Community assessment builds skills for social work students

Huntington, Ind. - At Huntington University, professors strive to give their students experiences outside of the classroom. It's a way to prepare them for the "real world" with real-life projects.

Recently, the senior social work students completed a community assessment of Family Centered Services in Huntington, Ind. The project's goal was to determine the effectiveness and value of the Healthy Families program (a program of FCS) in the Huntington County community by interviewing employees and clients in the program. But it was also to give students a better understanding of social work practices such as grant writing, community development and community assessments.

"The senior social work majors experienced firsthand the role of the macro social worker in assessing the effectiveness of the services provided by Family Centered Services in response to the impact to be felt from state-mandated funding cuts," said Carla J. MacDonald, director of field education and assistant professor of social work at HU. "They experienced the opportunity of working with both clients and colleagues who provide these services in gathering the information needed to conduct this assessment. This type of experience cannot be replicated in the classroom."

This is the fifth year for this project. Past projects have included work with the Huntington County Council on Aging and the United Way of Huntington County.

The following senior social work students participated in this year's assessment:

Rebekah Brown from Converse, Ind.

Alyssa Hann from Huntington, Ind.

Alissa Pienkowski from Hampshire, Ill.

Jennifer Prater from Fort Wayne, Ind.

Nicole Ramsey from Brooklyn, Mich.