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2016 Social Work Award Recipients
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2016 NASW/Texas Award Recipients

 

The NASW/Texas Awards seek to honor the achievements of NASW/Texas members throughout their professional careers, as well as honor the contributions of publicly-elected officials, public citizens, and members of the media whose work upholds the values and mission of social work. Award recipients are nominated by their branches and selected through a review and voting process by the NASW/Texas Board of Directors. The 2016 Award Recipients will be honored during the Opening Plenary  of the 40th Annual State Conference at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas, on October 6, 2016.

 

Congratulations to the 2016 NASW/Texas Award Recipients featured below and to everyone recognized by their local branches for their extraordinary work in our profession.

 



 

 

 

 

  


2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Vicki Hansen, LMSW-AP, ACSW

 

Each year, the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers selects a social worker for this award to celebrate a lifetime of accomplishments. In honoring the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, NASW/Texas recognizes the best social work values and accomplishments demonstrated throughout the social worker’s lifetime. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards demonstrate repeated outstanding achievements, make contributions of lasting impact, exemplify outstanding creativity, and receive recognition beyond the social work profession.


After completing her MSW from Florida International University, Vicki Hansen began her extensive career with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Texas Chapter. She started out as a Program Director where she planned educational programs and fundraising events, produced newsletters and managed volunteers. 

 

Ms. Hansen continued to grow her career with NASW and was promoted to Project Director where she worked with the Texas Cancer Council to conduct research, write grants and provide training to decrease cancer mortality and morbidity to low-income and minority populations. During this time, she also developed collaborative relationships with the Texas Department of Human Services, the Texas Employment Commission, and American Cancer Society--relationships that still exist today. 

 

In 1998, she became the Executive Director for NASW/Texas, a position she excelled in for the next 15 years. In addition, Ms. Hansen was the Project Director for Crime Victims: A Social Work Response, a 3 year U.S. Department of Justice project. 

 

Ms. Hansen’s leadership roles expanded to the national level with NASW. She served on the national committee on Standards for Continuing Social Work Education, was appointed to the NASW Foundation Board of Directors, served on the NASW Affirmative Action Workgroup, as well as the Council of Executive Directors where she was named the 2005 NASW Executive Director of the Year. 

 

Ms. Hansen’s accomplishments include her work as an adjunct faculty member at UT San Antonio and Texas State University Schools of Social Work, an appointment by the Governor of Texas to the Governor’s Taskforce on Bioterrorism, and selection by the NASW President to participate as a member of the NASW Affirmative Action Taskforce. Ms. Hansen was also on the Texas Department of Health Strategic Planning Committee, Public Health Education Committee, and Preparedness Coordinating Council--all appointments made by the Department of Health Commissioner.

 

Ms. Hansen is a true leader. Her relationship skills and connections around the state contributed to NASW's growth and stellar reputation. For many years, she was able to connect virtually everything “social work” and often connected the dots when others could not. 

 

Ms. Hansen is now retired and enjoying her 3 G’s (gardening, golf & grandchildren) but continues and always will be a Social Worker! 

 

Nominated by the Capital Area Branch




2016 Social Worker of the Year

Stephanie Gillespie, LMSW

 

The Social Worker of the Year Award honors a member of NASW/Texas who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values and achievements. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW highlights superb accomplishments in the practice of social work. The Social Worker of the Year demonstrates outstanding leadership, advocates for clients, and takes risks to achieve outstanding results.

 

Stephanie Gillespie has an MA in Counseling and a Doctorate in Ministry, completing her dissertation on the Christian Response to Homelessness in America. She later received her MSW from University of Texas at Arlington, although many of her friends and colleagues identified her as a natural born social worker years before that.

 

Ms. Gillespie serves as the Community Services Manager for the Arlington Police Department. She has proven her dedication to connecting with and serving the homeless in Arlington, supervising the department’s Homeless Outreach Officer, co-authoring the City of Arlington’s 10 year Homelessness Plan, and creating an after school program for children living in extended-stay motels. Additionally, she has developed other community-based initiatives, coordinating proactive community policing strategies in schools that address truancy, gangs, re-entry, and neighborhood restoration issues.

 

She has volunteered with Mission Arlington for 16 years, and her passion is evident through her many other engagement volunteer organizations including Hope After Brain Injury, Helping Restore Ability, and Rescue Her.

