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A Glimpse into an ASWIS Practicum Placement (By ASWIS Practicum Students)

Being a practicum student at ASWIS has opened my mind to the necessity of social workers in the field of sports. I have learned athletes are an at-risk and vulnerable community. I learned ASWIS provides professionals with educational opportunities, platforms for advocacy, and a growing network to succeed in the field of sports. It is beyond rewarding to see a sub-field of social work with passionate and dedicated members. Sport Social Work is a reminder to me of the versatility that defines the social work profession.

In my time with the Alliance, I’ve had the privilege of completing tasks to help grow the mission, vision, and values of the Alliance. I also had the chance to interact with a diverse range of fellow practicum students, student members, and professional members. Throughout these engagements, I’ve learned about the depth and breadth of what it takes to grow Sport Social Work. I’ve also shared first-hand in this growth. Some of the practicum activities I’ve completed include: maintaining the Alliance research center, sharing in the creation of the Alliance policy platform, developing a legislative tracker of existing policies impacting vulnerable athletes, collaborating on a membership drive to support the rebranding of the Alliance, brainstorming ideas for the soon to be announced Sport Social Work Month, and updating the Alliance job center.

The most valuable lessons I have learned in my placement with ASWIS is social workers are crucial in the field of sports. Another valuable lesson is that I can do my part once I am out in the field of social work to help athletes, even if not in a position geared specifically for sport social work. No matter what area of social work I make my focus, I can explore whether clients have athletics connections as a possible protective or risk factor.

I’ve also asked some of my fellow practicum students to share lessons they’ve learned from their placement with the Alliance. I asked these students to share the value in their ASWIS placement, the memories they will take away, and the types of activities they completed. Below is a breakdown of the responses:

Taylor Hayes – BSW Student at Ball State University

Being a practicum student to me is not necessarily about learning something new, it is about taking what you have learned over the last three years of undergrad and applying it into a professional setting. My placement with ASWIS provided a perfect platform for growing as a professional and applying social work competencies in a macro environment.

My most memorable experience is the current process of rebranding ASWIS. I took the lead on the collaboration with the logo redesign. I’ve worked hand-in-hand with the graphic designers and the ASWIS Executive Team. Knowing my efforts will provide a fresh face for the Alliance is priceless. It will be rewarding years from now to know my efforts shine in the logo and the ASWIS brand.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a variety of different macro tasks. Some of these tasks include: grant writing, social media marketing, membership drives, policy development, creating newsletters, website maintenance, etc.

Tamika Rhinehart, MSW – Former Student from the University of Southern Californi

Since connecting with ASWIS I have learned about the vastly different ways social workers can operate within sports culture. I’ve also seen the growing need for social workers are in sports.

My most memorable moment was meeting all of the members of the Executive Team in person for the first time. Before meeting with the team in person they have grown to understand and appreciate my skillset and who I am. This group of people was so passionate about the field of sport social work and they welcomed me to the team with open arms.

In my time with the Alliance, I have created a social media campaign to grow the exposure of the alliance, I have reviewed proposals for conference presentation, created form letters for multiple Alliance scenarios to be sent to membership, created surveys for numerous evaluations, kept track of membership, created a media clip list for certificate program, created radio marketing campaign for conference, found jobs for job center, created marketing merchandise, planned the 2018 conference, created marketing plans, and evaluated membership needs.

Madison Hale – MSW Student at Troy University

During my time at the ASWIS, I’ve established a greater appreciation and understanding for Sport Social Work. As part of my experience, I am learning to establish new networks and the inner workings of a macro-based placement.

So far I’ve had the opportunity to work with other practicum students, as well as the esteemed members of the alliance. I have gotten to work towards advocating for athletes and increasing resources available to them. Some of my specific tasks include: working on a biopsychosocial assessment, overseeing a website redesign, creating a Sport Social Work video, etc.

Deanna Daniels – MSW Student at the University of Nevada (Reno)

I have learned about the many needs of athletes and how we as a society need to see athletes as people and not stars. I have learned that many universities do not have programs implemented specifically for their athletes. I have learned how to engage with people that are not completely aware of the importance of providing services for mental health in sports.

I think the most memorable experience is working alongside Dr. Gill and being able to interact with so many people and learn so much about this field.

I have created a timeline of sports social work and the exceptional accomplishments that the members of ASWIS have achieved. I have written two blogs in regards to mental health and sports, I have created a needs assessment for athletes that are suffering from a sports-related injury. I have initiated the process of creating a CEU related to the 2015 sports social work conference.

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