Student: Erica Berger ’10
Major: Social Work
Program: Academic Civic Engagement
Class: Community Engagement in Social Work (SWRK 381)
Project: Educational support for Cedar House staff
Please describe your project.
I worked with the CEO of Cedar House (a Day Treatment Center serving individuals with chronic and pervasive mental illness) to find which educational support would be beneficial to staff. In order to do this, I completed a staff survey and client focus group at the Northfield and Faribault Cedar House locations. The questions on each addressed items about the current training options for staff members and which topics of training would be most useful in preparation for work with clients. From the information gathered in both, I have put together a booklet of tools for future implications. Some of the items in this booklet are contact information for different organizations/individuals that provide training opportunities (NASW, NAMI, and others). I've also compiled information on licensed mental health providers in rice county. This will hopefully increase communication and skill training between agencies who are working to attain the same goal. Lastly, I've started to work on training templates, which will be a tool implemented for staff growth.
How did you have an impact? What was your greatest contribution?
This project will impact both client and staff populations. I plan to formulate tools that will allow open learning so that staff are adequately prepared in their work with clients who are multi-dimensional. If that piece succeeds, the impact will continue towards the clients and the kind of services they receive.
How did this experience change you?
This experience was one that has impacted me in that it gave me a chance to give back to Cedar House. It also was a great learning experience for me; collaborating with an agency and teaching me a lot about problem solving and being flexible in my work. I had to really be prepared and work on my communication skills, which it something that I feel will help me long term in my future with social work.