CROWN HEIGHTS — Two students from the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program at Medgar Evers College are interning at a community center in eastern Brooklyn this school year as part of a multidisciplinary effort to increase student involvement in social justice initiatives.
That effort, called the Community Justice Program, combines aspects of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s re-entry and diversion initiatives with programs offered by the college itself.
This semester, seniors Nicole Franklin and Peta-ann Bigby are continuing the work they began last fall assisting students in Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes’ Back on Track program at the CPCA Community Enrichment Center in Brownsville.
Nicole and Peta-ann work with Field Instructor Joann Robinson, a licensed social worker with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, to facilitate mental health counseling sessions that offer conflict resolution skills, methods on building self-esteem, proper ways to argue a point, and giving support to families of alcoholics and those affected by gang violence.
“At the Back on Track site, I have the opportunity to bring my education to the field and use it in a practical way,” Bigby said. “Working alongside the program director, who is also a social worker, I get to use what I have learned in the classroom to improve students’ lives.”
“The learning experience at Back on Track has been very enlightening and has reinforced my commitment to pursuing a career in social work,” Franklin said. “I want to particularly thank my field instructor for helping me to connect theory learned in the classroom to practical applications.”
“We are preparing the next generation of social workers at a time when there are so many challenges — high unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse, to name a few,” said Dr. Eda Harris-Hastick, director of the BSSW program. “We are so delighted to have this partnership that offers us opportunities to lend our expertise.”