By Symposium Program Committee Co-Chairs:
Sherry M. Cohen, LICSW, Private Practice
Mary M. Ward, LCSW, Supervisor at the MA Department of Children and Families
With contributions by:
Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, LICSW
Joe Pare, LICSW
Cathy Pare, LICSW
THANK YOU: Sponsors, Exhibitors, Advertisers & Supporters
NASW-MA’s 12th biennial social work Symposium educational event was held March 29-30, 2012 at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center. And it was an inspirational experience. There were over 800 social workers, mental health clinicians and allies from all parts of Massachusetts, over 100 workshops to choose from, and up to 15.5 CE’s to be earned. Positive energy surged the Conference Center. The variety of topics offered an exciting choice of high quality learning experiences. Exhibitors, sponsors, advertisers, and the ever popular bookseller helped make Symposium 2012 a success.
Rich information and camaraderie filled both days. A program committee member, who has attended many NASW Symposiums, said he valued the time to pause, get away from the daily chaos and isolation that can occur in the field, to relax and re-focus on why he came into this field in the first place. Another attendee stated that Symposium was a great way for her to connect with the broad social work community, and learn and exchange innovative thoughts and ideas. (Article continued below)
The compelling opening keynote of speaker Nancy Boyd-Franklin, PhD "Keeping Hope Alive—Sustaining Ourselves and Our Clients” and her moving mantra, "the hope is in the struggle,” inspired us. Enthusiasm pulsated around the Grand Ballroom when participant experiences were shared.
A unique opportunity this year was a two hour Friday morning session, "Two Approaches to Social Welfare Policy: Norway and the United States” led by Visiting Scholar at Wheelock College, Anne K. Grumsrud, MPA, AFF, Co-founder, National Program to Improve Quality in Public Services in Norway. High compliments were paid to the presenters. Session participant Helene Kress commented: "The workshop this morning was probably the richest, most relevant, most exciting workshop I have ever attended (and I have attended a few). The panelists were all stars…each and every one.”
The Friday luncheon offered a time to network with friends and colleagues, as well as hear the luncheon keynote "Creating a Culture of Safety, A Journey of Hard Work, Accomplishments and Continued Challenges” presented by Earl N. "Skip” Stuck, MA. His presentation relayed a message to be proactive and pay attention to safety on the job. He highlighted this message with a somber story of the death of a co-worker that touched him both professionally and personally, an experience that reinforced a quest to encourage others to focus on safety for social workers.
There was a remarkable Thursday evening workshop, which included a documentary viewing and discussion, led by Sarah Entine, MSW, the award winning director and producer of the documentary based on her own multi-generational family experience with ADHD and dyslexia, "Read Me Differently: Understanding Learning Disabilities in Family Life.”
A quick peek at the evaluations indicated exceptionally positive ratings. Many commented that some of the workshops were "the best I’ve attended in 30 years.” That is an amazing compliment and accomplishment for all who worked hard to make this event such a valuable experience. One program committee member was struck by the diverse experiences and true dedication of each of the presenters she heard, saying that social work represents a great profession of healers, and proving altruism continues in challenging times.
The Program Committee of Symposium 2012 worked diligently from November 2010 until February 2012 to ensure well-rounded offerings. Juried proposals, invitationals and intensives were reviewed and discussed carefully and meticulously in order to create a high quality program. Efforts continue to capture a comprehensive snapshot of the ever-expanding knowledge base, techniques and technology in the world of social work.
More to come in 2014!
Program Committee Members
Sherry M. Cohen, Co-Chair
Mary M. Ward, Co-Chair
Lisa L. Moore
Fundraising and Marketing Committee Members
Special thanks to the many volunteers who worked hard before, during and after this event to make it such a success! Thanks also to NASW-MA Board of Directors, social work and administration staff as well as production design staff, and Carol J. Trust, LICSW, Executive Director.
Finally, we want to give our special thanks to Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, LICSW, former Director of Continuing Education and Clinical Issues at the Chapter Office. Kristina’s tireless efforts in coordinating and implementing the Symposium were invaluable and incredible in making Symposium an enjoyable experience for all who attended.