Oxford Home for Children: Learn How Walden Grads Are Supporting Kids and Each Other
“I believe that each child we can help, each life we can touch, can make a lasting impact,” says Amy Still, program director of direct care and independent living for the Oxford Home for Children in North Carolina. Oxford Home’s mission is exactly that: To provide a safe, nurturing home for children in need, with opportunities to maximize their potential.
Oxford Home offers residential care services to children and families and an independent living program for young adults ages 18 to 21. Still, who has a 27-year social work career and a doctorate, was brought in to bring the Oxford Home into the future. However, she felt like something was holding her back.
She says, “I actually have a doctoral degree from another program, but I had not been able to get my license.” Still had the education and the experience, but she was focused on becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). “I could have just let it go, but I wanted it,” she says.
Program Clinical Coordinator Winter Watson is a longtime Oxford Home staff member. When Still hired her for the coordinator position, Watson was studying to earn her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree online at Walden University. “I watched Winter go through the program,” says Still. “She had such a positive experience. She talked to me about the classes and what it was like.”
Still learned that Walden’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). She knew that an MSW from Walden would meet North Carolina’s requirements for licensure. She also noted, “I liked the flexibility of an online program because I have a very busy schedule and being able to fit classes around that schedule was very important to me.”
But Still recalls thinking, “I can’t believe I’m going back to school again,” with a laugh. Nonetheless, she enrolled at Walden, and now both Still and Watson are MSW graduates.
The duo inspired more Oxford Home team members to enter an online social work degree program at Walden. Intern Kayla North decided to pursue her MSW degree and has since graduated. She is now Oxford Home’s intake coordinator, admissions.
Octavia Ledlow and her husband are Oxford Home house parents. Ledlow decided she wanted to start her education and chose Walden’s online BS in Human Services program. Ledlow is still a student at Walden, and all four continue to lead the important work at Oxford Home together.
“I’ve been in the field for a long time,” notes Still, but she found that Walden’s MSW degree program helped her focus on the things that are important. “It’s made me a better program director, made me a better person,” she shares.
“I was really proud of being part of a university that truly believes in social change,” she says.
Creating a Better Space
As part of that commitment, Walden partners with alumni and students who are living out their mission of positive social change to provide Acts for Good.
Walden’s Act for Good for the Oxford Home for Children is to donate $25,000 in materials, equipment, and furniture to reclaim an indoor gym space at the residential care campus as well as install a Walden Community Library. Still says, “I’m envisioning this as a family-fun atmosphere where the kids can hang out and just be kids.” She says that couches, a table, new paint, a reading area, and a video game area will turn the space into a place where everyone at the Oxford Home will enjoy spending time.
When asked if she has any advice for future Walden students—whether they are her co-workers or the kids they serve—Still says, “There’s a way to get an education. I had some rough beginnings myself. I’m completely grateful that I’ve always been able to find a way to go to school and get my education. People need to follow their dreams. If it’s something you really want, work for it. “
As for her future at the Oxford Home, she maintains, “The mission is to continue to serve as many youth and young adults as we can in our program.” She foresees continuing the flagship residential program while also expanding into more community-based services in the near future, such as providing a family resource center with spaces for therapists and parenting programs.
“I truly believe what Maya Angelou said: ‘The world is changed one child at a time,’” Still says. “It’s been my mission. It’s my calling.”
Serve the Greater Good With a Degree in Social Work and Human Services
If you want to help children, families, and adults in need, consider a career in social work or human services. While there are many similarities between social work and human services, licensure is a key difference. Walden is an accredited university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in social work and in human services.
Walden’s online Master of Social Work program allows you to customize your education by choosing elective courses from five MSW focus areas: Addictions, Child and Family, Healthcare, Military, and Trauma. You can even earn an embedded social work certificate while studying for your MSW.
Walden’s online learning platform lets you earn an MSW degree or bachelor’s degree online while you stay engaged in your career and enjoy your personal life. And as a working professional, you can apply what you’re learning in your current role. If your goal is to build a rewarding career in the fields of social work and human services, let Walden help you become an agent of social change who creates innovative solutions to today’s challenges.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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