Working To Empower Youth

Lisa Potter MSW, Mara Ziegler MSW, Kayo Johnson, Raymond Fong MSW/CSW III, John Kim, Estela Magana MSW, Tania Madrid MSW, Christina Pon

Interviews from our Social Worker Community Conversation

"Our role is to go into the home and help stabilize some of the mental health needs that maybe are not blatant. There are a variety of roles we play. We actually do provide 24 hour crisis care. " - Estela Magana

Every year in March, National Social Work Month is celebrated to honor all those who work to empower youth. In this compilation piece celebrating National Social Work Month, hear from many professionals in their field including:

  • John Kim, Counselor and Therapy Provider, MFT Intern
  • Mara Ziegler MSW, Senior Social Worker, Professor of Social Work
  • Kayo Johnson, Transitional Development Specialist, ITSP
  • Estela Magana MSW, Outpatient Bilingual Wraparound Therapist
  • Tania Madrid MSW, Associate Social Worker, Therapist
  • Lisa Potter MSW, Emergency Response Children’s Social Worker
  • Christina Pon, Family Support Specialist, MFT Intern
  • Raymond Fong MSW/CSW III, Continuing Services Social Worker

About the Social Work Profession

A social worker is a mental health professional who helps people with a broad range of issues, including psychological, financial, health, relationship and substance abuse problems. In almost every school, mental health clinic, hospital, nonprofit agency and local government there is at least one social worker. Like the diverse advocates heard in the compilation piece, there are many different types of social workers that work to help youth:

Medical and Public Health Social Workers
Those who specialize in medical or public health social work offer psychosocial services to individuals, families, and groups who are affected by acute, chronic, and terminal illnesses. These services might involve providing psychological counseling, connecting clients with resources in the community, and helping families who are caring for a sick loved one.

Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Child, family, and school social workers work with children and families. Some work in school settings to help children with academic, social, and emotional issues. Others may work with foster children, help arrange adoptions, and assist single parents.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals suffering from mental health problems or addiction and substance abuse issues. Social workers in this specialty area may provide crisis counseling, individual therapy, group therapy, skills education, and psychosocial rehabilitation services.

National Professional Social Work Month happens every March where social workers across the country and their allies to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society. Every day, the nation’s 650,000 social workers act as advocates, champions and leaders who make our society a better place to live. To learn more about how these leaders work to help improves the lives of youth, visit our Learn page.

Why Not You?

Volunteering as a mentor or becoming an informal mentor to a young person is a valuable step in positively affecting your community. It only takes one caring adult to make a difference in the life of a foster youth. Find out how you can get involved at

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