Community Connection

Recent Stories

Giving GSSW alunmus named chair of the Board of Advocates “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” (Col. 2:6) While everyone’s walk with the Lord is different, Dr. Louis Gomez, MSW ’08, has found his calling by serving vulnerable populations. This year, Gomez was named the chair of the Board of Advocates (BOA) at the Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) after being a loyal member for several years. Before joining the BOA, he was a part of the Houston Master of Social Work Committee, helping the GSSW open its second campus. MSW Elizabeth Mukasa: Living out her faith through social work Whether working with the refugee community in Kampala, Uganda, interviewing vulnerable youth in Western Africa, or beginning her master’s degree at the Garland School of Social Work in Waco, Texas, Elizabeth Mukasa stated that faith has been the driving force in her desire to know and help others. “Faith is the only reason,” Elizabeth explained. “[My mindset is] just following what Jesus did, whether I’m a social worker or not. I mean, he spoke against injustice, and I don’t think I can be a Christian and look at injustice happening. He fed the poor. I cannot see my neighbor being hungry and not look for ways to help them. So, my faith is part of it. It’s not a profession for me; it’s how I live out my faith.” BSW Haleigh Culverhouse: Doing the work she is called to do Coming to Baylor from Freeport, Texas, Haleigh Culverhouse grew up with parents who greatly value social justice and operate a nonprofit organization which supports women at risk for or recovering from human trafficking. Their support, as well as a focus on mental health and self-care within her family, helped open her eyes to a career in social work. When asked how she felt about receiving the Spirit of Social Work Award, Haleigh said she was “surprised” and “honored.” She also had a sizeable list of people she owed thanks to throughout her social work journey. … Haleigh interned at Waco Center for Youth this past spring, where she cared for adolescents with varying mental health diagnoses. She worked under the supervision of a therapist and met individually with girls at the center to talk them through their thoughts and feelings before they were to meet with other staff members. She also planned and lead group therapy sessions MSW MSW Profile: Victoria Jordan, the Spirit of Social Work Victoria came a long way, both educationally and geographically, to the Garland School of Social Work (GSSW), where she received her MSW in May. Victoria is from Atlanta, GA and studied theology as an undergraduate at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. Victoria was named the 2018 MSW Spirit of Social Work award winner, and her experience at the GSSW was greatly shaped by her internship opportunities. During her first year, Victoria interned with Tri-Cities Ministries, a network of interdenominational churches united to care for local communities around Bellmead, Lacy Lakeview, and Elm Mott, TX. Victoria was charged with launching a case management program, including training volunteers and beginning to see clients, in order to better meet the long-term needs of those within the Tri-Cities communities. Featured Prayers for migrant children and prayers for ourselves Last Sunday we drove nearly 500 miles from Waco to Brownsville, Texas, to pray. When we got there, what we really wanted to do was sneak through the fence, over a wall and through a window of the repurposed, former Walmart used to house children forcibly separated from their migrant parents. We wanted to sit on the floor and hold babies, toddlers and preschoolers in our laps and wait with them until their mamas could come. We wanted to hear the names and listen to the stories of every child inside that facility. We wanted to shake the guards at the entrance by the shoulders and remind them that these are babies – children – someone else’s very best, most precious gift. We wanted to ask how on earth they could just stand there. Featured Meet the 2018 GSSW Alumna of the Year Dana Smith “What if you could change the system so the women you worked with [at the Christian Women’s Job Corps] were never in their situations or circumstances in the first place?” Dr. Rob Rogers said, years ago in a meeting with an MSW Capstone student. “What policies could have been created to change the systems affecting them?” This helped to change the direction of that student’s life. This conversation helped plant the macro social work seed in the heart of the Garland School of Social Work’s 2018 Alumna of the Year, Dana Smith, and that seed has only grown and flourished for nearly 15 years! BSW Meet the 2018 BSW Outstanding Student Jenna Hampton “You really have to find what you’re passionate about, and people who are passionate about the same things.” That’s exactly what Jenna did when, after a few meetings with Baylor’s career services, she found her calling to social work. Since discovering that calling, Jenna has realized her interest in the macro aspect of social work. Dr. Holly Oxhandler, Garland School of Social Work’s associate dean of research, opened up that door for her and was especially helpful in aiding Jenna through her journey. Within the macro aspect, Jenna’s focus has been at the intersection of social and economic issues. MSW Congratulations to our 2018 MSW Outstanding Student Congratulations to our 2018 MSW Outstanding Student: Elise Jones. From Oklahoma to Norway to Houston, Texas, Elise Jones has called many places home. It wasn’t until she started attending Lutherhill Ministries Camp in La Grange, Texas that she found where she belonged, which propelled her in a new direction of life. Community Houstonian Rev. William "Bill" Lawson Honored with Diana R. Garland Legacy Award A few years ago, in memory of Founding Dean Diana Garland and as a way to honor her work, the Garland School created the Diana R. Garland Legacy Award. This year, we honor the School’s dear friend, Houstonian Rev. William “Bill” Lawson. In 1957, the Rev. William “Bill” Lawson, joined the Baylor Religious Hour as a guest preacher. The BSU leadership went about planning for the worship service as they had most Wednesdays that fall... Research GSSW Professor and Baylor Sociologist Publish Research on the Effects of Worshipping in Multi-ethnic Congregations on Whites Many believe the idea that the most segregated time of the week is when Sunday church services take place. GSSW professor Dr. Clay Polson along with Baylor Department of Sociology professor Dr. Kevin Dougherty are interested in seeing how multi-cultural churches are changing this notion. They recently published a joint research article, “Worshiping across the Color Line: The Influence of Congregational Composition on Whites’ Friendship Networks and Racial Attitudes.” BSW Experience and Time at GSSW Helps BSW Transfer Student Flourish Often, being a transfer student at a new university can be a culture shock and come with its share of difficulties adjusting; however, for senior BSW student Jeremiah Moen, his background as a transfer student has helped him continue to dive into his passions and grow as a future social worker. Jeremiah started his college education at San Jacinto College in southeast Houston. He was taking general courses at the time and had not decided on a specific career path. After a year and a half, Jeremiah’s father suggested that he take a semester to decide what he wanted to major in. He told Jeremiah to take a class in each of the major subjects he was interested in to help decide. Jeremiah took courses in elementary education, engineering, calculus, and a counseling class.

From the Dean

Jon Singletary
Welcome to Community Connection online!
Jon E. Singletary | Dean, Garland School of Social Work

I am excited to welcome you to the new Community Connection online magazine. Just like our printed magazine, this new online version highlights everything that makes this vibrant, creative community so special: our students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, our research, our partners and the communities we serve.

Here you will find stories showcasing the work, events, activities and accomplishments of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. This version allows us to quickly push out stories in a beautiful new format with some pretty cool new tools! The new site allows readers to socially share the stories directly from the stories themselves … which we encourage you to do! If you find them valuable, inspiring or informative, please share away! This digital format will complement our print version which will still be mailed once a year. So, if you don't already receive it, please make sure to update your contact information so you can be on the list!

I am grateful for all the time, energy and resources you pour into our school. The work we do here and in partnership with people and organizations from all over the world is about making a real difference, a true impact. This is the heart of our mission, and I pray you will continue to partner with us on this journey. You enrich our lives in so many ways, and we love to share our stories with you!

We look forward to staying connected with you through this new outlet, and as always, we encourage to stop by and say hello if you are ever in town.