The Chapter newsletter is now DIGITAL! Members who subscribe to NASW emails will receive a MONTHLY digital e-newsletter effective January 2022

Past quarterly print editions are archived at the end of this page.

Member Articles Featured in Monthly Newsletters

October 2023

President's Message
by Shelly D. Weaver, B.S., LCSW-BACS, ACHP-SW, APHSW-C

December 2022
"2022 Wrap Up"
by Worlita Jackson, ACSW, C-SSWS, LCSW-BACS

As the end of 2022 draws near I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, board of directors and National Association of Social Workers Louisiana Chapter’s members for an amazing year.  The success of the Louisiana Chapter is based on the hard work and dedication of each of you, and we wouldn’t be where we are without you.

This year has been filled with a multitude of both challenges and victories. Every year is different but this one has been filled with more change than normal.  Perhaps the biggest change we’ve faced this year is the retirement of our executive director, Ayn Stehr in November. It has been an honor and privilege to serve with Ayn, she has been an amazing  executive director.  She worked tirelessly  to move our chapter forward.  She  has written an amazing chapter with the National Association of Social Workers Louisiana Chapter.   We  appreciate all that she has done, and the many ways she nurtured and moved our chapter forward.  Ayn is a force!  We are grateful for the years of service and commitment she provided for the chapter.   

Along with the news of Ayn’s retirement came the announcement of our shared arrangement of an executive director with another chapter.  Louisiana has always had their own executive director but this arrangement was best for the chapter for sustainable long-term growth by leveraging combined resources to support Louisiana social workers. This model has worked successfully in several other states.  Our chapter will benefit from the expertise of a proven chapter executive director who could immediately make an impact.

Change is important for our organization because, without change, we will fail to meet the ever-changing needs of our members and the populations we serve.   Although change can be challenging, it  can be a major opportunity for growth and  advancement, so long as we approach it correctly. 

We were excited when the announcement was made that Will Francis would take over as our new executive director.  Will currently serves as the Executive Director of our neighboring chapter, National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter.   He has made a commitment to National Association Social Worker Louisiana Chapter that he will  support the autonomy of our chapter and the uniqueness of the profession in Louisiana. Will hit the ground running immediately, he’s been meeting with board members and working with the Annual Conference Committee on the 2023 NASW-LA Annual Conference.  Will has also met with and began working with the Louisiana Social Work Board of Examiners.

We are so excited about what 2023 has in store for us – enthusiasm and anticipation are building around new opportunities in all our regions.   We look forward to working together with each of you in the new year.  Best wishes and happiness to you and your families over the festive season.

Stay tuned for more details in the new year!

March 2022
"Social Work Month"
by Worlita Jackson, ACSW, C-SSWS, LCSW-BACS

During the entire month of March, it is the opportunity to place the spotlight on social workers across the country and highlight the numerous contributions we make to society. It also provides a time to promote, and advocate for social workers through activities, events, and other outreach and awareness efforts.

In 1984 the White House began officially recognizing Social Workers in March as Social Work Month.   Since then the National Association of Social Workers has selected a social issue to promote each year, spanning topics such as the health care crisis, to hate crimes, to children in poverty, to homelessness and more.

Each year has a different theme and the 2022 theme is,  The Time is Right for Social Work.  According to National, this theme underscores the contributions social workers have made to this nation for more than a century and how the services they provide are needed more than ever as our nation addresses economic inequality, systemic racism, the need for improved health and mental health care, Covid-19 and other issues.

As social workers, daily you find yourselves in various demanding, often emotional situations.  From   discrimination, poverty, trauma, protecting children and adults with support needs from harm,  helping keep families under pressure together to supporting someone with mental health challenges.  What you do can be very difficult, especially when you give so much of yourself, despite the long hours and the emotional impact of the job and everything you have assigned to you. Yet, you do it without thinking, you always complete the assignments. It’s part of who you are – thank you for UNDERSTANDING your assignment.

As president of the National Association of Social Workers – Louisiana Chapter I want to personally take this opportunity to thank each of you for the many contributions you are making in our communities, and for your dedication to improving the quality of life for all people.  But, most of all thank you for being the source of stability and strength for the individuals and families you serve.

“The Time is Right for Social Work”
by Kim Thompson, LCSW-BACS
Pictured above: Kristen Callais, Archie Chiasson, Kim Thompson, and Heidi Irwin

“The Time is Right for Social Work”, declares the theme of Social Work Month, March 2022! We all know that social workers do some amazing, life-changing work, but is that how everyone sees us? Well, you know the answer to that. It’s SO incredibly important that each and every one of us advocates for the field of social work, keeping it revered, respected, and utilized as the highly ethical, professional, efficacious, and meaningful occupation that those who paved the way before us worked so hard for it to be.

