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MCC Hero: Felicia Pendleton ’18

| Category: MCC Heroes

Felicia Pendleton: Assistant Family Service Worker

Since graduating from MCC, how have you built on your educational foundation?
I graduated from MCC in 2018 with my associate degree in Sociology. Since then I have earned my bachelor’s degree from Felician University class of 2020 and recently applied to Montclair State University for my Master’s in Child Advocacy. Attending MCC was a wonderful and enriching experience. I made lifelong friends along the way.

Why did you select a career in social work?
I selected a career in social work because I have always wanted to help people. I love children. There are so many children out here who need someone to advocate for them. I will advocate for these children. Children can’t protect themselves; it is our duty as parents to be there for them, cherish them, and guide them. During COVID-19 many children are without food and proper resources. Children are working through their emotions trying to understand what exactly is going on in the world. Social workers can help families get food and offer programs that can help children work through their emotions and stay calm.

You are considered an essential worker. What is your current occupation and what duties do you perform?
I am an Assistant Family Service Worker for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Some duties I have are to supervise visits between parents and their children. I assist my coworkers if a call comes in of claims of domestic violence – we always have a buddy for safety. We provide services to help families improve their lives including providing an evaluation of a client’s needs. We arrange for assistance programs, such as affordable housing or daycare, assist clients with home and money management, set up medical or dental appointments, and provide planning services and parenting techniques. We provide transportation for clients and assist families in setting goals, and we monitor their progress. We act as an advocate for children and families and ensure their safety and security. It is rewarding because we truly help individuals get their lives back. We help families become complete. Seeing smiles on the children’s faces warms my heart.

What professional challenges have you faced during COVID-19?
Some challenges that we have faced during COVID-19 are not being able to physically interact with clients. Some clients do not have access to cellphones and the internet so it’s difficult to be in contact with them and provide that support.

What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker?
As a social worker, I hope to bring some light into the life of some families. We know we cannot save everyone, even though we wish we could, but if we reunify a child with a parent, then it is worth it. We try to make sure children know they are not alone, and they are loved, and we try to enhance the well-being and empower individuals who are living in poverty and feeling oppressed.

What message would you share with others regarding showing acts of kindness during this time?
Let people know they are not alone, and we all are being affected by this pandemic. Do not give up hope. Whether it be donating to a food bank or checking in on your elderly neighbor, we all are in this fight together. Stay strong and be well. Remember this will not last forever.