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McCadam to Present Lecture at Social Work Convention

by Office of Marketing | July 30, 2014
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Karin McCadam, an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and director of field placement for VFCC's nationally accredited social work program, knows that if you want to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Over the past few years, she has learned that crises are inevitable, and in the depth of her own difficult circumstances, she was confronted by an unavoidable question: “How do Christian social workers cope?” 
 
This November, McCadam hopes to encourage fellow social workers to cope by seeking support and learning to grow in their personal challenges. As a featured speaker, she will present a lecture titled “Defining Moments in Social Work: Learning in the Midst of the Storm” in Annapolis, Md., at the Annual Convention of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW). Dr. Debra Brown, director of the behavioral sciences department and the social work program, will co-present with McCadam. The conference, which will bring together members from all over the United States and Canada, is themed “Harbor in the Storm” and will focus on maintaining hope when life gets tough (Psalm 107:28–30).

“Social workers are prepared to help people in crisis,” said McCadam. “That’s what we do! … We’re always looking to help people, whether it’s with personal challenges or social injustice.” She continued, “But just as it’s difficult for people who are in ministry leadership to seek counseling, it can also be difficult for social workers to seek help.”
 
McCadam looks forward to helping NACSW fulfill its mission, “to equip its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice,” by teaching her peers how to grow during life challenges. She wants them to know that Galatians 6:2 and 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 apply to their professional lives, that they should “carry each other’s burdens” and realize God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
 
“When we work through the challenges we have on a personal level,” said McCadam, “we experience that comfort. We know how freeing that is, how safe that feels — and that’s what we as social workers want our clients to experience.” In fact, she says that this is the exact reason why she started pursuing the profession.
 
A number of VFCC social work students will accompany McCadam to the convention as event volunteers. She believes that it is vital for them to learn how to successfully overcome their challenges. “They need to build a foundation for how to face personal challenges while they are still in school, because if not, they will have to learn it on the job.” Because they are gifted and called to the profession, McCadam is eager to prepare them for many aspects of social work so that they might be more effective in their ministry.