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“Employee Spotlight” with Amy Clarke, MSW, Care Manager
Amy Clarke, MSW, Care Manager
“It was the people who I had in my life that saw my skill and the love I have to help people that guided me to the field of Social Work.”
Amy Clarke grew up in a small town in Orange County, New York. During her early childhood years, she found herself running with the guys in the woods, climbing trees, and enjoying the mud!! She found a love for nature and animals. From an early age Amy shared that she gravitated towards the kids that were seen as outcasts in school and social groups. Amy shared the reason for this “pull” – she said, “I saw something special in them and found lifelong friends. I got to see life in a different way and through different perspectives, which was one of the fundamental reasons why Social Work was for me.”
She graduated from Plattsburgh University with my BSW and Stony Brook with her MSW. It was the people Amy says, who were in her life – gave her the confidence in her skills combined with her love of helping people that guided her on her path.
Let’s hear from Amy as she shares her journey with us.
What got you fired up about the field of Social Work and human services?
I think that I had some life experiences that introduced me to the challenges that different people and families experience.
Before heading off to school, I was hired by Rockland County to work in a day program for individuals with mental health needs, and this just ignited my love for the field. I was able to work with people from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences and each person has enriched my life just a little more.
I am an advocate. Not only do I advocate for those in need but this caring and compassion also me an opportunity to care for animals too. My passion has brought me into working as with foster agencies for dogs. I helped re-home them which is exactly and amazingly how Social Work got started in the 1800s.
How did you find Jawonio and when did you begin your career at Jawonio?
I was looking to relocate back to Rockland County from North Carolina. There was a job opening posted on Indeed and I applied. I spoke with Katie Ross and Jane Mullin at the time, and I just knew that Jawonio was the right place for me.
Tell us about working as a team at Jawonio….
I can tell you that after 4 and a half years here, the best part of my work at Jawonio is the respect, collaboration and the support we give each other.
We listen to each other, validate and exchange feelings; challenge each other to think outside the box and it keeps me inspired every day for the people we help support.
For those who don’t know what Care Management Services are can you share what the focus and mission is, and who you support?
Care Management is more than two words on paper. We are people that fill in the gaps when the system doesn’t have a solution. As professionals, we take a holistic approach to each person and try to meet their individual needs.
The participants look to our Jawonio care managers to be available when others are not. We are in the homes and the lives of our participants. We provide crisis intervention, emotional support and sometimes what we do is very simple and compassionate, that someone may need us just to listen.
Can you tell us about any one story that shows the importance and impact of care management?
One of my co-workers has a member that has serious medical issues. The services they needed were beyond what is usually provided by a care manager. As all of us do, we want to support and help a person succeed and become as independent as possible and with dignity. Staff reached out to other providers and insurance companies’ day after day, week after week to provide assistance. There were a series of insurance denials, hitting brick walls, and being told that the participant was too critical for any higher level of service. My co-worker continues to support the member the best she can, and as well as continuing to push the providers to step up.
What would happen if care management at Jawonio didn’t exist?
There are no words to describe that potential crisis. There would be hundreds of people in the community that would have no food or housing; an inability to acquire proper medication, and many would be homeless. The key for us is to make sure the community knows that we can accomplish almost superhuman solutions to find the best ways for a person to begin their journey to a better life.
Why isn’t there enough acknowledgement and recognition of your work?
That’s a really important question! As a team we support each other and we cheer each other on all the time. There are so many lives we save on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. And we continue to stay in touch and support them on their journey. Our profession and our work is under the radar and it would be great to get the recognition for giving someone a path to a healthier and happier life, or getting their life back.
Your profession is very intense and challenging of course. What do you do to decompress and relax?
Well, first is spending time with my dog Storm gardening of all kids, veggies and flowers, arts, and crafts painting, resin cups and anything I can find on Pinterest.
We are a few weeks from the summer, what are you most looking forward to?
Swimming in the lake. I feel relaxed and at peace listening to the water and just being disconnected from things.