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News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Thank You Outgoing Board Members!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Duane Breijak
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NASW-Michigan would like to thank our outgoing Board members for their service, dedication, and years of advocacy on behalf of Michigan social workers. Your leadership has helped to advance our profession and to make social work a stronger field in Michigan. The following Board members are completing their terms on June 30, 2020:

  • Kevin Holzinger, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC. President

  • Shelley Ovink, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC. Region 1 Representative

  • Audrey Litts, LMSW. Region 4 Representative

  • Marian Tripplett, LMSW, M.ED. Region 9 Representative

  • Alexis Juarez. BSW Representative

  • Michelle Mattison. MSW Representative


Reflections on Region 1 Representation

Shelley Ovink, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC  

When I joined NASW-Michigan I had my preconceived notion that it was an organization “down in Lansing” that worked for the rights and welfare of social workers. The local group met at Northern Michigan University monthly during the school year. The meetings were attended by a small group of professionals, several professors and many students. The talk was of issues impacting the profession, especially parity and the pros and cons of licensing!   

As membership in any organization sometimes experiences, local meetings were skipped, then seemed to stop with a short spurt here and there, ahh, a sign of life! I am reminded of the Loon. It floats along on the water often seeming to have no purpose than to look graceful. Then it dives. It dives deep. When it reemerges, it is in a different place and resumes its graceful appearance. The Loon dives deep to nourish and replenish, always coming up in a new place. I think Social Workers are like that.  I think our local meetings needed that change. Several reps before me started by moving the meetings into the community, inviting speakers while still making time to talk about issues in the profession.

When I began my representation of Region 1, I came with the idea that we could not only meet and discuss current events and issues, but apply and get a CE for doing that. Our meetings in Marquette have been great occasions to learn from each other or about an area program. We have continued to meet most months for many years…until the “virus”. For a couple of those years I was able to bring similar meeting programs to the Houghton area. My goal was to bring local meetings to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Well, I guess there is still work to do…

Social workers everywhere benefit from meeting as professionals. We understand, we vent, we learn, we nourish our souls. Serving on the NASW Board as a regional representative gave me several gifts. One is to know the fine and hardworking people in the state office. I have learned that they all care about us Yooper social workers and recognize that we have unique issues due to geography and climate. I know I can count on them to advocate for “us” whether it be in Lansing or with the national office. I have learned that they can work magic when I ask for support. 

I have had the benefit of meeting and working with social workers from around the state who contribute a richness to my professional growth. I have deepened my knowledge and commitment to ethical practice. I have shared practice wisdom with the best and the brightest. I am often reminded that social workers are a kind and gracious tribe.  

Finally, as I leave my role as regional rep which I have shared these past couple of years with Judy Krause, I know I am leaving it fully in her very capable hands. I have given Judy my promise to stay engaged, help where I am able, and continue to be grateful for the opportunity to be part of an organization that is committed to making life better for all people.

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