Nancy Humphreys Urges Political Activism for Social Workers

Scores of students and former students of the University of Connecticut’s School of Social Work gathered at the West Hartford Campus during the weekend to pay tribute to the venerable Nancy A. Humphreys who is retiring from her tenure as founder and director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. The occasion was the 18th Annual Campaign School held Friday and Saturday, April 4th and 5th continuing its mission to enhance the political skills of social workers.

Among her former students attending were: Pedro E. Segarra, the mayor of Hartford, and Deberey Hinchey, the mayor of Norwich. Segarra was elected the 66th mayor of Connecticut’s capital city in 2012 and Hinchey was recently elected as the first woman mayor in the city’s 350 year history. They were on hand to share how useful their social work skills are in managing their respective cities and to thank Dr. Humphreys for paving the way for their political careers.

Former Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns made the trip from Brooklyn to express his appreciation for the work Humphreys is doing to promote political activism among social workers. He encouraged participants to seek opportunities to run for elected office. Other notables included State Rep. Christopher Donovan, a graduate of UConn School of Social Work, who served as speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 2009 until 2013; Daphne L. McClellan, executive director of the Maryland Chapter of NASW; Walter Kalman, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of NASW; Joanne Cannon, director of casework for U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy (CT) and a 2006 graduate of UConn School of Social Work; and Gabriel Botero, Jr., aide to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Nancy Humphreys

Nancy Humphreys’ stellar career has focused primarily on women’s issues and promoting political activism in social work. She earned her MSW from the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work in 1963 and her DSW from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1975. A past president of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) from 1979 until 1981, Humphreys founded the institute in 1995.

She currently directs and teaches in the Policy Practice concentration at the School of Social Work. She was dean and professor at the UConn School of Social Work from 1987 until 1995 and served as director and professor at Michigan State University’s School of Social Work from 1982 until 1987. An outstanding orator, Humphreys has spoken in every state in the United States, in every major city multiple times and extensively abroad.

Her message: social workers need to be involved in all phases of the political process. She gives three reasons. One, political activity is part of the profession’s mission to be both about helping people to change and working to change society. Second, she believes social workers are uniquely trained to serve in the political arena. And third, because federal, state and local policy-making and legislation increasingly has to do with social services issues, social workers’ knowledge, experience, and understanding of the social welfare system are essential to effective policy making. The bottom line is that if social workers are not willing to participate in politics we forfeit our right to complain about the fairness of the system.

During the two-day training participants were required to develop a five-year political plan that identified a goal and the steps needed to reach that goal. Participants received training in fundraising, strategic messaging, voter contact, and the functions and activities of political committees. Participants are encouraged to be active in the political arena. Some will work on campaigns and some will work in political offices. Many will start on paths that will end in electoral politics on all levels. These are places more social workers need to be.

The good news is that the institute will continue its work as Nancy and her partner Dr. Jo Nol begin a new chapter in their lives. Humphreys says she will take her retirement cues from Mr. Towns. She plans to devote the next three years to writing about her social work experiences. She will be succeeded by Tanya Rhodes-Smith, a former intern at the NAHIPSW who acted as the interim director during Dr. Humphreys’ sabbatical during the fall of 2010. Hats off to UConn School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim for her role in keeping this important work alive.

How to Incorporate Google Places and Virtual 360 Tours to Promote Your Business

In a competitive market, small businesses are always looking for creative ways to give them an edge with consumers. Google has devised two services that businesses should immediately take advantage of in order to help drive traffic to their websites and physical locations. Any business with a physical office space can easily add their location to Google Places at no cost which also integrates with ease to other free Google services such as Google Plus Business Pages and Google Maps.

Google experts suggests that businesses registered with Google services are ranked in search results higher than unregistered businesses. For a more established business that may not have registered, Google also offers the ability for businesses to claim their Google maps listing to encourage them to register for Google Places and create a Google Plus Business Page. Once you have successfully added your business to Google, you may be interested in adding Google’s Virtual 360 Tours to help you stand out even further in search results.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview private practice therapist E. Kelly from Norwalk, Connecticut. She shares her experience in implementing a virtual tour to help engage potential clients to choose her practice, and here is our discussion.

SWH: Tell us a bit about your background and your practice? 

EK: I am a Connecticut licensed marriage and family therapist in a private practice.  I achieved a Masters Degree is in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University in Connecticut.  My undergraduate B.A. degree is from Hunter College in NYC with a concentration in biology and psychology.

As both an intern and extern, I worked within many not for profit organizations.  I learned a lot about myself during that time which fostered strong desire for independence and continuing to create my own vision of helping and healing. I had done it with my past career and was determined to do it again which led me to take a  leap of faith in creating my own private practice.

SWH: How are you using technology to market and promote your practice?

E. Kelly, LMFT Norwalk CT - Google SearchEK: In my early days of private practice, I paid money to a well known host of a commercial therapy website provider.  They were and still are the most well known. I do not regret hiring them then as their template was helpful and many clients suggested that they chose me because of the exposure and the professionalism of such site.

