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The School of Social Work offers Masters in Social Work students a variety of field placements (internships) where students put their classroom knowledge into practice, gain hands-on experience in the real world, and see first-hand the impact of social work.
For John Restauro, Management of Human Services ‘16, and Jasimen Bailey, Community Organizing ‘15, a field placement with the Youth Impact Program was an opportunity to fulfill personal goals and have a hand in launching a new U-M program that seeks to make an impact on some of Detroit’s most vulnerable young men.
Twenty members of the Wolverines' sophomore football class -- combined with the U.S. Marines Corps, Detroit Public School teachers, the School of Social Work and U-M staffers provided a once in a life time chance for adolescent boys to learn about college, academics and football.
“The Youth Impact Program (YIP) combined my passion of working with at-risk youth and two of my greatest career interests - social work and sports management,” said Restauro, MSW ‘16 candidate. “I know from personal experience how youth involvement in sports – especially during the crucial middle school years - builds character, discipline, focus, and positive friendships.
Jasimen Bailey, MSW ‘15 candidate. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a part in a program that could make a positive impact on young lives. It’s exactly what I came to U-M to study and what I want to achieve in my career after graduation.”
The YIP “drafted” some 110 middle school boys from Detroit neighborhoods and immersed them in a two-week camp inside the Michigan Stadium. Camp days were filled with academics, athletics, and leadership mentoring provided by U-M, the U.S. Marine corps, and 20-plus U-M sophomore football players, many of whom come from the same environment and background as the students.
Camp mornings were dedicated to academics. The students attended class in stadium skyboxes converted into classrooms where teachers delivered innovative STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning programs. Afternoons were devoted to life lessons, gratitude moments and, of course, football in the Big House.
Since mid-May, Restauro and Bailey have worked with the YIP team anywhere from 14-40 hours per week, assisting with the organization of camp details and assembling and creating academic materials.
“My responsibilities also included making fundraising phone calls to local businesses on behalf of Coach Jim Harbaugh and YIP,” said Restauro. “That was such a huge honor, and something that will stand out as I pursue a career that combines social work, youth outreach, and professional sports management.”
Restauro and Bailey were on-hand for the June 6 Draft Night at Cass Technical High School. They were also there to greet the first busload of kids from Detroit, who were joined by U-M football coach and hall of famer Jim Harbaugh on the ride to the first exhilarating day of camp inside the Big House.
Bailey says that one of the best moments during camp was watching the players deal with the boys one-on-one. “The players were so good at dealing with the boys when issues came up,” said Bailey. “I saw many instances of a player taking the time to explain how negative behaviors reinforce negative stereotypes of black males. The players showed the boys that they could choose to be better people, change bad behaviors and change the course of their lives.”
Once camp began, Restauro and Bailey worked a full 40 hours per week doing whatever was needed to keep camp humming smoothly. Restauro was heavily involved in the behind-the-scenes operations, which included managing the locker room in the mornings on a daily-basis to facilitate a smooth start to their day.
Bailey was responsible for setting up the day’s activities in and out of the classrooms, and assisted mentors with “gratitude moments,” a daily activity that encouraged students to take time each day to express their appreciation to an individual, whether it was a mentor, coach, football player, or fellow student.
After graduation, Restauro plans to return to his hometown of San Francisco, where he will pursue a career working with at-risk youth, either as an executive director of a non-profit that works with formerly incarcerated young adults, or in the community college system as a guidance counselor for the same demographic.
Bailey, who also hails from California, wants to work for a non-profit organization that focuses on the unique struggles and challenges facing at-risk black and brown youth both locally and nationally.
Associate Professor Sherrie Kossoudji received a grant from the U-M Third Century Initiative for her project, “Contested Borders and Immigration Enforcement: Policy on the ground” which will examine the repercussions of U.S. immigration and border enforcement policy.
LEO Lecturer Sallie Foley was cited in the Detroit Free Press article, “2 Detroiters among Bill Cosby accusers speak out: Metro Detroiters say that Bill Cosby molested them, and now they finally have the courage to share their stories”.
Associate Professor Trina Shanks co-authored an op-ed piece, “In Response to Black Poverty: Researchers challenge us to look at poverty from the inside out” which was published in Jet magazine.
Led by Barry Checkoway, U-M's Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity program recently held a Summer Youth Dialogue residency week on campus, bringing together about 75 high school students from the Metro Detroit Area for social justice education.
Associate Professor Luke Shaefer's new book, "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" received a star review from Publishers Weekly.
Charity Hoffman (PhD student) along with mentor Professor Mary Ruffolo received a grant from Rackham Graduate School to interview first-time mothers for her dissertation which focuses on the transition to motherhood. She is especially interested in how the U.S.'s lack of maternity leave policy impacts women and their families, and how the absence of formal policy may reproduce race and class inequalities.
Professor Larry Gant was cited in the Huffington Post article, “Let’s Talk About Prison Reform”.
Professor Lorraine Gutierrez was appointed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Board as a member of the Commission on Research.
Clinical Assistant Professor Sue Ann Savas received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to evaluate the Michigan State University, Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) which supports a quality food system in Michigan where vulnerable children and families have access to good food, where and farm and food system households can thrive.
She also received a grant from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office to implement a project-level program evaluation for their Office of Community Engagement.