 

Ms. Gillespie has been a member of Adult Protective Services Community Committee, American Association of Christian Counselors, Arlington Police Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police as a school safety consultant, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, Tarrant County Re-Entry Council, and has been a respite foster parent.

 

She has been recognized as United Way’s Volunteer of the Year, Santa Fe Adolescent Youth Service’s Community Hero, Arlington Police North District Officer of the Year, and a Paul Harris Fellow. She has received the Texas Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Community Service, the North Texas US Attorney’s Public Service Award, the Girls Inc. BOLD Woman Award, the State Farm Good Neighbor Award, and is a Woman of Legacy for the Safe Haven of Tarrant County.

 

Ms. Gillespie’s commitment to ensuring safety and engagement within the community have made a lasting impact on the students, the homeless population, and the community of Arlington as a whole.

 

Nominated by the North Central Texas-Fort Worth Branch


   


2016 Social Work Student of the Year

Lily casura

 

The Social Work Student of the Year Award honors a student member of NASW/Texas who is enrolled at least halftime (as defined by their school) in a graduate or undergraduate Social Work Program and has made an outstanding contribution to the goals and mission of the profession. The Social Work Student of the Year demonstrates leadership, a commitment to social justice, the profession of social work, and clients, and the integration of social work knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values.

 

Lily Casura is a MSW student at the University of Texas at San Antonio School of Social Work, where she holds a 3.94 GPA.  Ms. Casura is also a longtime journalist, author and social media expert with a strong interest in veterans’ issues, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, homelessness, the caregivers’ burden, and suicide, among others.

 

Ms. Casura earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University, and completed a year-long certificate program in writing the nonfiction book/literary journalism from the University of Washington.

 

However, Ms. Casura’s passion for Social Work is evident by her actions and accomplishments in the San Antonio area.  Ms. Casura won an international grant to create a multimedia reporting project about homeless women veterans; maintained a social media presence for community of veterans, caregivers and advocates organized around the HealingCombatTrauman.com website.  She has supported military veterans advocacy causes by connecting a local television station with a military retirement community to present the Oscar-nominated film, “The Last Days of Vietnam”, and afterward facilitated a community discussion.

 

Ms. Casura’s actions do not stop there.  She is frequently a guest-lecturer in an MSW class on transformational leadership, teaching students how to build websites and construct social media campaigns around social justice causes they choose.  She has also presented her research at conferences on the plight of homeless women veterans; and is active in the “end family detention” advocacy movement online for refugee/immigration rights of Central and South American mothers and children in South Texas.

 

In 2015, Ms. Casura was the first recipient of the “Foundation Student of the Year” for the Department of Social Work at UTSA.

 

Her professors rave about her dedication to the profession. As one teacher puts it,“Lily may very well be the most outstanding student I have ever taught. To say that Lily is passionate about social work is only the beginning. Many students bring passion and interest to the table. What sets Lily apart is her insatiable quest for knowledge and the rare ability to translate that knowledge into meaningful action. Never before have I taught a student who has made such an enormous impact in our community prior to graduating.”

 

Ms. Casura has already made an enormous impact on her community by combining her journalism skills with her passion for social justice. We can’t wait to see her actions AFTER graduation!


Nominated by the Alamo Area Branch

   


2016 Public Elected Official of the Year

anna eastman

 

The Public Elected Official of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions of an elected official who has shown leadership in the formulation of public policy, particularly policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social practice.

 

Anna Eastman received her undergraduate degree from University of Texas at Austin and then graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio with her MSW. She is passionate about equity in academic standards, is a leader in non-discriminatory policy expansion, and is a hero to her local community.

 

As a school board trustee, Ms. Eastman has been selected by her peers to serve as the president, second vice president, secretary, and assistant secretary for Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in Texas.

 

She was revolutionary in supporting the expansion of a non-discriminatory policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity within HISD, only the second district in Texas to do so.  She also introduced the Human Rights Campaign’s “Welcoming Schools” program to the district, providing educators with professional development tools to support LGBT youth and recognize bullying.

First elected in 2009, Ms. Eastman still currently serves as HISD Trustee for District 1, and is currently conquering the challenge of selecting a new Superintendent for the seventh-largest school district in the United States--impacting 298 schools and over 200,000 students.

