By S. Jolene Hui, MSW, LCSW, Membership Director
Cklara Moradian’s passion for social work is apparent when you meet her. She is open about the work she wants to do in her community and making it a better place. An active member in the San Fernando Valley Unit of Region G, and a MSW candidate at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Moradian recently started her second year in the program and is well on her way to becoming a great leader.
Although she’s only been in the field of social services since 2016 (when she began working at an Adult Day Health Care Center (ADHC/CBAS)), she already had years of experience in the social justice realm. Prior to entering this world, she studied legal studies, worked in the nonprofit world, and spent time as a community activist/organizer.
Moradian was recently accepted into the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) program as a long-term trainee (https://www.chla.org/adolescent-and-young-adult-medicine). She will be completing this training alongside her second-year placement with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (and while remaining employed at the Adult Day Health Care Center).
Her first-year placement was at the CSUN Klotz Student Health Center. There she worked in both micro and macro capacities doing reproductive health counseling and such with students while also building partnerships across campus to improve access to sexual health services.
About her first-year placement, Moradian says, “This was very different from my work with the elderly, but it was just as rewarding. I think most people who are not familiar with our field have a narrow conception of what we do. I have met social workers who are doing research, policy work, community outreach, therapy and teaching (just to name a few). I have met social workers who are at the forefront of anti-oppressive movements, centering the voices and narratives of multiply marginalized people, and working on liberation model healing. That’s been thrilling to witness.”
When asked about her achievements, she expresses that not all great achievements are in the professional realm, as she counts her personal journey as her greatest. As a refugee, who has suffered the aftermath of trauma, displacement and intergenerational pain, Moradian says that her greatest achievement so far is, “…finding a way to turn my story of struggle to one of continuous growth and healing. In that journey, I have found love and belonging with others who have similarly struggled. It takes a kind of magic and emotional alchemy to be able to turn deep-seated wounds into meaning. It is a continuous arduous process. Finding meaning, continuing to be on a path of recovery and discovery, and learning to recognize my own power and then being able to turn that into a life purpose, that’s what I am most proud of.”
Upon her acceptance to CSUN’s program, she signed up as a member for NASW, where she has gotten involved, and has found mentors and support for her social work career.
“It’s amazing how welcoming and warm everyone has been,” she says. “Being part of this large network of like-minded people helps me feel like I have a community to turn to no matter where I am in the US.”
She attended the most recent NASW-CA conference in June and would love to become a leader in the future.
“So, while I am a social worker in the making, and very new to the profession, I believe in my heart and in my identity, I have carried the social work values with me for most of my life. The two that really stand are social justice and the Importance and centrality of human relationships, which have been integral to who I am as a person.”
Her short-term career goals include utilizing a trauma-informed care approach in her clinical practice in community mental health. She wants to always keep the needs of marginalized populations as her focus and in the future she’d like to engage in policy and work in the field.
“I want to make sure I challenge my fellow social workers to be change agents rather than agents of control, and by that, I mean it’s important to work on systemic change and push back on policies and practices that are further oppressing people. It’s important to remove the systemic barriers to care rather than just reforming existing services,” she says.
Moradian has a promising and busy career head of her.
“In my career so far, I have had to build important one on one relationships while simultaneously building larger coalitions towards common communal goals. Building, fostering, and nurturing relationships is what I enjoy most about being a social worker.”
Jolene Hui, LCSW, is NASW-CA’s membership director and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.