Friday, July 16, 2010

The Globalization of SW Education: Field Placement in Ethiopa

Raesa Kaiteris, our Associate Dean of Field Work, writes:

Through our collaborative arrangement with a Canadian agency, Christian Horizons Global, we created a nine month field work internship for one of our Block students, Maurice Koetsier, in Assela, Ethiopia.

While WSSW's commitment to faculty advisement in the field--unique among the New York City schools of social work--had resulted in visits to placements all over theU.S., Canada, Paris, and Israel, this was the first time we had "placed" a student in Africa!

As his faculty advisor, I had the opportunity to visit with him for a week in February of 2010. It gave me an opportunity to become acquainted with the people of Assela as well as the remarkable work of several NGOs dedicated to improving their living conditions. They faced problems such as poverty, drought, sub-standard housing and limited access to education.

Needless to say, Maurice made remarkable strides in his practice skills as well as his self-awareness. Cultural sensitivity was no classroom exercise in this part of the world. He was obliged to develop programs that were relevant to the local community and sustainable after he departed; it was also imperative that he deeply understood the distinction between “doing with” and “doing for.”

I hope Maurice's experience in Africa inspires other Block students to push the boundaries of traditional social work education. As our problems in the 21st century become more global, social work services must achieve a “global identity” in order to remain relevant and vital.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rachel's Kippots

In a previous post we talked about WSSW students who had started their own websites. Faith Herring, a second year student who participated in our New Orleans Seminar, brought this lovely and unusual web site to our attention.

Kippot by Rachel

Rachel is Rachel Hindel, a second year student in the block program. On her web-site you can order kippot, often called yarmulke, the skull cap traditionally worn at all times by observant Jewish men. Rachel hand crochets these to order, in a variety of patterns and beautiful colored yarns.

I asked Rachel how she had come to start her business, and this is her response:
My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was young, but it wasn't until I moved to Israel for my gap year that I learned how to make kippot. We were sitting on Kibbutz and I thought it would be great idea to make kippot for my friends. It was only 6 years later that I thought about selling my work. It takes about 7-10 hours to make a kippah and I now I can share my creativity and hard work with everyone.

I will be entering my third summer in the block program at WSSW. I knew I wanted to be in a welcoming and positive learning environment and because I am such a hands on person I chose the block program to be able to truly experience working in the field. I love social work because it allows me to help others. I know everyone feels some form of satisfaction when people are appreciative of their help and efforts, which is also why I love to make kippot. I hope you enjoy looking through my website!

Rachel Hindel

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dr. Gary Stein Gives Paper at Palliatrive Care Con, Unveils New WSSW Elective

Palliative care–-providing support to clients and families facing life-limiting and chronic illness--is one of the fastest growing new specialties for social workers, particularly in hospitals and hospices. To advance practice, research, education, and policy in this field, the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network sponsored a one-day pre-conference on March 3, 2010 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in Boston.

Gary L. Stein, JD, MSW, associate professor at WSSW, directed the program with Grace Christ, a professor from the Columbia University School of Social Work.

The conference program included national social work leaders from academia and hospital-based practices. Panels addressed cutting-edge research and innovative practices. Dr. Stein presented a paper on the evolution of palliative care training in MSW and interprofessional education. He discussed a model palliative care course elective he is developing for WSSW’s new Gerontology Certificate Program. Interested students can contact Dr. Stein at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WSSW Students: What's on Their Minds?

One of the things I love about teaching at WSSW is the diversity of our students: not just that they are black or white, Latino or Chinese, Chasid or Catholic, but also the variety of interests and attitudes. Here are a blog and a website written and maintained by WSSW students that couldn't be more different.

The first, "by Aaron Steinberg" discusses some serious matters in contemporary Judaism such as the Torah's views on homosexuality, reflections on last years General Assembly and reflections on leadership inspired by the Purim story.

The second, a website written and maintained by Rachel Kristol, is devoted to happy news about animals (no sad news, please!). Links provide access to articles about speed dating for bunny rabbits, a dog that was recovered 600 miles from home, and sweaters for chickens! A more serious theme runs beneath the funny stuff: that pets are an effective way of reducing stress in human beings, as well as a source of comfort and companionship.

If you've heard about other blogs and websites by WSSW students, let me know and I'll feature them here on "What's New."



Friday, March 5, 2010

Still More About The New Orleans Trip

Late breaking news! Marc T. Raco was awarded the prestigious Bronze "Telly Award" for his creative editing of the video of our January 2010 student service project!

Marc T. Raco, office manager, tech guy and part time video editor, made a superb montage out of the video footage Dr. Fast shot during the New Orleans Seminar: Katrina: Five Years Later. The footage was originally assembled as an introduction for a Lunch and Learn that was presented on February 17th. Now, through the magic of YouTube, we can share it with the world:

See a slide show of the trip here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More on New orleans Seminar

Like we promised, more about the trip to New Orleans, and more photos.

Lunch and Learn on Feb 17, 1:00, rm 921, all students invited!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prof. Susan Bendor Speaks on Behalf of Hungarian Child Survivors of the Holocaust

Wurzweiler Professor Susan Bendor has had a busy winter!

At the end of October she led two workshops at the 21st Annual International Conference of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust in Boston, one exploring the challenges and coping styles of the oldest group of child survivors, born before 1932; the other focused on resilience and other legacies child survivors considered passing on to their children and society at large.

On September 9th she was one of three Hungarian Child Survivors who were invited to appear on a Boston-Newton Public Access TV Program called “On the Sunnier Side of the Street," hosted by Dr. Todd Gross. Gross features guests who have overcome tremendous odds and are able to turn traumas into victories.

The invitation to this TV program was the result of a book, Remember Us: A Collection of Memories from Hungarian Hidden Children of the Holocaust to which she contributed three chapters.

Dr. Bendor speaks frequently in person and on television and radio "to highlight the enormous difference one or more courageous, decent individuals can make in the lives of the oppressed, and conversely, the high cost of indifference to genocide and injustice, now or in the past."

Rev. Jerry Streets Interviewed on NY1

NY1 recently aired a program about how members of the Haitian Community in Brooklyn and Queens were dealing with their grief over the Earthquake in their homeland of Haiti. Brookdale Family Care Center, and the mental health clinics at Brookdale and Jamaica hospitals have been reaching out to New York's Haitian communities to provide grief counseling.

Among those interviewed is the Rev. Jerry Streets, PhD, a professor at Wurzweiler and an authority on helping people cope with loss

Click here to watch, "Grief Counselors Reach out to Haitian Community"(Rev. Streets' appears at about 1 min, 30 secs into the video.)

WSSW Students Visit New Orleans

During winter break, a group of WSSW students from all three methods (case work, group work, and community organization) visited New Orleans with professors Saul Andron and Jonathan Fast. While there they met with community leaders and agency directors to better understand how residents of the city coped with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They spent two days remediating mold in a house that was being restored by the St. Bernard's Project. More about the trip to New orleans in future posts, but for now enjoy a slide-show of some of the pictures the group members took.