Breaking Barriers Every Day at Ocean Partnership for Children

Ocean Partnership for Children recognizes social workers for National Social Work Month
Social Work Month at OPC
Social Work Month at OPC
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - March 17, 2023 - PRLog -- Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is celebrating March as National Social Work month to highlight how social workers have enriched our society by empowering people and communities to overcome hurdles that prevent them from living life to the fullest. "The theme of this national Social Work month, "Social Work Breaks Barriers", is lived out every day at OPC as barriers are broken so that youth can fulfill their potential", stated Mary Jo Buchanan, LCSW, MPA, Executive Director.

At OPC, seven Licensed Clinical Social Workers, five Licensed Social Workers, ten Licensed Professional Counselors, and all of the agency care managers, ensure that youth and families are connected to the resources they need to be successful. "They are strong advocates for the needs of the youth and their caregivers and, by using Wraparound principles, identify youth and family needs, create a plan of care, and link community resources to the family," stated Buchanan.

Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). More than 700,000 professional social workers are hard at work nationwide, but that number is expected to rise to almost 800,000 by 2030, BLS said.

People become social workers because they have a strong desire to connect with those in need. Alyssa Christman, LCSW, Assistant Director of Clinical Operations recalls, "I first wanted to become a social worker when I was a teenager. I also have always been the person that friends and family members turn to when they are facing challenges, as well as the person that gets approached frequently in public by others who need to talk. I believe this aspect of being a social worker is just something that has always come naturally to me."

Social work also focuses on overcoming bias and inequities. "Growing up as a Muslim, Guyanese immigrant in the United States opened my eyes to the many injustices around me. I knew I wanted to be part of making a difference and changing the minds of how others saw people like me," explained Areefah Saheb, LCSW, Care Manger Supervisor at OPC.

Social work began more than a century ago and continues to meet changing challenges experienced by children, teens, adults and seniors. "The history and evolution of social work is so interesting to me," stated Maureen DeSantis, LCSW, Assistant Director of Clinical Operations. "I feel like my own work has evolved along with the field and I always encourage young social workers to remember their roots."

OPC strives to empower not only their social workers, but all employees at OPC to develop, grow and break barriers. "On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to work, learn, and grow alongside my colleagues who are as passionate about the mission of OPC as I am. Invigorating conversation and collaborating with professionals from many walks of life are some of the best parts of social work," explained Victoria Azzopardi, LCSW, Director of Clinical Operations at OPC.

"Social workers are defined as change agents. The work that our care management staff does at OPC changes lives, whether they are a social worker, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or a Bachelor's level care manager starting out their career. All staff at OPC are change agents for the youth and families we serve," stated Buchanan.

Each day, social workers break barriers in a plethora of innovative ways to help millions of Americans live their best lives. Social workers also advocate n communities to improve living conditions for all. "During Social Work Month, we urge you to educate yourself about our amazing profession, thank the social workers in your lives, and help support the profession," stated Buchanan.

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Founded in 2005, OPC is Ocean County's Care Management Organization. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of youth and their families through natural and community supports. OPC provides care coordination services for Ocean County youth up the age of 21 years who have mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental challenges. OPC strives to keep children and adolescents at home, in school, and in the community by connecting them to resources that meet their unique needs and help them achieve their goals.

OPC is a non-profit organization available at no cost to all youth and families in Ocean County who meet the eligibility criteria of the New Jersey Children's System of care. To learn more, visit or

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Page Updated Last on: Mar 17, 2023
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