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April 27, 2020

We are honoring social workers and the impact they have had in our society for generations. For their 65th anniversary, the National Association of Social Workers celebrated the work of social workers from all generations. Curry Senior Center is joining the celebration by recognizing social workers that make an impact in the lives of our seniors. 

Kathleen Mayeda and Scott Haitsuka are case managers at Curry Senior Center. They have touched the lives of seniors at Curry and many others in society. Kathleen has been working with Curry since November of 2018. She expressed that the highlight of her career is the opportunity to serve San Franciscans with other dedicated professionals to empower and enrich lives.

I have had the privilege to work with amazing people to advance service provision and care for the most vulnerable people in our community.” – Kathleen Mayeda

Some of the services she has been able to provide for clients includes stopping evictions, assisting in securing a person’s income so they can continue to live independently, training people with disabilities to obtain lucrative jobs, managing homes for young drug abusers and the mentally ill, and designing and implementing the transition from hospital to home programs to reduce rehospitalization.

Scott has been working at Curry for 2.5 years. He enjoys working with the committed and dedicated staff of social workers at Curry.

“My experience in social work has been tremendously rich and rewarding and in a variety of professional capacities with a focus on the health and well-being of the community.” – Scott Haitsuka

Scott has worked as a counselor in a residential treatment program, as a Program Coordinator working with LGBTQI older adults, and as a Case Manager working with individuals living with HIV/AIDS. At Curry Senior Center, he is a Behavioral Health Clinician where he holds a holistic perspective that focuses on the physical, emotional and behavioral well-being of older adults who reside in one of the most marginalized neighborhoods in San Francisco.

“Scott and Kathleen represent the best of our profession, but more importantly represent the work and dedication of the whole Case Management/Behavioral Health Department.”  – a Curry staff member

The role of case managers and social workers varies. They are often seen as the frontline in improving quality and patient experience. The day-to-day responsibilities of these professionals can include client visits, coordinating services for clients, attending meetings and training and more.

Kathleen and Scott discussed their most memorable moments while working as case managers.

“A case manager can work with a client for an extended time, exploring options, listening carefully, being creative, and then there is that moment when the goal the client wanted to meet actually is achieved. It might be that housing is found or that health is improved through effective case management.” – Kathleen

Scott described his most memorable moment as “seeing the day-to-day human connections clients make with other clients who may be otherwise socially isolated, including the wisdom and support they offer each other.”

Often social workers and case managers are motivated by the ability to impact and change lives. We asked Kathleen and Scott what motivates them.

Kathleen provided a quote from Jane Addams that motivates her – “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”

“The human condition fascinates me, including witnessing the strength and resilience of the individuals I work with, and the community as a whole really keeps me going.” – Scott 

The field of social work will continue to evolve and expand throughout the years in order to reduce economic inequality, increase access to health care, and combat racial, social, and economic injustice.

Kathleen believes that “social workers will assist people to adapt to the innovations of the future.” She went on to say that in the future, she believes, the field will implement new innovations in technology. Kathleen said, “given all the advances in technology, perhaps tiny computers will be implanted like a tattoo.” Advances in technology will enhance communication, reduce isolation, improve health care, and enhance living independently for as long as possible.

“I feel there is a huge need for new social workers in the area of aging.The transition into older adulthood comes with many challenges and many cope with loss i.e. loss of loved ones, loss of support systems, loss of one’s physical well-being, loss of one’s cognitive well-being, etc.” – Scott

Curry Senior Center will also be evolving with the social work field. We will soon become a field placement site for first and/or second year Master of Social Work (MSW) students enrolled at San Francisco State University. Students will be provided with the opportunity to apply theory learned in the classroom to real world situations with clients, organizations, and communities. At Curry Senior Center, students will be able to gain an understanding of the strengths and unique challenges of older adults from a holistic perspective, who reside in one of San Francisco’s most marginalized neighborhoods. Our goal at Curry is to prepare and empower future social workers.