UVF Professors and Students at National Social Work Convention

by Office of Marketing | Dec 09, 2014
The University of Valley Forge (UVF) Department of Behavioral Sciences Chair, Debra Brown, D.Min., and assistant professor and Director of Field Placement, Karin McCadam, had the opportunity to speak at the 64th North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) annual convention. This year, the convention was held in Annapolis, Md. from Nov. 6–9. The theme of the convention was “Harbor in the Storm: Beacons of Hope During Challenging Times.” The convention is for Christian professionals and students in the social work field to share with and learn from one another. 
Brown and McCadam co-presented a workshop during the convention titled, “Defining Moments in Social Work: Learning in the Midst of the Storm.” The idea of the workshop was to speak about the reality of being emotionally, physically and spiritually tired in a demanding field such as social work. Originally, McCadam crafted the idea and asked Brown to present with her. “Due to my many years of clinical practice and counseling professionals who faced their own personal crisis while trying to help others, the Lord laid it on my heart to develop a training workshop,” McCadam said.
Both McCadam and Brown had gone through personal trials while working as professional social workers and therefore, were able to work together to successfully minister to others. “It is important to recognize as helpers that if you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of other people,” Brown said. Regarding the workshop experience, she went on to say, “It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage, empower and equip other professionals and students about how to take care of themselves in the midst of their storms and crises.”  
Eleven UVF social work students traveled to the NACSW convention with Brown and McCadam. Nine students were from the Phoenixville campus, and two were from the Virginia campus. Adjunct faculty member, Colonel Stanley Remer, subsidized the trip for the students to participate in this valuable opportunity. The students attended various workshops related to their specific field of interest. Senior Shannon Wittlinger shared, “The NACSW workshops integrate faith along with professional skill development to provide clear, well-educated studies for those who attend.” The workshop helped students realize that what they discuss in the classroom relates to issues happening outside of the classroom. 
Another student, senior Tierney Malone, shared that her experience at the convention will be a defining moment in her time at UVF. Malone had the opportunity to meet her future graduate professors who attended the convention. “The experience allowed me to broaden my perspective of Christians in the field of social work,” she said. “I came back from the convention with a desire to see some of the workshop topics discussed on campus.” The students also served at the convention by introducing speakers and helping with administrative duties.