Advocacy - A Ripple Effect

An interview with Rob Lucio, by Shercee Barrett, SSWAA Intern

Robert Lucio is a well-established social work advocate and has dedicated over fifteen years working primarily with teen parents and soon after moved to higher education doing research within school social work. Mr. Lucio is now serving on the Legislative Chair for SSWAA and is on the Board of Directors as the Standards & Practice Representative. Throughout his numerous involvements, Mr. Lucio continues to support school social workers in order to better the education system.

On June 29th and 30th, the School Social Work Association of America is hosting its 23rd National School Social Work Conference - Virtual Edition. This conference boasts an agenda full of powerful speakers on topics related to School Social Work service delivery in light of COVID-19. In the following interview, Mr. Lucio shares his insight of his journey as a school social worker and how his co-presenters, Emilie Souhrada (Iowa) and Mary Stevens-Krogh (Oregon), will be discussing the role that school social workers play in advocacy in their session titled, Advocacy in Action: Building our Identity and Agency to Impact Change.

Can you give us a summary of your presentation for the virtual conference?

Our objectives are for participants to:

· Articulate their role as a school social worker and the impact of school social work services on student success;

· Identify action steps within the 3 tiers of school social work advocacy;

· Define the components of the art and the science of advocacy; and

· Create a personal advocacy action plan.

What will be 2-3 "take-aways" that individuals attending your session can expect?

Our presentation highlights the skills and steps needed to begin making change happen. It is important for school social workers to identify where they are at (current place), where they want to be (change they want to happen), and how to get there (advocacy actions). We all have roles to play when it comes to advocacy, from individual advocacy to macro level practice, at our local districts all the way to national. It does not matter where you are on the spectrum as long as you are. Taking time to evaluate ourselves and where we best fit (based on our time, skills, resources) to be part of working toward addressing the issues critical for SSW. After this presentation we hope that school social workers can identify the issue(s) they want to address and begin to develop concrete action steps to begin addressing change.