Barry University School of Social Work
Calendar  August 2018 Issue

BUSSW First-ever Trauma-Informed Clinical Practice Certification with Survivors of Sex Trafficking

This past spring, Professor Sambra Zaoui pioneered the first-ever “Advanced Trauma-Informed Clinical Practice Certification with Survivors of Sex Trafficking” for social work and mental health practitioners. Among those in attendance were PhD’s, LCSW, LMHC, MSW’s and PsyD’s. Zaoui saw a need for practitioners to be specifically trained in working with survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation from a trauma-informed interventive stance.

According to Zaoui, this is “the most innovative, cutting-edge research on complex trauma and its impact on our neurobiology, mind, emotions and body by bridging the latest research on survivors of sexual trauma and trafficking and thoroughly integrating the voices and expertise of survivor leaders who have experienced trafficking. I developed a curriculum that guides the therapeutic community in the work that needs to be accomplished.”

As an active seasoned practitioner, trauma professional and EMDR therapist, as well as having had the privilege of being trained and inspired by the most reputable trauma professionals of her time, such as, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Peter Levine, and Dr. Pat O’gden, Zaoui threaded her expertise and created a curriculum that serves to equip master level professionals with indispensable core knowledge relevant to working with this population. The response: Overwhelmingly positive!

This is what some participants had to say:

“This should be a requirement for the entire mental health community as long as they encounter clients with trauma (everyone.)”

“Having a love for survivors is absolutely necessary for the healing. I was truly inspired to be a more effective clinician.”

“Very intense, with real world people and scenarios. I left the workshop more confident with working with this population.”

“A powerful Training that has paved the way to upcoming sessions with clients.”

If you would like to register for the upcoming session on Dec. 11-12 (Beginner) and Dec. 17-18 (Advanced), please email Professor Sambra Zaoui at

The Heart of Experiential Art is Community

Barry University’s School of Social Work recently collaborated with Miami Gardens High School students to participate in an experiential arts workshop. Barry MSW students Johanna Rodriquez, Shirley Roseman and Becky Flowers joined faculty member Dr. Heidi LaPorte and Student Services Coordinator Yvonne Alonso in working with students on the value of expressive art.

Miami Gardens High School is a tuition free charter school partnering with Academic Learning Solutions to assist non-traditional high school students between the ages of 16 and 21 to fulfill the requirements needed to obtain a high school diploma rather than obtaining a General Equivalency Diploma. The school provides a structured academic environment with individualized online instruction. Teachers provided students with the support they need to gain the credits necessary to complete high school. The principal, Porshia Jones, is deeply committed to the academic success of the students and is also invested in them as individuals. The school has both a morning session (7 a.m.-noon) and an afternoon session (noon–5 p.m.) in order to accommodate family and work commitments of the students.

This ongoing collaboration will continue throughout the 2018-19 Academic Year. Additionally, the School of Social Work anticipates future collaboration with other community-based partners and student internship sites that educate and promote the meaning and value of integrative art therapy.

Congratulations to the 2018 CHRSJ Student Advocate Awardees

On behalf of the School of Social Work and The Center for Human Rights & Social Justice (CHRSJ), we are delighted to congratulate Paola Montenegro and Paris Razor for receiving the Student Advocate Award.

Their passion and commitment to activism, focused on a range of critical social justice issues, serve as an inspiration to students across the Barry University Campus. As active student leaders involved in consciousness raising as well as social and political activism, they have helped instigate community and state level change. Their efforts align with the mission of the CHRSJ and our commitment to promote wellness in marginalized communities — locally and globally.

About the Awardees

Paris Razor

Paris Razor is a third-year English major specializing in literature and professional writing. A Barry Service Corps Fellow, she works with the Student/Farmworker Alliance as a steering committee member to advocate the rights of farmworkers. Dedicated to human rights and social justice, she has made it a priority in her life to be active in her community.

