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Open Mic Night! #MacroSW Chat July 23 at 9pm EST

Implicit Bias in Social Work: #MacroSW Chat – June 25, 2015

Special Offer for participants of #MacroSW chat 6/11/2015 on Financial Social Work

Financial Social Work: An Emergent Macro Practice Discipline #MacroSW 9/11/2015 9PM EST


IMG_2650-2 LC photo close up

Join #MacroSW Twitter chat partner Sunya Folayan,MSW, ACSW @SunyaFolayan as she interviews her mentor and friend Reeta Wolfsohn, MSW, CMSW @FinancialMSW, the visionary founder of Financial Social Work and the Financial Therapy Network.

Financial Social Work is an emergent Macro practice discipline that is gaining traction within the profession. Financial Social Work is now in the new Oxford Encyclopedia of Social Work.The mission of Financial Social Work (FSW) is to empower social workers and their clients to establish healthy money habits that lead to long-term financial security. FSW’s interactive, introspective behavioral model is strengths based and heavily psychosocial. The certification and client programs incorporate an on-going process of education, motivation and support which contribute to personal growth and improved financial well-being.

The Financial Therapy Network  is where Financial Wellness Begins for consumers. The network includes:

– An online self-help program “My Money Myself” based on the philosophy of Financial Social Work.

– Online Financial Support Groups that offer unique and life changing occasions for women to spend time in a safe and supportive environment with others in similar circumstances.

Discussion questions-

1. What is Financial Social Work?
2. How is Financial Social Work an emergent macro practice discipline?
3. How do advocacy, social justice and research fit into the discipline of Financial Social Work?
4. What skills are needed to be an effective financial social worker?
5. How is Financial social work being integrated into professional schools of
social work?
6. What are the goals of the Center for Financial Social Work?
7. What will be the impact of FSW on the profession of social work?

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held bimonthly on Twitter on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). For more information, chat schedule, and chat archives check out: https://macrosw.wordpress.com

Our collaborators include:

– Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration (ACOSA), @acosaorg
– Karen Zgoda, MSW, LCSW, Instructor of Social Work at Bridgewater State University, @karenzgoda
– The Macro Social Work Student Network, @MSWSN
– Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), @TheNSWM
– Rachel West, The Political Social Worker, @poliSW
– University at Buffalo School of Social Work, @ubssw
– University of Southern California School of Social Work, @mswatusc
– Sunya Folayan, MSW, ACSW, founder/executive director, The Empowerment Project, Inc., @SunyaFolayan
– Laurel Hitchcock, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham,@Laurelhitchcock


Interview with Rita Wolfsohn

Gillen, M. & Loeffler, D.N. (2012). Financial literacy and social work students: Knowledge is power. Journal of Financial Therapy. Retrieved May 26, 2015 from http://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1037&context=jft

Xiao, J. J., Newman, B.M., Prochaska, J.M., Leon, B., Bassett, R.L.., & Johnson, J.L. (2004). Applying the transtheoretical model of change to consumer debt behavior. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 15 (2): 89–100. Retrieved May 26, 2015 from http://afcpe.org/assets/pdf/vol1529.pdf

5 Things Every New Social Worker Needs To Know About Money

Episode 126 – Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey and Robin McKinney: Financial Social Work: Advancing the Economic Stability and Capability of Individuals, Families, and Communities < a podcast about how the University of Maryland has created a Financial Social Work initiative.

Financial Wellness as a Social Work Specialty webinar (free for NASW members, $30 fee for non NASW members)

Infographic: Financial Social Work

What every social worker needs to know about financial self care 

Join in for Career Building Skills for Social Workers during the #MacroSW chat May 14 @9pm EST

Social work is a dynamic and evolving profession and macropractice is at the forefront of change. Click on the link below and make plans to join us for a lively and timely discussion. Tweet in to #MacroSW Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 9PM EST.


Twitter chat on #MacroSW Thursday March 12: Commentary on Inequality for All

Join me tonight at 9 pm EST as I join the #MacroSW Twitterchat team to discuss an important practice and policy issue.  We will discuss our reactions to the film “Inequality For All”  and the implications for social work and human services. You will find information regarding the film and about #MacroSW below:


About #MacroSW

Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis.

The University of Southern California School of Social Work (@MSWatUSC) hosts the #MacroSW Twitter chat in partnership with a number of esteemed community practice organizations and individual macro social workers. The chats are held bimonthly on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST).

Our collaborators include:

  • University at Buffalo School of Social Work (@ubssw)
  • Karen Zgoda, Instructor at Bridgewater State University (@karenzgoda)
  • Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (@acosaorg)
  • The Network for Social Work Management (@TheNSWM)
  • Sunya Folayan, MSW, ACSW, founder/executive director, The Empowerment Project, Inc. (@SunyaFolayan)

We look forward to tweeting with you there.

