Name: Steven Garcia
Grade Level: MSW student
Organization Involvement: M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Atzlan), NLRC (National Latino Research Center)
Graduation Year: 2016
Why did you choose to pursue a career in social work?
Throughout my educational career I have hit multiple barriers varying from gang involvement, racial profiling, and falling victim to the school to prison pipe line. My high school years were some of the most detrimental in pursuing higher education, being that many of the classes I was put in did not capture my attention and did not count toward graduation or college. I was placed in E.L.D classes (English Language Development) up until sophomore year despite the fact that I had been fluent in English since the second grade. Slowly but surely my interest for school started to plummet and my grades followed. By the end of my sophomore year I had Fs in all my classes. It was not until a future social worker and my future fiancé took a serious interest in me and my education that I began to deviate from the subculture of gangs. She helped me develop skills necessary to succeed in higher education. She saw something in me that I had forgotten existed. I had created a self fulfilling prophecy many had given me of entering into the criminal justice system and not higher education. Having this wonderful person developed the key of allowing me to have the choice of entering into higher education helped me deviate from my impending future of either ending up dead, in jail, or in the hospital. My fiancé help has given me the drive to help other “At promise” youth discover their full potentials and hopefully give them that option of entering into higher education. Social work in its self has given me hope in working with oppressed youth and families and give them a glimpse into a future that may have seen mythical at a time.
What made you apply to the School of Social Work at SDSU?
My goal since having perused a career in social work has been to return to my community of Escondido California. SDSU’s School of Social Work, has allowed me to return to my old middle school and work with kids who are experiencing similar situations I experienced having gone through the education system myself. I applied to the SDSU due to their reputation of being one of the top Schools of Social Work in the CSU systems and their interest of recruiting a wide diversity of students with different cultural and economic back grounds, in the program.
Describe your most memorable experience in the School of Social Work.
My most memorable moment in the School of Social Work was entering into the MSW orientation and finding that I had a support group of other MSW students and Staff who are involved with the program Title IV-E. Prior to entering I had a fear of not belonging and being kicked out of the program. This students and staff have supported me in the realm of self-care, emotional well being, and study groups.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be working hopefully in North Inland in Escondido CA Child Welfare office. During my time there I hope to obtain my LCSW. My ultimate goal would be to return to the Escondido High School District as an on cite social worker or a district level social worker. On my very end goal, I hope to open a teen center with my fiancé to provide the youth a safe place to interact without the constant harassment of police enforcement and the influence of the subculture of gangs.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the program?
Some of my aspect of the program that I have enjoyed thus far is their ability to teach multiple areas of teachings varying from theory, to Evidence based practice, to direct practice, and Macro practice. It has given a great amount of tools to work with underprivileged communities on a micro level and the tools to develop programs needed on a Macro level.
Describe why you would recommend SDSU to potential students.
I would recommend SDSU to potential students because one finds a support system of faculty students and staff whose main goal is to work with communities from the realm of social justice. As mentioned before, everyone looks out for each other’s well being and work towards everyone’s success. SDSU has created a culture of collectivism and has deviated from the dominant US ideology of individualism.
Where is current internship? And describe what a usual day is like at your internship.
My placement is currently at Escondido Union School District’s TIME program. My days typically require me to drive to multiple schools working with students who have become chronically truant. During my time at the district my days can include Conducting monitoring of attendance through the use of Powerschool, act as a link between school administrators, parents, and outside agencies for the social welfare of the students, provided one on one case management with students dealing with addressing attendance barriers, conducted home visits for parents who could not make it to the schools for meetings or were unsuccessful to be reached through other means, attended SARB hearing for students who have reached a tier three level of risk.
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