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NASW-CA Chapter Annual Awards

2007 Social Worker of the Year

Dorothy Berndt

Dorothy is a 1972 graduate from the University of Southern California. She began her MSW career as a Psychiatric Social Worker at Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center working with the severely and persistently mentally ill population.

She’s stated that the Homeless Program is one of the most exciting pieces of her career. She works with all the Social Service Providers in Santa Monica, Homeless Services in the City, Police and Fire Departments who come with creative plans to move people off the streets, into housing and provide the ongoing case management and ensure that housing/self sufficiency is successful.

2007 Dorothy F. Kirby Outstanding Youth Social Worker - $1,000 Award

Harmony Dust

After experiencing a childhood of abuse and rape at the hands of multiple people, Harmony lived in a group home at 17 where she had her first encounter with social workers. The encounter was an inspiring one. Harmony went on to earn her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA.

Her dream to help others was realized when she became a social worker for LA County Department of Child and Family Services

In January of 2004, Harmony founded Treasures, an outreach and support group for women in the sex industry. Harmony now runs Treasures full-time. She has been featured in various magazines, including Glamour, for her work with Treasures.

2007 Dorothy F. Kirby Outstanding Administrator in Human Services - $1,000 Award

Sharon Greene

Sharon Greene was born in Israel and lived on a kibbutz until she was four at which time her family immigrated to the United States. Her early life experiences laid the foundation for her understanding of the importance of community and family and the need for a village to raise a child.

She graduated from UCSD with a Bachelors’ in Economics and then earned her MSW at UCLA in 2000.

Sharon currently works at Saint John’s Child and Family Development center where she coordinates the Families and Schools Together team, a school based mental health program which provides individual, group and family therapy onsite at four Los Angeles Unified public schools.

2007 Public Citizen of the Year

Rhonda Meister

Rhonda Meister has been the Executive Director at St. Joseph Center in Venice since 1986. Under Rhonda’s leadership, St. Joseph’s has expanded from four to ten programs to meet the needs of low-income families and homeless men and women served by the Center.

Under such tremendous growth, “Rhonda has never wavered in her commitment to the agency’s core mission to plant hope and grow lives not only on behalf of those we serve, but also to benefit staff, volunteers, and the community at large,” stated the Associate Director, Judy Alexandre.

Rhonda is involved both locally and nationally in issues affecting those homeless and impoverished in our society. Presently, she serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition.

2007 Lifetime Achievement in Social Work (5 awardees)

John Oliver

John Oliver has devoted his professional career to promoting equity and social justice. He joined the faculty of California State University at Long Beach in the fall of 1988.

Formerly the Acting and Associate Dean of the Schools of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the State University of New York at Albany, he has founded numerous chapters of the Association of Black Social Workers, community food co-ops, and self-help organizations.

He has been a recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award at each university at which he has held a faculty position. He is the President Elect of the California Association of Deans/Directors of Schools of Social Work.

Diane de Anda

Diane de Anda, MSW, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, where she was a faculty member for 29 years preparing practitioners, educators, and researchers for work with youth and their families. She was editor of the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work for 11 years and serves on the editorial boards of a number of other scholarly journals.

Dianne is the editor of three books (Controversial Issues in Multiculturalism, Violence: Diverse Populations and Communities, and Social Work with Multicultural Youth) and has published numerous articles in scholarly journals on issues related to adolescent development and special problems of adolescent populations.

Much of her work has focused on culturally diverse adolescent populations, particularly Latino youth.

Anita S. Harbert

Anita S. Harbert is the Director of the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. Prior to her appointment at San Diego State University, she was on the faculty and acting Dean of the School of Social Work at the West Virginia University.

Anita received her PhD from the Florence Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, Brandeis University and a Master’s of Social Work degree from the West Virginia University. She was co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of the California Social Work Education Center.

Throughout her career, Anita has been the successful recipient of several million dollars in grant funding from national, state and local funding agencies supporting social work education and training for the public social services.

Diana Ming Chan

“My life and dedication to the social work profession,” Diana stated, “were profoundly guided by Chinese emphasis on humanitarianism, education, integrity, and humility, social work ethics and values, Judeo-Christian emphasis on help for the downtrodden.”

Before the establishments of many social work agencies by funds from President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, Diana worked at Cameron House as the only professionally trained Chinese American.

She cites as perhaps her most daring advocacy work was to get School Social Workers and learning support services into the San Francisco Unified School District. With the support of her “wonderful husband, the Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Council and Bruce Wolfe, MSW, this aspect of my dedication to help all children and families came to fruition.”

Jack Rothman

Jack Rothman, author and researcher, has been a professor at the distinguished level at UCLA and currently holds emeritus status. Professor Rothman has authored 25 books on social and community issues published by leading companies (Wiley, Allyn and Bacon, Longman, Columbia University Press, Prentice-Hall and others).

Jack has also published in The Nation, Los Angeles Times op-ed page, Social Policy, and The Humanist. Dr. Rothman has focused on community level intervention to improve social conditions. Areas include community mentalhealth, social advocacy, case management, runaway youth, race relations, and others. He has also made significant contributionsto the methodology of intervention research.

After moving to Los Angeles, he turned his attention to the film industry, the dominant social institution in the region. He recently published, Hollywood in Wide Angle: How Directors View Filmmaking (Scarecrow Press).

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