Ask any caregiver why they do what they do, and they will inevitably tell you, in one way or another, that they did not choose helping professions – the helping professions chose them. Terence Askew, MSW ’12, exemplifies this munificent trend. “A key reason why I decided to become a social worker is that I experienced being an at-risk youth,” Askew reflects. “I was abused as a child and eventually became involved with gangs and violence. It was difficult to find positive people who would advocate for me and understand my lifestyle, so I decided if I ever pursued a college education that social work would be my specialty.”
During his time as an undergraduate, among other contributions of service, Askew began a longstanding mutually beneficial relationship with the Buffalo Urban League at the Academy School 44, where he first served as a case aid recording data on at-risk youth. He ultimately translated these skills into a Case Worker I position, counseling at-risk students to avoid violence and seek empowerment through recreational activities and job referrals. A valued champion of the agency, Askew was recognized as the Buffalo Urban League Most Dedicated Sr. Case Worker.
This deep interest in creating a positive impact in the lives of at-risk adolescents, coupled with a desire to attend a program with a real-world impact and focus, landed Askew in the UBSSW. “Upon intensive research,” he recounts, “I discovered the great diversity and opportunities available when attending and graduating from the UBSSW.” Askew’s fieldwork followed the path he had so expertly carved during his undergraduate career: he served at-risk youth in a variety of capacities at Burgard High School and Health Sciences Charter School offering solution-focused therapy and mediation to students, along with motivational speaking and program design.
Post-graduation, Askew continues his relationship with Health Sciences Charter School as the school social worker, hired full time after his advance year field placement. One of his main roles here is community-based referrals for students and their families. “I most enjoy showing the students that they have some supports in place and helping them to overcome trauma and adversities that they experience in their lives,” Askew relates. With leadership and integrity emanating throughout his graduate career, Askew, who has begun to establish himself as a community role model, was awarded the 2011 Bertha S. Laury Award. He reminds those pursuing a social work career to prepare for hard work and commitment, but also that that dedication will garner great rewards.