RICHMOND, VA: The Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers presented its 2021 Annual Awards for professional and academic excellence to three social workers, a state legislator, and a social work student March 27 during its Annual Conference.

Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award, the chapter’s highest individual honor recognizing a social work professional with a proven career-long commitment to strict ethics and the social work profession, as well as outstanding professional performance and leadership: Recipient: Kimberly Jones, MSW, LCSW, behavioral health provider, Horizon Health Services, Sutherland, Va. Social Worker of the Year, the chapter’s highest annual honor of a social worker and an NASW member who has demonstrated service beyond job requirements, has taken risks to achieve results, has contributed to the public's knowledge and positive image of social work, and has demonstrated clear, ethical leadership qualities: ​ Recipient: Alison Sampson-Jackson, PhD, LCSW, MSW, CEO, Integrated Solutions, Legislator of the Year, in recognition of policy leadership and achievements in the political and public arena of mental and behavioral health advocacy and policy making: Recipient: Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-25th District) ​ Public Citizen of the Year, the chapter’s highest honor for an outstanding community member who is not a social work or legislator but whose achievements exemplify the values, ethics, and mission of professional social work: Recipient: Jorden Costen-Sumpter, founder and executive director, Safe Space NOVA, Alexandria, Va. ​ Bachelor of Social Work Student of the Year in recognition of exemplary performance and leadership by a BSW student: Recipient: Emily Hewett, Christopher Newport University


“Through their many achievements and leadership during the past pandemic year, these five honorees have demonstrated deep commitment and high performance within the public and social work fields,” says Debra Riggs, CAE, executive director of NASW Virginia. “At a time when social workers have emerged as essential mental and behavioral health heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic, NASW Virginia is especially proud to applaud each of these award recipients.”