NASW organizations like the southernmost Houma-Thibodaux region participated in various advocacy and awareness initiatives. Nicholls State University instructors promoted social work with a banner on campus. Lafourche Parish President Archie Chiasson proclaimed March 2022 as Professional Social Work Month. A team of regional social workers attended the monthly Parish Council Meeting to support the proclamation and advocate for our beloved profession. Kim Thompson, LCSW-BACS, briefly highlighted the variety of social work careers that were represented by social workers in attendance, evidencing to the audience how many hats social workers wear. For example, as a private practice counselor, Kim helps people with anxiety, depression, suicidality, bipolar disorder, and various life challenges, in addition to teaching at Nicholls State University. Heidi Irwin, LCSW-BACS, serves as a mental health advocate for District Attorney, Kristine Russell. In her unique position, Heidi prepares, supports, and advocates for child victims involved in the judicial system for various reasons such as domestic violence, molestation, parental trials, etc. Additionally, her passion for social work makes Heidi perfect for organizing evidence-based programs such as Youth Empowerment and the Domino Effect (drinking and driving prevention). Kristen Callais, MSW, uses her social work training and roots to work in prison ministry and teach classes at Nicholls, such as Community Development. As nearly all social workers do, all three women actively serve several non-profit organizations, as well, such as CASA, the American Red Cross, local Sheriff’s departments, and various other grassroots initiatives.

The need for social work is limitless. Social workers counsel families and individuals via mental health agencies, rehabilitate and reunify broken families, assist students as school counselors, startup and operate non-profit agencies like food banks and shelters, serve domestic violence and child abuse victims, advocate for social justice and equality, help prevent suicide and human trafficking, operate hospital mental health units, help addicts attain sobriety in rehabilitation centers, and serve all of our communities’ most marginalized and at-risk populations. Perhaps we have never needed social workers more in the history of our nation, as mental health and substance abuse rates are at an all-time high, poverty remains a major concern, and equality is on the forefront of our socioeconomic agenda.

Social workers are born to and relied upon to make a difference. And March is our month to shout it from the rooftops. Be a proud social worker today and every day!  The time is NOW!

February 2022

Celebrating the Contributions of African American Social Workers
by Elise H. Reed, Ed.D., LCSW-BACS

We are fortunate to serve in a profession that embraces the beauty of diversity. The National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics has a clear focus on cultural competence. For it is this level of competency that ignites the building of relationships that focus on understanding and appreciation of the histories of diverse cultural backgrounds. With this in mind, it would be amiss to not reflect on this month’s observance of African American History Month and the contributions made to the field by social workers of African descent.

Historically, we may find ourselves reflecting upon the lives of Mr. Whitney Young or Dr. Dorothy Height. Mr. Young, who served as president of NASW from 1969 to 1971, was a noted civil rights leader, statesmen, and 1969 recipient of the United States President’s Medal of Freedom. Dr. Height, also a civil rights activist, advocated for women’s rights and focused on unemployment, literacy, and voter awareness. Their work has inspired the lives of so many and we are grateful for those who carry the mantle today. We salute our area African American social workers for their work in a myriad of practice specializations. Their dedication to the field is sure to produce a new generation of change agents.


Elise H. Reed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers - Louisiana Chapter, Monroe Region.  She is also a member of the NASW-LA Image Building Committee representing the Monroe Region.

January 2022
New Year! New You!: Embracing the Ethical Aspiration to Engage in Self-Care
by Elise H. Reed, Ed.D., LCSW-BACS

It is 2022! Can you believe it? Today, we find ourselves firmly planted in a new year.  As we reflect on the past 12 months, there is no denying that there have been personal and professional challenges. COVID-19 has stretched and, in some instances, stressed us beyond proportion. As social workers, we have been called to professional tables to discuss implementation of safety plans, service modifications in a virtual environment, and grief management programming. Our day-to-day dash out of the door with a set of keys and our reading glasses has evolved to include a mask and hand sanitizer.  This is just one way that we take care of ourselves and others in the midst of a pandemic.

Taking care of ourselves and others in this “new normal” climate is essential to our professional practice. The National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics most recent revision went into effect January 1, 2021, and it set an aspiration goal for social workers to embrace self-care.  A quality plan of self-care assists in maintaining health, as well as, preventing and managing illness. Self-care encompasses the way we eat, move, and live in general. As we embark on this upcoming year’s journey, I am challenging myself and my colleagues across the state to take care of self - better.  Below are few tips to start this life-changing path.

  • Tip 1: Embrace spiritual practices. Engage and explore spiritual practices that promote a sense of purpose, positivity, and appreciation for life.
  • Tip 2: Eat healthier. A balanced diet, with fewer trips to fast food establishments and an increase in water intake has been linked to increased energy levels.  This lifestyle change can provide us with the fortitude that is needed to make it through a long day at the office.
  • Tip 3: Get moving. Walking and exercise in general has been linked to positive reductions in stress.  This tip can be a positive defense between waves of burnout that is associated with direct practice.
    So, as we embark on a New Year with its uncertainties, resolve to arm yourself with a personalized plan of self-care. The benefits are sure to be evident in each aspect of our daily lives.

Happy New Year!

Elise H. Reed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers - Louisiana Chapter, Monroe Region.  She is also a member of the NASW-LA Image Building Committee representing the Monroe Region.