Paola Montenegro

Paola Montenegro’s most significant accomplishment as a civically engaged student leader is her contribution to the development of community service programs and projects, including: (1) the growth of collaborative and long-term community partnerships; (2) student recruitment and financial support of students’ participation in service programs; and (3) community and campus education efforts focused on human and environmental rights. Her leadership in the Alternative Breaks Executive Board led to the creation of two new programs with deep community partnerships dedicated to long-term social change: the Port-de-Paix, Haiti Solidarity Partnership and the McAllen, Texas Border Encounter.

Barry University Students Take a Stance and March for Social Justice

By Dr. Michael Alicea

Students from Barry University’s School of Social Work had the opportunity to participate in a June 30 march with a message of “families belong together.” The march was in response to the Trump administration’s implementation of its "zero tolerance" policy toward undocumented immigrants, prompting the separation of thousands of children from their parents. Students at the march called for the immediate reunification of migrant families and an end to family detentions and separations. The students called for separated migrant families to be reunited immediately, that the Trump administration end family detentions, and that the government end its “zero tolerance” policy. Saturday's protests drew people from both sides of the aisle. Our Barry students braved the summer heat and marched and contributed to a resounding message that we all have an obligation as social workers to uphold and safeguard our commitment to those who do not have a voice, in light of the current political climate created by the Trump administration. Many attendees at the march carried signs, some demanding a change to the administration's policy, others celebrating the contributions that many immigrants have made to our country.

More than 2,500 undocumented children were separated from their parents in the weeks since the zero tolerance policy took effect. Under the policy initiated by the Trump administration, any adult and/or undocumented child caught crossing the border illegally faced prosecution, and children would be subsequently sent to a federal shelter all over the United States. The indignation over the separations has been at a fever pitch for many weeks. The anger hasn't abated either, even after President Trump signed an executive order June 20 reversing the family separation policy.

The days that followed after the order was signed, saw only that a small number of children had been reunited with their parents, meaning that more than 2,000 children were still in an indeterminate state, feeding the furor and raising questions about whether the government actually had a plan to reunify families. Every single sensational sound bite and polarizing press release showcasing President Trump’s racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist remark highlights how important our role as social workers and agents of change embodies the core of who we are and the important role that we all play and are charged with in meeting our social work perspective for change.

As our students participated and represented our University and joined the ranks of over 650,000 students and activist across the nation, it’s important that we reflect deeply about the enormous responsibilities that comes with being recognized as a social worker and our continual obligation to social justice that our profession epitomizes. It’s important that as social workers to remember our pledge to always combat racism, homophobia, xenophobia and sexism no matter where it shows up, especially now more than ever.

Dr. Tisa McGhee featured on This Week in South Florida

Dr. McGhee was recently invited to participate in the roundtable on “This Week in South Florida” with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg on WPLG. She was one of three panelists discussing the proposed soccer stadium, park, shopping center at Mel Reese Community Center, and the senate race. She was invited based on her knowledge & research of Overtown, her participation on various boards in Miami-Dade, and her community action work.

Watch the interview

Barry Represented Among Volunteers Packing Meals for Guatemalan Children

Last April, more than 550 South Florida volunteers gathered to pack meals for starving children in Guatemala. Over a two-day period, volunteers — including a good number from the School of Social Work — packed 150 meals. As a result, 411 children will receive food every day for a year.

Wearing hairnets and circling around tables that functioned as assembly lines, volunteers packaged and loaded individual meals with cups of white rice and soy pellets, scoops of freeze-dried vegetables, and vitamins that provide critical nutrition for malnourished children. Cheers erupted after every box was filled during each two-hour packing session.

Food For The Poor, the international relief and development organization, organized the food-packing event in partnership with Feed My Starving Children, a Christian nonprofit organization that sends prepackaged meals to more than 70 countries.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma thanked volunteers and sponsors for the loving service provided to families in Guatemala through the charity and Feed My Starving Children.

"When you come here to pack, it is not just a matter of doing good, it is a matter of saving lives," Aloma said. "It is a matter of saving mothers the heartache of seeing their children stunted in growth, both mentally and physically, because they don't have enough food to eat."

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