Changing how society views offenders
"I see social work as a force for social change," says Chris Titus MSW '11.
Chris intends to focus his career on a population often overlooked: juvenile and adult offenders and ex-offenders.
He volunteers at the Prison Support Network (PSN), a Binghamton graduate student organization that helps those incarcerated nationwide. He joined PSN during his first MSW field internship. That experience brought Chris face to face with youth in New York's juvenile rehabilitation system at MacCormick Secure Center in Tompkins County.
"MacCormick gave me a good opportunity to work with a population I really care about," Chris explains. "Since it's a closed facility, I also got to see things most people don't."
During his second field training, Chris was among the first University interns to work on the SHARE project, a multidisciplinary effort designed to create a safer school environment for children across Broome County.
"SHARE was an invaluable experience. I learned how to engage with different partners and how to set up a program," Chris says. "It also helped me understand the clinical science of therapy and how important it is to understand the culture of the population you're trying to help."
Chris gained experience writing grant proposals through his coursework and intends to use that skill securing grant funding for PSN's Off magazine, which publishes articles, essays, poetry and artwork created by prisoners across the country. He also hopes to obtain a grant for another group he volunteers with, the Broome County Jail Project, which assists inmates at the county jail.
"I became a social worker to change the way we deal with the social issue of crime and how we look at offenders and ex-offenders," he explains.
He is well on his way!