Updated: Feb 26
Stan Remer Inducted into Social Work Pioneers by NASW Foundation and Shares Life Reflections from the Field
Congratulations to former Virginia Chapter Board of Directors Member Stan Remer, MSW, MHA, LCSW, who will be inducted to the prestigious Social Work Pioneers by the NASW Foundation at an October 17 ceremony.
Remer has received numerous awards in the past, including the 2017 NASW Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. Because his father was a public welfare social worker and “model to me,” Remer chose to follow in his footsteps, returning to school to get his MSW at age 49. As a youth, Remer accompanied his father to some client homes, and the challenges of the profession and its leadership opportunities kept him in the field.
Here, Remer shares lessons from his long career--especially as a legislative advocate for social work--and the future of the profession:
What changes do you foresee for social work in the next five to 10 years, especially with the long-term impacts of COVID-19?
Remer: “You can dream to go as far as you want to. You need to keep you sights high and always work to move on to the next step in your career. However, you must prepare yourself for success.
“I have been amazed at the growth of private practice in social work. In working on my MSW thesis, I focused on whether social work being done in private practice was still ‘social work’ or had they left the profession with its goal of social justice and work in social agencies.”
What skills in social work will always be necessary to success?
“I feel first and foremost it is important to establish the relationship. In my early days, we called this the ‘casework relationship.’ If you do not start where the client is, you will never be successful in the field of social work.”
What skills or knowledge do social workers tend to undervalue until they have been in the field as long as you?
“I think ‘macro social work’ is the skill in the field that tends to be undervalued. If you can change the policy or system, you will not help just one person or one family, but you can help many thousands of individuals with the same issue or problem. I think this [understanding] led to my early work on social work licensure in several states, as well as my current work as a legislative advocate with Congress on issues related to social work.”
How has NASW and especially the Virginia Chapter helped you throughout your career?
“I joined NASW as a student in my second year of graduate school at the University of Missouri and have been a member ever since (over 52 years). Early in my career when I was on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, I remember traveling over 100 miles to Pierre, South Dakota, for a chapter meeting. NASW has always been a valuable part of my growth and learning as a social worker.”
Social workers are doing amazing work on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, to address systemic racism, and to support clients through innovative approaches and dedication. To share your story, please reach out to Executive Director, Debra Riggs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.