However, it is a monthly fee and once you are established and/or have enough notoriety in your local area, you can create your own site for less than a third of the monthly cost.  After a few years of such hosting costs, I decided to again take a risk and hire someone to  create my own unique site.

I googled a local restaurant in my area because I was never there, and I saw the restaurant had an option to see inside. I quickly learned how to take a virtual tour. I never been to the restaurant, but  I loved looking around to imagine my experience there – and, yes, It was indeed just perfect for my needs. It was then, at that very moment that it dawned on me:

If patrons of restaurants want to see where they may intimately dine…THEN why wouldn’t chance to LOOK and SEE a practice area where they are going to share an intimate story?

I thought about it for a while, and I searched more local sites to see what was happening.  I saw interior shots of dentists offices, retail shops, dog groomers, hair salons, automobile shops, etc. and, I thought WHY am I waiting to show clients my space?

Really, why not give my clients a chance to see my space too?  After all, I proudly created a space with lots of light and one that was conducive to positive thinking – so, if the GOOGLE guy could do a tour of MY space – well, maybe, just maybe – it’s the best way for potential clients to decide if they like my space tool

SWH: How difficult was implementing Google Places and the Virtual 360 Tours?

EK: Not hard at all. I search for Google certified photographers who did Virtual 360 Tours.  Buyer beware,  if they aren’t listed by Google, they are not approved. It’s that simple, and you can also use this link to find a certified Google Photographer in your city.

Prices may vary, but total cost to me was $500.  Once you purchase the shoot, you have the right to use it in any promotional material you want including your own website and/or social pages as you own the rights to all photos.

This is a service that Google offers 24 hours a day/7 days a week at no cost. No click charges, no monthly charges, no annual charges.

AND, if you want to see my tour – GOOGLE THIS “E. Kelly, LMFT Norwalk CT” and see how Virtual 360 Tours work.

E. Kelly Therapy Virtual 360 Tour

Amazing Social Workers Around the World

Everyday, social workers assist the poor, the sick, and the injured in order to assist them with accessing the services, resources, and information needed to better their own lives. In this way, every social worker in the field is doing amazing work.

However, there are several amazing social workers around the world who are doing some great work within the profession. These five particular social workers are among the many remarkable individuals who have contributed to the world at large as professional social workers. They have advocated far and wide, achieving results for entire communities while improving society and public opinion for social workers. For these reasons, I am spotlighting them as role models for social workers everywhere. Here are their stories:

Margaret Whitlam 

Margaret Whitlam, wife of the former prime minister of Australia, completed a degree in social work at the University of Sydney in 1938 and practiced as a social worker at Parramatta District Hospital while her husband served as the federal opposition leader. Even in the role of political wife, she still made the effort to visit nursing homes, advocate for social justice and reach out to her community. She was committed to speaking on behalf of underserved populations and courted controversy when she criticized others for “never contributing anything else but a smile.”  She was particularly outspoken about issues of women’s rights, including abortion.

Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty is an Indian social worker, author and literacy advocate. As a former computer scientist and engineer, she chose to pursue social work midway through her career so she could educate the underprivileged and provide better health facilities to women, especially those living in rural areas. Among her accomplishments, she has founded several orphanages, participated in rural development efforts, advocated for literacy and provided schools with computers and library facilities.

Maylie Scott 

Maylie Scott was a social worker who graduated from Harvard University in 1956 and later obtained her Master of  Social Work degree from the University of California.  According to the book The Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, “Maylie Scott described her primary teaching objective as empowering the sangha [community] by making sure she is the facilitator, not the ‘star.” As a socially engaged Buddhist and teacher, she worked in prisons and with the homeless. She was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Teresa Hsu

Teresa Hsu Chih was a Chinese-born social worker who became a known as “Singapore’s Mother Teresa.” As a retired nurse, she founded several charities for the sick and destitute. To her clients, she brought inspiration along with the food and medicine that she collected as donations from businesses, the community, religious institutions and friends.

Hsu was still actively involved in charity work even after turning 110. She credited her vegetarian diet, yoga and positive attitude towards life for her longevity, saying, “I prefer to laugh than to weep. Those people who cry to me, I always tell them it is better to laugh than to use tissue paper, as laughing is free but tissue paper still cost five cent.”

Nancy Humphreys 

Nancy Humphreys earned her Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles and has served as dean of the Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut schools of social work, and as assistant dean at Rutgers University. She was president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1979 to 1981 and also helped establish BSW and MSW programs at Yerevan State University in the Republic of Armenia. She founded and directed the Political Social Work Practice and is a lauded public speaker.

According to the National Association of Social Work Foundation, Humphreys initially earned recognition from the New Jersey, Connecticut and California NASW chapters and was the second woman to be elected national NASW president. Since then, she has served on more than 17 commissions and task forces, and was an appointee of two governors, as well as President Jimmy Carter. Through Humphreys’ work as professor and founding director of the Advancement of Political Social Work at the University of Connecticut, she has trained several hundred social workers to operate in political campaigns.

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