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MSW Gerontology and Public Policy, Latino Issues

Career interest/objectives in Social Work. I want to learn, live, write, and publish for the rest of my life in the area of gerontology and public policy from a social work perspective, with a specific research focus on Latino populations in the USA. Ten years from now I hope to run my own practice as a social work professional. I am also very interested in doing international social work, particularly in South America and Asia.

Wholeheartedly dedicated to lifelong education, I enjoy thinking that life begins at 50; now, at 49, I seek a new path and professional direction. Currently a nurse and a health coach living in North Carolina, I am happy with a wonderful family and career. Nevertheless, I want still more. I want to continue to grow as a human being and tie the loose ends in my life together in such a way as to enable my maximum personal and professional contribution to both family and community: as a professional social worker with a specialization in the area of gerontology and a research focus on Hispanic populations. My Hispanic focus is one of several reasons why I now want to live, study, and work in South Florida. As a registered nurse, I have long admired hospital social workers for their ability to help patients gain access to resources and services, assisting people achieve meaningful, forward movement in their lives.

I want to be a social worker because of the way that I have observed social workers being compassionate with those for whom they care, collaborating with patients and their families in order to facilitate resolution and healing. Early on in my role as an RN performing highly technical, crisis-oriented interventions, sometimes I questioned the extent to which what I was doing was indeed making a lasting difference in the long run to the patients and families that I was serving. Over time, however, with the benefit of hindsight, I now see clearly how I have helped to build lasting relationships for many of my clients and I have indeed empowered people to improve their lives and I want to devote everything that I have to continuing to do so for decades to come, developing in-depth connections that foster positive, proactive change in the community, improving people’s lives. It was the use of evidence based practices that led me to become a Certified Health coach here at XXXX University and I have come to greatly appreciate the way in which this process helped me to discover my passion for professional counseling, helping people maximize their human potential.

Over the course of many years to come, I plan to develop my skills in a variety of social work contexts, focusing my energies towards motivational interviewing along with cognitive and dialectical based therapies to help individuals make positive growth, enhancing their lives on multiple fronts simultaneously. I have many interests to pursue as a social worker in addition to mental illness, including hunger and poverty, and the needs of military families in particular. I am most intrigued by the great paradoxes and disparities present on a global level, part of the world with food insecurity and the other obese. I enjoy wrestling with the way in which poverty reduction and ensuring access to safe nutritious food are complex societal problems requiring major if not impossible policy overhauls. At the same time, I seek to stay full engaged at the local level, helping my community to have an impact on issues of food security and a healthy diet. For decades, I have helped to organize projects and events that advocate for and promote change for marginalized groups in our society. I am especially fond of community gardens that are cost effective and produce highly nutritious food, initiatives that support military families.

Current social problems of greatest concern, addressed or prevented. There are two areas in which I have personal experience with socially and economically disadvantaged populations.  As a young mother on public assistance in XXXX, New York, I experienced the humiliation and insecurity of poverty, including food insecurity, and substandard living conditions. Now part of a military family living in a large military community, my personal experiences help me to contribute helpful insights into the issues facing low income and military families.

As result of my internship with a mental health agency, I have extensive knowledge and practiced skills working with people who suffer from chronic mental illness. This intensive, supervised experience has equipped me with skills and experience in empathic interviewing, active listening, conducting classes and groups in psychosocial rehabilitation, person-centered and solution-focused planning, and program evaluation. Thus, I have developed an enhanced understanding of and appreciation for the daily struggles and stigmatization that the chronically mental ill experience. I particularly look forward to further exploring the additional stressors of homelessness, poverty, and living in isolated rural communities and the many ways that these factors have an impact on mental health challenges. 

When I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I plan to be instrumental in facilitating optimal health and an improved quality of life for those suffering from mental illness. 

My mother’s parents are from Colombia and Peru. She is now 80 years old and lives close by Boca Raton and XXXX University. She is another reason why I hope to begin your MSW Program next fall at XXU rather than studying in another location. My mother and I have almost always spoken English. She thinks it is both strange and funny that I am speaking to her now as much as I can in Spanish. I want to learn many things from my mother while I still have her near, many things about the needs of geriatric Latinas, how they think, and how they express themselves, especially in Spanish.

Special knowledge or experience: My inspiration for earning the MSW and launching myself into social work on a professional level as also comes from my recent volunteer experience initiating, developing, and executing our "XXXX Project," a grassroots effort to fight food insecurity in our community; and we raised 4000 USD, to benefit our soup kitchen. Our MSW courses are offered on the XXXX campus.  Students come from a broad range of backgrounds, representing a variety of undergraduate majors and universities.  The student body possesses a wealth of life experiences, an appreciation of diversity, and commitment to social and economic justice.  We are truly inspired by the enthusiasm, skills, and knowledge of our students, as well as the many sacrifices they make to pursue their dream of obtaining an MSW degree.

Experience/leadership: Different periods in my life have provided me with rich insights and understandings. Living for several years in a depressed, crime ridden and drug infested neighborhood in New York, looking back on the experience now provides me with insight into the nature of homes where large numbers of vulnerable members tend to be at risk. Currently I live in, and interact with a large military community, which gives me a unique perspective on the issues young families face on a daily basis. I continue to attend classes in motivational interviewing, cognitive and dialectical behavior therapies as well as in wellness management and recovery.  Most recently, I have facilitated psychosocial rehabilitation groups using these skills as well as incorporating creative art projects. I have become much better at recognizing ambiguity and exploring the complexity of ethical concerns, applying strategies of ethical reasoning through interaction with clients.

Working with clients who face profoundly difficult mental health challenges has helped me to grow and blossom enormously as a human being and an effective professional. I am now completely convinced that I want very much to devote the balance of my professional life to providing leadership for individuals and groups doing counseling. As a registered nurse working in a hospital, I assumed another kind a leadership role, as the “charge nurse”. The role of charge nurse requires great clinical competency, excellent communication skills, and the ability to make important decisions as needed. I was an effective charge nurse and I helped to create and maintain a positive working environment through delegation, education and conflict resolution. I also functioned as a liaison between doctors, patients, families and other staff. This job taught me to decisive, resourceful, and a change agent that always strives to be aware of the big picture. 

In addition to being a nurse, I have run my own business for the past 15 years offering professional services that promote optimal health and healing.  These include therapeutic massage, yoga instruction, and two years ago I added integrative health coaching to my professional practice. As a certified health coach, I utilize a holistic, strengths-based approach. In partnership with the client, I facilitate positive behavioral and lifestyle changes that aim to promote optimal health. The goal is to empower the client to explore options that are congruent with their personal vision and values.

Additional information I am as well traveled as I am well read and have just completed a lengthy tour of most South American countries, exploring my South American heritage and celebrating it on many levels. It is here where I hope to make my greatest contribution to the celebration of diversity in your program. I have also developed a sustained interest for many years in the areas of holistic medicine and alternative therapies. art, play, movement, yoga, yoga nidra and meditation/mindfulness in particular. In addition to the fact that my mother lives nearby, XXU has an excellent academic reputation. I am also attracted to XXU by the presence of both large geriatric and Hispanic communities with which I very much look forward to working.

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For almost two decades now, I have supported myself and my family by helping applicants to graduate school draft eloquent and highly effective admission statements for degree programs BSW, MSW, DSW; and PHD. I am convinced that I have talent in this area as a bleeding heart, myself, a militant for healing and a lifelong learner; it is the stories of social workers that most intrigue me. Working on behalf of social workers keeps my heart engaged as well as my brain. 

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With My Son Davy!