A senior at The College of New Rochelle has been named Student of the Year by the Westchester Division of the National Association of Social Workers.
Areli Dominguez SAS'14 received the award March 27, during the annual Westchester Celebration of Social Work Awards Dinner, at the Davenport Club in New Rochelle.
NASW presents this award to "culturally competent individuals who not only commit themselves to advocacy but also demonstrate an interest in learning and improving others" quality of life." Dominguez received this award on the basis of her activities with four social service organizations during Fall 2013.
As a case manager at AmeriCorps Westhab Services, Dominguez worked and provided services at a family homeless shelter. While interning at United Community Center of Westchester, Dominguez helped fill out paperwork for families applying for food stamps.
Dr. Judy Gordon, Professor of Social Work, nominated Dominguez for the award. She said that as an intern for Coachman Family Center in White Plains, Dominguez has worked effectively to help clients find permanent housing. "Given her excellent bilingual skills and as the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, she is able to work effectively with Latino non-English-speaking clients, many of whom are recent immigrants, and identify the unique challenges they face as they seek more stability in their lives."
Dominguez has been involved in community service since she was in high school For part of 2006 through 2012, she volunteered at the White Plains Youth Bureau in a program called ACE – Achieving Competence Through Education. Through this program, she tutored children in elementary and middle school, attended feeding programs for the homeless, and was involved in other special charitable events.
"We are proud of her achievements and look forward to welcoming her as a professional colleague as she builds on the strong base she has built in our Social Work program," Gordon said.
Dean Richard Thompson of the School of Arts & Sciences said, "We are very proud that Areli took initiative by using her credentials. As a student voice for NASW, Areli's accomplishments make her a great representative of the College's Social Work Department."
"I have worked very hard and I am honored that my work was acknowledged by NASW," Dominguez said. She added that the event was also in inspiration to her. "The award ceremony was wonderful -- it was great to see people who have been in social work for years and to learn of their accomplishments."
Dominguez's mother attended the ceremony as well. "She couldn't have been more proud and she even cried of joy during my speech," Dominguez said. "I am glad to have made my family proud."
Dominguez was one of six honorees. Others recognized at the event were Keith T. Fadelici, Social Worker of the Year; Michael Friedman, Distinguished Service to the Profession; Tina Atherall, Merit Service for the Westchester Division; Alessandra N. Rose, Public Citizen of the Year; and Andrea Fallick, Program of the Year.
Dominguez has served one term as BSW student representative to the New York state chapter of the NASW. Her responsibilities include bringing the concerns of students to the board, and spreading the word of the group's programs and services to student members.