San Luis Obispo Unit Report

By L. Jeannette Davis, DSW
Secretary, SLO Unit

March is Social Work Month and the SLO unit is celebrating with dinner and drinks on Thursday, March 23.

The theme for 2017 is “Social Workers Stand Up” and is focused on educating the public about the contributions of social workers and why the professional title of social worker is so important.

The unit’s honoree, Bill Ernst, LCSW, the 2017 SLO Social Worker of the Year epitomizes this theme. Bill began his social work career in June 1960 when, at the age of 21, he left the seminary where he had spent eight years studying to become a priest. This career change resulted in his being drafted into the U.S. Army, trained in chemical warfare, and landing him at Dugway Proving Grounds in western Utah.

Because of an arrangement with the University of Utah, soldiers could attend classes with tuition paid by the Army, which Bill did. His interest in psychology led him to a BA in psychology in 1965, but it was his attraction to social work that led him to work for the LA County Bureau of Public Assistance.

Shortly thereafter, he enrolled in the newly formed Fresno State University, School of Social Work, graduating in 1968. Bill joined NASW while in school, attained his ACSW and, in 1971, his LCSW.

For 35 years (before retiring in 2001), Bill worked at Atascadero State Hospital where his job focused on interacting with and rehabilitating adult males. Additional professional issues for him centered in child welfare. He is proud of the strides that NASW has made over the years in protecting the lives and futures of children. Because of its organizational structure and its size as a collective of social workers, NASW gives a voice to the holistic approach to helping people whether in inpatient or community centered social services.

In other unit news, our ice cream social on February 23 was a smashing success and the brainstorming very productive. Special thanks to Marv Gross for his creative and effective leadership at this meeting. Subjects covered included: setting up case consultations for ASW members; creating a political action subcommittee; helping with LCSW preparations; having 2.2 hour CEUs per year; snapshots [10 minute presentations] of local social work jobs/agencies at meetings or taking a full meeting to discuss them in depth; have occasional potlucks; and participate in local community action events as an identified group.

The Political Action Subcommittee was created at the meeting with Marv Gross as chair. The other great ideas will be explored further by the Steering Committee.

KC Chaffee and Michael Teubner were voted in as co-chairs for the SLO unit beginning in April. Sara Zepeda, who has been the chair since 2015, has been a wonderful, well-organized leader who has a new job and new baby on the way, which will take all her time. Our loss but their gain! Jeanne Auerbach volunteered to be the SLO Membership Coordinator. Congratulations!

At the SLO unit’s January meeting, Rachel McSpadden Tarver presented “An Introduction to Play Therapy,” which was an interesting, delightful, playful exploration of Play Therapy. It was apparent during this one hour CEU that play therapists need a well-stocked room of toys and materials, specialized training, and in-depth knowledge of the therapeutic model one is using.

Save these Dates!
Thursday, April 27: CEU event
Thursday, May 13:  Miracle Miles for Kids
Thursday, June 22:  CEU event

SLO Social Worker Spotlights
Recent Spotlights are:

September 2016: Megan Jenkins, LCSW

October 2016: Stephen Sisk-Provencio, LCSW

January 2017: Shirley Summers, LCSW

February 2017: Kristi Smith, LCSW. or visit “Like Us on Facebook: NASW San Luis Obispo County”


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