The Caritas Club is a group on campus designed to give social work majors a space to come together with their experiences while also giving them an opportunity to educate other students about social work.
The co-presidents of this club are Junior Social Work Majors Michal Armao and Giuliana DeSavino. Dr. Kielty Turner, director of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program, is the advisor of the club.
About the Club
The club originally formed when the BSW Program started at Marywood, which has been a part of the school since the 1970s.
“Caritas is a social service kind of club aimed at building a community for the Bachelor of Social Work students, although other people are also welcome to participate,” said Turner.
Turner mentioned that in addition to building this community, the club also focuses heavily on social justice.
“It is aimed at issues around social justice, particularly the kinds of issues the clients of social work are often dealing with,” said Turner. “Social work is about vulnerable populations.”
Armao explained that this club helps spread the word about social work and what it entails.
“A lot of people don’t know how much you can do with social work—it’s not just working with children and youth, which is the stereotypical role,” said Armao, “Any place where there is an inequality, we can be there to help.”
Additionally, according to DeSavino, the club is very helpful in giving students a space to gather with one another to discuss a variety of topics.
“We’re separated by class, so we don’t really see much of anybody that is a freshman or sophomore or anything like that. Having the meetings is a time for us to come together and talk about classes or if anyone needs help,” DeSavino said.
Dr. Turner said she appreciates that this club is independently managed by the students.
“What I like is that it is student-run—that the students get to decide what kind of fundraising they’re going to do, what kind of activities that they are interested in and that it is a club that is not part of the required curriculum,” said Turner.
According to Turner, these activities can also vary each year depending on what interests the students.
“Typically, every year, students participate in events for veterans and the holiday service activities here on campus … whether it’s serving food or volunteering to gather clothing for people experiencing homelessness,” said Turner.
Future of the Club
As for the future of the club, the officers said they would like to grow the group and expand the type of activities they engage in.
“I think right now we would like to get more participation. I think it is hard because it is mostly social work majors and the social work program is pretty small at the BSW level,” said Armao.
Armao also added that she would like the club to engage in more activities on campus that more people could get involved in instead of just small club activities.
Turner hopes that in the club’s future, students will become more involved in their community.
“I hope that the students embrace the club as an opportunity to be actively engaged in their community; not as just part of your job as a social worker, but as your passion,” said Turner.
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