and biases about homelessness and provides an opportunity to love as Jesus did, without judgment and with great compassion.”
In April, HSU students volunteer at the Champion for Children Conference, April 12 - 13 at the Abilene Civic Center.
Milliorn says, “Social work is in the top five careers of growth. The jobs are out there and jobs are greatly varied. Statistics given by the US Bureau of Labor indicate how fast the profession of social work is growing. There are great needs in our society and social workers are needed to help.”
Milliorn provides a list of fields and jobs held by recent HSU graduates:
- International Justice Mission – working in India to rescue young girls and women from human trafficking and sex trafficking
- Texas Department of State Health Services – Social Work Services working with children with chronic medical and development needs
- Taylor County Supervision and Corrections Department – adult probation, residential supervision officer
- Klaras Center for Families (Waco MHMR) – caseworker providing clinical services to children, youth and young adults
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services – Family Based Safety Services worker with Child Protective Services providing prevention and intervention to families and children
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abilene – match specialist, conducts assessments to match children with adult mentors
- Abilene Regional Medical Center and Hendrick Medical Center – social work and case management services to patients and families
- Hendrick Hospice – social work services and bereavement to patients and their loved ones at the end of life
- Communities In Schools (Waco) – providing prevention and intervention to children in the school system to enhance educational opportunities
- New Horizons Abilene – in home and counseling services to families and children; foster care and adoption
- Chosen Child Adoption Services (Allen, TX) – Christian agency providing pregnancy counseling and support; adoption services; post-adoption services
- Serenity House of Abilene – social work services, substance abuse treatment inpatient and outpatient
- Betty Hardwick Center: Early Childhood Intervention – provide services to families with children with development delays age 0-3
- Sears Methodist – Mesa Springs Retirement and Northern Oaks Nursing & Rehab Center – gerontology and medical social work services to older and disabled adults in residence
- Abilene Independent School District – providing social work services to homeless students in the Abilene schools
- Fresenius Medical Care in New Orleans – providing social work services and support to patients undergoing dialysis and their family members
- Ben Richey Boy’s Ranch – provides social work services to the boys living at the Ranch, their family members, house parents, and to single parents and their children living in the Family Care program, including after care services.
“The nice thing about obtaining a Bachelor of Behavioral Science in Social Work is you can become a licensed professional social worker and a master’s degree is not a requirement. Some graduates decide to obtain their license, which we assist them in doing during their final semester here at HSU, and become employed in social work upon graduation,” says Milliorn.
“We have had some students hired by their field placement agency (they are in field placement or internship the final two semesters at HSU), so some students are even employed before they graduate.
“While licensure and employment holds true for many, others continue their education in pursuit of a Master of Science in Social Work degree. The benefit here is that when you graduate with your B.B.S. in Social Work at HSU, if you continue your education on a full-time basis it typically only takes three semesters to complete your M.S.W. This is because we are an accredited program through the Council on Social Work Education. This accreditation gives our graduates credit hours towards their M.S.W. We have had several students graduate in May and exactly one year later, graduate with their M.S.W. It is pretty awesome!”
Plus, Milliorn points out that there are a number of scholarship opportunities for social work students at HSU.