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Fruitful social work

Following events held in coordination with April being declared “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in Prince Edward County, we would like to highlight and commend the work of Ian Danielsen, Longwood University assistant professor in the department of Social Work, Communications Sciences and Disorders.

Danielsen created a forum for his students in which they could pursue ways to benefit the community, and they ran with the opportunity.

“The course that I teach is called Social Problems and Policy Development, and it’s a required social work course for declared social work majors,” Danielsen said. “And so the course is designed to be applied. The name of our textbook is ‘Becoming an Effective Policy Advocate.’ So while there’s obviously an academic foundation to it, it all tracks toward putting skills into action.

“So in this sense, we’re fortunate to have access to Richmond, the capital, the General Assembly,” he continued. “We tracked many bills that were filed, especially of a child protection nature. So my professional experience as a social worker prior to coming full time to social work education was in child welfare, child protection, child advocacy, so I think there’s a bit of a theme of that.”

Danielsen said his students brainstormed together and came to a consensus that they would feel good about a service project which involved asking the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors whether it would be open to authorizing a proclamation declaring April “Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

“That’s done in many other jurisdictions, and I’ve been part of those efforts before,” Danielsen said.

But he and his students did not stop there.

“We didn’t want to ask for something without offering something helpful in return,” he said.

With his students showing the initiative, he helped them organize multiple events, including a press conference that drew a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Wendy Gooditis, Prince Edward Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark, Farmville Councilman Brian Vincent, representatives of Prince Edward Social Services and more.

The press conference effectively communicated the reality that everyone has a role to play in child abuse prevention, whether you’re a prosecutor, legislator, educator, student or a member of the community.

The efforts of Danielsen and his students, who he enabled, have borne fruit in valuable ways in the county, and we thank them for everything they have done.