The Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) proudly salutes Laken Shelton, the 2020 BSW Intern of the Year. Laken is a senior from Henderson, Texas.
Laken never thought she would pursue a career in social work. But, having grown up with social workers in her life through the foster care system, she looked into it at her mother’s suggestion as classes began at Baylor. Laken declared social work as her major that day and has never looked back.
“I do feel [now] that social work is my calling,” Laken said. “I am passionate about working and walking alongside children and families involved in the child welfare system.”
This year Laken interned at Christian Women's Job Corps (CWJC) in Waco. CWJC's mission is to transform the lives of women and communities through holistic services focusing on GED and career prep.
“In this role, I was able to see women cultivate community and utilize relationships to promote spiritual growth and healing while accomplishing their educational and career goals,” she said. “I learned far more about forgiveness, healing, resiliency and community from these women than I could ever teach them.”
Laken’s instructors are proud of the work she has done in her field placement with CWJC and throughout her time at the GSSW.
“Laken has shown a tremendous amount of dedication to the agency and the clients she serves. She has made an impact on the lives of clients since the day she first started,” one instructor said. “During our fall graduation, many clients shared about the impact Laken has had on their journey at Christian Women’s Job Corps. She is a great asset to our organization.”
I believe God has now given me the platform of social work to advocate, empower and to ultimately tell vulnerable children and families they are not alone.
Another noted her excellence in performance (demonstration of competence in applying knowledge, values and skills to assigned learning experiences) in leadership, initiative, teamwork, and overall professional behavior and conduct.
Laken demonstrates competency in the social work profession and takes its core values to heart, striving always to make a difference in the lives of those she serves.
“When I reflect back on my childhood, I remember the desire to feel seen and heard,” Laken added. “I thought I was the only child on the planet that didn't have a ‘normal’ family. I believe God has now given me the platform of social work to advocate, empower and to ultimately tell vulnerable children and families they are not alone.”
After graduation, Laken will continue her educational journey here at the GSSW and pursue her MSW beginning this fall.