3 Area Residents Recognized for Social Work Contributions
The Sarasota/Manatee unit of the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrated Social Workers Month, March 5, with an awards ceremony honoring three local residents for outstanding contributions in their field.
The honorees are Richard White, Social Worker of the Year; Kerry Gantner, Florida Student Social Worker of the Year; and former Sarasota Mayor Richard Martin, Public Citizen of the Year.
Every March, Social Workers Month celebrates the multi-faceted field of social work, one of the largest and fastest growing professions in the country. The White House officially recognized March as National Professional Social Work Month in 1984.
Since then, NASW has utilized the designation to address specific social issues and to build public awareness of who social workers are and what they do. This year's theme, "Social Work Matters," showcases the positive impact the nation's 642,000 social workers have had on contemporary society.
“We’re proud of the ways in which these three individuals practice the ideals and ethics of the social work profession and its goal of providing everyone with the ability to self-actualize and live their best life possible,” says Dr. Jason Quintal, chair of the Sarasota/Manatee unit of NASW. “Each one has shown remarkable commitment to bettering the world around them.”
Sarasota/Manatee's NASW Social Worker of the Year is Richard White, MSW, LCSW, who has been a professional social worker for more than 32 years. In his current position, as a social worker with the Manatee County school system, White developed an acclaimed student services counseling program.
In his 30 years working in the social work field, he ran a domestic violence batterers intervention program, implemented a cutting-edge diversion program in Sarasota to curb teen shoplifting, and participated in a gang intervention task force.
As a grant writer, White has raised more than a million dollars to assist the poor and disenfranchised in the Sarasota-Manatee region. “Richard truly epitomizes what it means to be a social worker,” says Quintal. “It’s an honor to publically recognize his remarkable life and work.”
Kerry Gantner, chosen as Student Social Worker of the Year, recently completed her studies in social work at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. She has also been active with Resurrection House, a local resource center for homeless families and individuals. “Kerry is passionate about the profession and, at her young age, is already engaged in applying the core principles of social work learned in the classroom to real-life situations,” says Quintal.
Former Sarasota Mayor Richard Martin, captured the 2012 Public Citizen award. Martin is being recognized for his extensive work with the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and its 10-year plan to achieve that goal.
“Richard puts into practice the ideals and ethics of the social workprofession,” says Quintal. “We are honored to honor him.”
About The National Association of Social Workers
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 145,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance soundsocial policies. For more information, visit www.naswdc.org. For information about NASW's local chapter, visit www.naswfl.org.