Additionally, she is active on many non-profit Houston Advisory Boards including Breakthrough Houston,

 

Neighborhood Centers Immigration, Undies for Everyone, Recipe for Success, and University of Texas Health Science Prevention Research Center, among others. She is also a founding member of a local education-based non-profit, 11 ½ Street Foundation which is an educational foundation that supports scholarships for socio-economically disadvantaged student.

 

Ms. Eastman is deserving of this award for her dedication to social justice, advocacy, and inclusion, and for being a champion of children, families, and school personnel.


Nominated by Houston Branch

   


2016 Public Citizen of the Year

Robert Salcido, jr.

 

The Public Citizen of the Year Award honors an outstanding member of the community whose accomplishments exemplify the values and mission of the profession of social work and who has acted with courage to make significant contribution to an area or population of concern to the social work profession such as: at-risk or vulnerable populations, quality of life in communities, or social issues.

 

Robert Salcido, Jr.'s dedication towards the advancement of human rights and equality for LGBT Texans is evidenced by his radical decision to leave the private-sector career in order to fulfill his passion to help marginalized and underserved communities. He is currently a field organizer for Equality Texas, the lead LGBT rights organization in the state.

 

Since 2011, he has been involved with Pride Center San Antonio, currently serving as the board chair. He is a founding member and current president of Orgullo de San Antonio LGBT League of United Latin American Citizen council, raising awareness of LGBT concerns and building bridges in the Latino community. In addition, Mr. Salcido currently serves on the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee, advocating for enforcement of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, as well as creating and funding of a municipal Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

 

Mr. Salcido has served on the board of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce for four years, is on the executive board of the Pride Center, and a founding member and vice president of Orgullo de San Antonio LULAC Council 22198.

 

We honor him for his passion, dedication and the tremendous impact he’s made on the LGBT community in San Antonio and throughout Texas.

 

Nominated by Alamo Area Branch

   


2016 Media Award

greg groogan
fox-tv

 

The Media Award recognizes outstanding contributions in Print, Radio, Television or Online Publications that provide information to the general public and demonstrate leadership in their respective media area by: accurately portraying the social work profession; portraying issues of concern to social workers; increasing the understanding, awareness, and value of the social work profession to the general public; effectively communicating the impact of policy decisions on the lives of Texans; using social workers as resources for articles/reports.

 

Born in Austin, Greg Groogan broke into the TV business in Laredo after barely graduating from the University of Texas Plan II honors program. (He says he has the diploma to prove it).

 

In 1989, he left the cactus and mesquite of South Texas for the frostier climate of Alaska. While working in Anchorage, Greg spent the better part of a year covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill - at the time, the nation's biggest ever environmental disaster.

 

In 1990, he returned to Texas to cover state politics as capital bureau chief and later, investigative reporter for Austin's ABC station KVUE. In 1997, Greg again headed north, this time to Cleveland for to work for three years at an NBC affiliate.

 

As a native Texan will do, in 2000, Mr. Groogan returned to Texas.  Working for FOX 26  nin Houston as a Special Projects Reporter, Mr. Groogan detailed the collapse of Enron and the energy trading sector.

Throughout his career Mr. Groogan has been reporting on critical social and environmental issues with passion and heart for social justice. He pursues his stories with great empathy for citizens who often feel like they have no voice in our community. He has consistently been a champion for impoverished and disempowered citizens through his investigative reporting.

 

More recently in his career Mr. Groogan has been a powerful advocate for children diagnosed with intellectual developmental disabilities in the school setting. He has collaborated and delivered several stories highlighting injustice within the school system. He has worked tirelessly to change outcomes for students and their parents in the community. In addition, his reporting has led to the creation of legislation that improves children’s and educator’s safety in the school setting and protects public citizens from mistreatment.

 

Mr. Groogan has been honored with more than 150 journalism awards. In addition to his Regional Emmys, Mr. Groogan has garnered 35 Associated Press Awards as well as honors from the Houston Press Club, the Dallas Press Club, the Cleveland Press Club, the Alaska Press Club, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, the Ft. Worth Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Texas Bar Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Cancer Society, the Texas State Teachers Association, the Harris County Medical Society and the Austin Chronicle. He is also the recipient of a national award for the Best of Gannett for news writing.

 

Married to former FOX 26 reporter Michelle Casas, Greg spends much of his time away from the newsroom with son Garrett and daughter Hannah.


Nominated by Houston Branch

   
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