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Widener Center for Social Work Education’s clinic receives $660,000 grant

Social Work, Widener University

Crystal Reed, left, and Madgean Barosy, right, are the first two student interns under the Health Resources and Services Administration grant.

The Clinical Services for Vulnerable Adults clinic in Widener University's Center for Social Work Education was awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Over four years, the clinic will receive a total of $660,000 through the HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant to fund 10 social work student intern positions each year, as well as other needs in the clinic.

"We are a trauma-based clinic, and our goal is to work with people who have intellectual disabilities, people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, as well as their families, friends and caregivers in an attempt to build a healthy support system for vulnerable adults," said Dr. Beth Barol, an associate dean in the Center for Social Work Education.

Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS) in the Center for Social Work Education was created in 2000 as a university and community partnership dedicated to improving the quality of life for Chester residents. In 2013, the Clinical Services for Vulnerable Adults was created under the SWCS umbrella to increase the number of social workers serving people with intellectual disabilities. Today, the clinic provides services both on campus and in the field at Salvation Army, Stinson Towers and other locations.

Barol said the grant money will allow the Clinical Services for Vulnerable Adults clinic (CSVA) to assist more individuals in the Chester community, as well as expand the number of student interns who will get a hands-on clinical experience under the supervision of trained faculty. The grant will fund a system in which interns will receive training and then be able to help mentor new interns in the coming semesters.

"This grant is really around workforce development," said Shanna Williams, director of CSVA. "We want students to leave the university excited to do this work. We want them to be dedicated to vulnerable and oppressed populations, and under our supervision, we want them to develop a compassion and love for the work they do."

The first two student interns have already begun seeing clients and are excited about the additional resources that will come with the grant funding. Madgean Barosy, an online Masters in Social Work student, said she is grateful for the assistance and hopes to give back to the community.

"I've always had hardships in life, but what helped me were people who I felt were unofficial social workers in my life," she said. "Having that kind of experience with people really makes you want to give back and put yourself in a position where you can provide for others in the way they provided for you."

Crystal Reed, a dual degree Masters in Social Work and Human Sexuality Education student, said she is most excited to see how the clinic will evolve with the help of the additional funding. She feels fortunate to be a part of clinic's beginning stages and to witness its process. She believes this is a one-of-a-kind experience where interns will simultaneously gain clinical and program development skills.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website, http://www.widener.edu/