Empowering Youth as a School Social Worker
Charmayne Bellamy, MSW ’20
When Charmayne Bellamy began exploring the possibility of pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, her first thought was the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Four Corners MSW Program. Originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, she was familiar with the program in nearby Durango, Colorado. But after moving to California and then Arizona, the MSW@Denver online program became the better option, as it could move along with her.
Bellamy’s field internships included a foster care agency in Oakland, California, and a faith-based therapeutic group home serving adolescent victims of sexual exploitation in Glendale, Arizona. “The two placements have exposed me to social issues that are particularly prevalent in those geographical areas,” Bellamy says. “Having the opportunity to participate in two separate internships in two different states has prepared to me look at the big picture.”
“Sometimes as social workers concentrating in the clinical mental health and trauma realm, we may only see issues affecting a single person, but the same issue could be affecting multiple people in different places,” Bellamy explains. “As a social worker it is important to look at what needs to change on a much larger scale to decrease disparities and increase access to services and resources.” The program’s Power, Privilege and Oppression course was particularly meaningful, Bellamy says, because it opened students’ eyes to their own implicit biases and privileges.
Bellamy will graduate in June 2020 with a concentration in Mental Health & Trauma and plans to become a school social worker. Although Bellamy’s social work career has been primarily focused at the micro level, the MSW@Denver program prepared her to work across the micro–macro spectrum, she says.
“I would like to be in a setting where I can intervene, empower and build strength to encourage youth to achieve their goals and strive for more.”