Apr
24

The Role of Faith in Healing and Health
Apr
24

Congregations and Health: Research Directions
Apr
24

Chasing the American Dream
May
09

Graduation

Kirk A. Foster decided he needed the tools of a social worker when, as a young minister, he felt his skills were inadequate to help parishioners who were losing jobs and struggling against poverty.

His ability to use tools―from mapping neighborhood boundaries by non-traditional means to analyzing social networks―helped him earn his doctoral degree in social work in 2011 from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and join the USC College of Social Work as an assistant professor in August 2011.

Now some of his research is contained in a book to be published next spring called Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes. Its other authors are social scientists Mark Robert Rank, a professor of social welfare at Washington University, and Thomas A. Hirschl, a professor of development sociology at Cornell University.

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Dr. Arlene Andrews started her career in social work helping women abused by men. But the last part of her career has been devoted to helping men become better supporters of families.

Men sometimes fail to support their children because they’ve failed to support themselves—spiritually and materially, Andrews said.

“A social worker’s goal is justice, particularly restorative justice, to try to find a win-win situation where everyone gains,” she said. “Our goal is to create strong, healthy families. In order to do that, you have to work with every member of the family.”

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CommunitiesGrowing change in our communities

If there’s one thing that Mr. Willie King is passionate about, it’s his garden. “If I could, I’d be out there 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said. “Sometimes during the day, that’s all I think about—what can I do to make it better? How can I pull more people in?”

As the Lyon Street Community Garden Manager and now the Lyon Street Community Vice President, Mr. King will be the first to say that the garden isn’t his—it’s the community’s. And all he wants to see, besides a great crop, is more community involvement.

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