Partnering with People

Lissa (Shipman) Miller still remembers what it was like to be a high school student — sometimes confused, not sure about the next steps in life, and wanting to use her Godly gifts to better her community. When she got to college, the question of what Lissa wanted to study was easily answered: she wanted to be a social worker.

After earning her Bachelor's in Social Work from Huntington University, Lissa chose to continue her education and went to graduate school to earn her MSW (Master's in Social Work). 

Now she’s the prevention coordinator for Hope Online, a blended-learning model charter school with more than 30 learning centers across her home state of Colorado. She works daily with both students and administrators to prevent substance abuse and provide coaching to improve the classroom environment for at-risk students.

“I am a people person, so I love that I get to work with students and their families,” Lissa said. “It’s a different job. As much as I love working in crisis situations and helping people through the tough stuff, I also really get excited about working with administration to be more successful in prevention and in classroom management.”

Lissa credits some of that excitement and passion to the methods used by the Huntington University social work faculty.

“My education was vital to me” she said. “I learned I could own my self awareness and work and values, but I can’t transfer that to my clients. Social work has taught me that what may be right for you is not necessary right for another person. It’s not about transferring your beliefs to other people, it’s about coming alongside them in their journey and providing accountability to help them get where they are going.”

Outside of social work, Lissa also recognizes that her occupation is so much more than work — it is a fulfillment of her faith. Though she witnesses heartbreaking situations with young children and teenagers every day, she relies on God to be in control and strengthen her enough that she can carry on to do her work.

“Someone once told me: How does a good Christian shoemaker make shoes? He doesn't put crosses on them — he makes really good shoes. That’s what I think true integration of faith is… I don’t have to preach to every client I have, but I really need to be good at my job in order to act on my faith.”