Advancing Macro Social Work Practice via Technology (#MacroSW)

One of the invaluable resources available to me as I refine and redefine my social work practice has been the Twitter dialogues focusing on elements of macro practice #MacroSW. It’s true, I have abandoned TGIT for the fast paced, information packed and thought provoking commentary of social workers from around the country engaged in critical practice. Indeed, there is a revolution of sorts going on, as social work asserts its’ multi-faceted complexity and reclaims its’ roots via technology. This week, Karen Zgoda (@Karenzgoda) has provided many resources in the link below to engage macro practice discussions for students, and seasoned professionals alike. I’m thrilled to be a part of the #MacroSW Twitterverse, and honored to be part of this team. It’s really wonderful having a new set of friends and allies in this work. Technology, especially when used to empower for positive social change- is an awesome thing!

Please click on the link below for timely resources and to get a sense of the impact of over 300 tweets- micro comments reflecting the major work, and a shift in the significance of this work- within our profession.


The “Third Space” in my creative practice

As a social work practitioner,( macro practice field instructor, non-profit manager and teaching artist), I have developed a fairly sophisticated toolkit over the years: intervention techniques, a practice philosophy, theoretical framework(s), professional relationships, world class training, evaluation strategies, international connections, and the autonomy that comes with the ability to work in my own organization (The Empowerment Project, Inc.). At the center of my work is an arts-based creative practice which enables me to maintain a vision of empowering change in the lives of women, girls and families. I spend a lot of time in the “Third Space.”
The term “Third Space” describes “the sets of relationships forged by the arts and the context these relationships create for teaching and learning”(Hannula, 2001). It’s the atmosphere in a learning environment (i.e. my practice environment) where people are deeply engaged and able to take risks in a creative process. Third space as an arts concept is also used to describe how meaning exists from multiple perspectives. For me, that means the perspective from the community, from the programs and artwork that is created as well as in the interaction between our community members and what we are creating. It takes a lot of imagination on everyone’s part to envision and enact social change. Another third space is created in the creation of artwork. I use the skills I have developed as a fiber artist to create textural artifacts that are deeply layered with symbolic metaphor about life, meditation and the unfinished nature of things. I want to leave something tangible behind, a trail illustrating how I tried out and explored new ideas and ways of being. When I work collaboratively as a musician, such as with other drummers and dancers- we enter this space together to create OUR work of art. We take on new ways of being, try on new roles and use our imaginations to create something greater than any of us could do alone.
It is also in the third space that I am inspired to leverage the relationships we are forging in our organization’s contemplative community garden, where we have planted an urban food forest; our social justice and arts based training institute to train grassroots community members how to heal the wounds of intimate partner violence, and it’s in the voices of the female veterans who are lending their voices to a narrative therapeutic quilting project.

Sunya Folayan in the sanctuary of  her studio,  bringing a textile mediation piece to life.

Sunya Folayan in her studio, working on a textile mediation piece.

I live, love and work in the third space. It’s integrated into my professional and personal life, and I have found that for me, a Black woman whose cultural role is to WORK at all costs- it’s a revolutionary act. I believe that staying in this pocket and remaining rooted in the belief and faith of a creative way of being could even change the world.
(Special thanks to Carrie Brummer at ArtistThink.com for her inspiration regarding this post.)
Hannula, M. (2001)Third space: A merry-go-round of opportunity. Kaisma Magazine, 12.

3 Steps to Finding Work-Life-Creative Life Balance

Thoughts on that elusive mix: Work-Life-Creative Balance.

The Artist's Road

We hear a lot in today’s world about work-life balance. Often we hear it from employers who tell us what a high management priority it is and then hire supervisors who daily act in ways counter to that philosophy. But we should never rely on others to provide us balance in life; it is incumbent upon ourselves to establish that balance. That is even more true for creatives, who must find a work-life-creative life balance.

My Portland, Oregon, interview subject in Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road, Erin Ergenbright, shared her struggle with balancing her work as a creative writing instructor, her obligations to friends and social causes, and her creative writing. My Portland, Oregon, interview subject in Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road, Erin Ergenbright, shared her struggle with balancing her work as a creative writing instructor, her obligations to friends and social causes, and her creative writing.

Every artist I interviewed on the cross-country road trip described in Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road struggled with finding a work-life-creative life balance. This was even true for those “living the dream,” who supported…

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Textured Conversations

I find a certain comfort in cloth. I think of the pride my mother took in ironing the brand spanking new Dan River cotton blend dresses that I wore in elementary school; the signature designer pieces she would magically create for me to wear throughout junior and senior high school…the handmade blanket my (Great) Aunt Ethel gave me when I started college.I think of the beauty of the Ashoke cloth with its magical metallic threads- my first investment cloth purchased from Nigeria; …and the handmade silk scarves and the indigo and walnut natural- dyed  meditation pieces I have made. The *images, textures and feelings have helped to ground and define me, so its no surprise that texture, color, and pattern have found their way into my work.

This space is for conversation- the ones I have with myself and those I engage in with others to discuss the complexities of our lives…as women, women of color, artists, practitioners/students of life and as observers of the human experience. Cloth for me is a metaphor for comfort, complexity, the weaving together of ideas, and the unraveling that life inevitably brings to all.

 I invite you to join me in this space for dialogue and musings; textured conversations about the nature of it all.photo 2

*Hand-dyed and hand painted silk; Detail of untitled work.  2014 Sunya Folayan