As March comes to an end and we celebrate both Women’s History Month and National Social Work Month, WJCS is proud to spotlight three exceptional women.
Mishelin Pichardo, First ACS Graduate
When Mishelin Pichardo unexpectedly became a teen mom, her life’s ambitions came to a grinding halt. But after her children reached school-age, this single mom dramatically turned her life around with the help of WJCS – moving from a client of one program to a current full-fledged staff member at the agency. The key to her success was her own ambition and the WJCS Academic and Career Support (ACS) program at the Mary J. Blige Center, which helps women earn their high school equivalency (TASC) diploma. She enrolled there, studied hard and passed the test with high marks. She impressed the center’s staff so much that she was offered a position in the Infant-Toddler Learning Center as a part-time bilingual family support specialist. Then she came full circle by landing another part-time position with the ACS program as a case manager, where she is inspiring and helping students break barriers to their successful completion of the TASC program. Mishelin also has set her sights on achieving even more: she is attending SUNY Westchester Community College with the goal of becoming a social worker.
Hear Mishelin discuss how WJCS program staff motivated and supported her.
Beth Thompson, Social Worker of the Year
Social workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people experiencing devastating illnesses and mental illness, people with disabilities, children, families and older adults. We are proud of the nearly 100 WJCS social workers who help our neighbors address challenges with particular attention to people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty. And we are particularly proud of WJCS’ very own Beth Thompson, LCSW, who was honored as social worker of the year at the National Association of Social Workers/Westchester Division Dinner on March 30. Read here about Beth’s work as director of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation’s Margaret’s Place program, a school-based violence prevention and intervention program administered by WJCS and her work in recognizing and addressing racism and as a skilled trainer in trauma and clinical interventions.
Shirley Shwiel, Julian Bernstein Award Winner
Congratulations to WJCS Board Secretary and avid volunteer Shirley Shwiel, recipient of the Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award from the Westchester Jewish Council! Through her service as co-chair of the WJCS Volunteer Services Committee, to her work in educating and engaging her fellow board members in the myriad services offered by WJCS, to the breadth and depth of her involvement in WJCS programs for teens, people with disabilities and so many more, WJCS has been the beneficiary of Shirley’s hard work, intellect and passion for many years.