Information listed below

Welcome to the SERVE: Indigenous Social Workers for Change website!

SERVE: Indigenous Social Workers for Change (formerly the American Indian Recruitment Program) focuses on recruiting American Indian and Alaska Native students into Title IV-E Stipend Programs across California that support degree bound social work students interested public child welfare. Regional SERVE Project Coordinators assist with capacity and relationship building with tribal entities, organizations, and 20 Schools of Social Work in Northern, Central, and Southern California (see SERVE Fact Sheet below for regional map and interactive links to participating Schools of Social Work).

Funded by the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), the SERVE Project works with students, Tribes, tribal organizations, middle and high schools, community colleges and universities to recruit and support American Indian and Alaska Natives interested in giving back to their communities as social workers. Eligible students can receive financial support for BASW and MSW Programs with an emphasis on working with children and families. The SERVE project seeks to develop and expand Tribal partnerships with a goal to advance child welfare efforts that are representative of each regions’ Tribes and their cultural/traditional values. The ultimate goal of SERVE is to improve the health and lives of Native people in California, and throughout the United States.


SERVE is committed to full equity, justice, well-being, and cultural preservation of American Indian/Alaska Native children and families by:

  • Increasing the numbers of Indigenous social work graduates;
  • Fostering inclusive leadership development;
  • Developing partnerships between Tribal sovereign nations, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders; and
  • Implementing decolonizing social work curricula to reflect community-based, culturally appropriate Indigenous values and the promotion of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.


SERVE envisions Tribal sovereign nations and Indigenous communities as sustainable healthy communities that use healing interventions to provide empowerment, mentorship, and leadership development; to promote cultural preservation and appreciation of Indigenous cultures by recognizing and supporting Tribal sovereignty, and protecting cultural rights and identity of Indigenous peoples.

History and Program Model

SERVE was initiated in 1981 at UC Berkeley through the American Indian/Alaskan Native Program in Social Welfare. In 1999, the program was adopted by CalSWEC and grew into a statewide effort that operated from California State University, Stanislaus, where it helped to form collaborative working relationships with 67 of 110 California Tribal agencies.

In summer 2011, SERVE was expanded and restructured in an effort to strategically increase statewide outreach and development efforts. It now operates from three distinct locations for the state’s Northern, Central and Southern regions.

Contact Us

SDSU Social Work

Hepner Hall room 119
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-4119