Departments team up for Networking with Non-profits event

Makaio Smith, News reporter

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article did not mention the Department of Social Work’s role in the event. The Herald regrets this error.

On Sept. 20, 2021, the Department of Sociology and Criminology and the Department of Social Work held a Networking with Non-profits event to help students learn about different nonprofit agencies including Action and Family Enrichment on. 

The event was held in order to help students learn about various nonprofit agencies and what they do. 

Holli Drummond, department head of sociology and criminology said she came up with the idea to host a networking event with the help of Patricia Desrosiers, department head of social work.

“As a social worker we’re always trying to educate the public about services that are available, even our students need to learn about the different nonprofit agencies that are available to help out clients,” Desrosiers said. “It’s important to us that students can get a taste of what these agencies are like and be able to make a more informed decision about what field placement they may like.”

Various agencies that Desrosiers and Drummond have worked with were asked to speak at the event. While there have been career expos through the social work department in the past, those only focused on child welfare services agencies. 

This event focused on a variety of nonprofit agencies. Several WKU alumni showed up with their own organizations to speak.

Sydney Jones, a WKU alumna, spoke about her own nonprofit agency that she started herself.

“After my job at the community center ended, I interned at the CDW office and a foster care agency as well. The same kids that I had to kick out of the community center were coming into foster care, going into juvenile detention center and those types of things.” Jones said. “That’s when I knew I had to do something different and created Action.”

Action is a nonprofit organization for teenagers. It was originally created as a one on one mentoring program, but has moved on to group mentoring  because the organization  felt that teenagers responded better to that sort of environment. The mentors lead groups on things such as self love, self care and independent living.

Lee Fowlkes, an organizational leader for the Family Enrichment Center and Hannah Estes, an intern at the Family Enrichment Center, spoke to students about their organization and what they do for the community.

“Family Enrichment is designed to empower families and prevent child abuse. We have a variety of services that we offer,” Estes said. “A child care facility, parenting classes, divorce classes, in-home parenting class, supervised visits, and adoption training and support.” 

Family Enrichment tackles the prevention and recognition of child abuse. They help new parents that are expecting a baby up until that child is in kindergarten to help the parents realize signs of abuse, so that they won’t do it. They also act as the middle man for supervised visits for parents who have lost custody of a child, to make sure every visitation is done safely and so that eventually the parents will be able to visit the child without supervision at some point.

Tori Henninger is the Executive director for Brass, Inc., which is a domestic violence program that serves the ten county Brad region. They are a shelter service program that helps people who are victims of domestic violence flee their abusive relationship. They are also partnered with Family Enrichment.

“We run a twenty-four hour seven day a week shelter, we have three very successful housing programs that provide rental assistance to individuals after that have been in a Brass shelter, we provide court advocacy for individuals, and we have a crisis hotline,” Henninger said. “Our responsibility is to advocate for individuals who have been in abusive relationships and help them get back on the path to self-sufficiency, stability, and a life from abuse.”

Brass, Inc. is a nonprofit agency that you typically hear about or find when you need it. Their crisis line is one of the most well known crisis numbers in our region. 

All of the nonprofit agencies that came did an amazing job at explain what their agencies do and how important each of them are. There was also a really good turn out of interested students. 

“We’ll probably have another event like this maybe in the spring or maybe next year,” Desrosiers said. “Considering the interest and the great turn out today, I think it’s worth having at least once a year, maybe twice.” 

News reporter Makaio Smith can be reached [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MakaioSmith