Ocean Partnership for Children Honors Mary Jo Buchanan's Enduring Legacy in Social Work

Mary Jo Buchanan, Ocean Partnership for Children
Mary Jo Buchanan, Ocean Partnership for Children
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - March 12, 2024 - PRLog -- As National Social Work Month unfolds this March, Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is not only recognizing the invaluable contributions of their social workers but also to celebrating the remarkable careers of those who have dedicated their lives to this noble profession. Among those is Mary Jo Buchanan, the long-serving Executive Director of OPC.

Mary Jo Buchanan's journey in social work has been marked by passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of youth and their families. With a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW) from University of Pittsburgh and Master's degree in Public Administration (MPA) from West Virginia University, Mary Jo embarked on a career that would see her become a beacon of hope for countless individuals in need.

For the past decade, Mary Jo has been an integral part of OPC's mission, leading the organization through a period of incredible growth and transformation. Under her guidance, OPC has expanded its reach and impact, evolving from serving 300 youth to over 1100, and growing its staff from 35 to over 130 employees.

During her tenure, Mary Jo spearheaded initiatives that have fundamentally strengthened OPC's ability to serve the community. She played a pivotal role in achieving CARF accreditation, a testament to the organization's commitment to excellence and quality in service provision. Additionally, Mary Jo oversaw the relocation of OPC's headquarters to the County seat in downtown Toms River, ensuring greater accessibility for those in need of support.

Furthermore, Mary Jo's innovative spirit led to the creation of additional services tailored to meet the evolving needs of OPC's youth and families. From establishing youth groups to providing specialized support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), Mary Jo ensured that OPC remained at the forefront of best practices in the field. She also pioneered the role of Resource Navigator, facilitating access to vital resources and support systems for youth and families struggling with homelessness.

Throughout her tenure, Mary Jo cultivated an atmosphere of openness and caring within OPC, emphasizing communication, teamwork, and personal and professional development. Liz Menges, LPC, Assistant Director of Clinical Operations at OPC noted, "Mary Jo has seen OPC to many victories and successes throughout her tenure. With each challenge we faced, she ensured that staff voices were heard and was thoughtful in problem solving and overcoming those challenges.  Mary Jo's leadership and patience are extraordinary." Her leadership style, characterized by compassion and integrity, has left an indelible mark on the organization and the community it serves.

Reflecting on Mary Jo's impact, Victoria Azzopardi, LCSW, the new Chief Executive Officer of OPC, remarked, "Mary Jo has been a guiding light, sharing her knowledge, and wisdom. Her willingness to mentor coupled with an innate ability to inspire and motivate, has made a significant impact on our team and me personally." Director of Organizational Development and Technology at OPC, Andrew MacMath noted, "Mary Jo elevated OPC to unprecedented heights during her tenure through her steadfast and thoughtful leadership.  She was pivotal in shaping the agency's success and undoubtedly leaves behind a legacy of excellence. Her ability to inspire trust made her a respected and effective leader for all of us."

As Mary Jo Buchanan embarks on the next chapter of her life in retirement, her legacy of compassion, integrity, and tireless advocacy will continue to inspire all those who have had the privilege of working alongside her. Ocean Partnership for Children and the community at large owe a debt of gratitude to Mary Jo for her invaluable contributions to the field of social work and the countless lives she has touched and transformed throughout her illustrious career.

For more information about Ocean Partnership for Children, please visit www.oceanpartnership.org.

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Founded in 2005, Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is Ocean County's Care Management Organization (CMO). 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.

Ocean Partnership for Children 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 https://www.oceanpartnership.org or www.oceanresourcenet.org.

Allison Brown, Design 446
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