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Community Organization

This practice method prepares students to promote social action and change at the community level as well as to develop cohesion among formal and informal organizations and individuals. It involves helping persons to improve their capacities to perform various community roles, articulate needs, and mobilize people and resources.

Program Details

Students concentrating in community organization complete four required methods courses, including the two foundation courses: Interpersonal Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (SW 521), and Management, Community Organization, and Policy Practice (SW 560).

Students must also complete two of the following advanced courses, each worth three credit-hours.

Student Profile

Youth Impact Program

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 program at U-M that seeks to make an impact on some of Detroit’s most vulnerable young men.

“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.

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.


Community Organization Faculty

  • Heather C. Alberda

    BA, CSE
    Reproductive Health Educator, Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Stanley E. Althof

    Emeritus Member, Advisory Board of the Sexual Health Certificate Program
  • M. Antonio G. Alvarez

    LEO Lecturer II
    School social work, adventure based practice, child welfare, community-based interventions, bullying and suicide prevention and intervention, international social work, and practice with indigenous/immigrant populations.
  • Diane Back

    LEO Intermittent Lecturer
Full faculty list »

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