Critical Needs and Clinical Support Services are two of the most utilized programs Hope For The Warriors provides to post-9/11 active-duty service members, veterans, and military families. Without the support of HOPE’s many social workers, we couldn’t serve the number of military families we do each year. One of those dedicated social workers is Kady Luke.

Luke brings more than just social work and case management experience to her clients at HOPE; she also brings real-life experience as a military spouse herself. 

Growing up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Luke is now living in North Carolina with her active-duty Marine husband and two children, eight-year-old son, Mason, and two-year-old daughter, Palmer. Luke describes Palmer as their “firecracker baby” as she was born on the Fourth of July! 

Having been through six deployments and five moves, she knows firsthand the challenges military families face daily.

“Working at HOPE encompasses a strong sense of community. As a military spouse, it’s the first time I have been able to professionally give back to the community that has had such a personal impact in my life for over 10 years,” she shares.

It was also a fellow military spouse, she mentions, and HOPE employee that kept encouraging her to apply for an open position at the nonprofit. 

“I was working under a state-funded grant at my previous job, which was about to end. I began casually looking for employment but knew we were in a transitional period with a move to a new duty station on the horizon,” said Luke. “Kristy Warren (HOPE’s transition case manager, military spouse & caregiver scholarship lead) reached out and sent me a link to the regional social worker job posting and encouraged me to apply. She explained that most everyone worked virtually, and HOPE would understand our family’s upcoming transitional needs. I had goals to work with the veteran population since completing graduate school, so I felt the timing was right.”

She quickly learned that Warren was not wrong about the organization understanding the ever-changing needs of a military family. Not to mention a staff full of other military spouses and veterans looking to support colleagues not only on a personal level but a professional one. 

“I love working for an organization that is exceedingly flexible. No one ever bats an eye if you cannot find childcare, are trying to schedule ever changing pack outs, or are waiting for household goods to arrive. I don’t know any employer that is that flexible and understanding.”

Luke was also passionate about working in the nonprofit community and found that working for a veteran service organization was the perfect fit for her and her family.

“I love working in the nonprofit sector. It was hands down the best professional decision I’ve had the opportunity to make. I’ve had so much more growth here at HOPE than I ever anticipated. It is no secret that military spouses struggle with maintaining employment and advancing their careers and education with the ever-changing needs of being a military family.”

“It is refreshing to work for an organization that supports opportunities for growth and career advancement. Since becoming employed at HOPE, I’ve completed a certification course to become a certified financial social worker and was provided the opportunity to become provisionally licensed as a clinical social worker associate (LCSWA) in March to further assist our warrior community. Both of these opportunities would have never been made available to me if it hadn’t been for Hope For The Warriors. As HOPE evolves so do the employees that work here.”

Previously, Luke volunteered and worked in the social work field both as a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society caseworker and in child welfare through the North Carolina judicial system. Today at HOPE as a regional social worker, she provides clinical case management, advocacy, outreach, and assessment to military families seeking services. In addition, she assists with telehealth mental health support through short-term stop gap therapy until a client can get care from  a local provider in their community. She also manages the caregiver Facebook group for HOPE.

In her spare time, she is an avid reader setting a goal of reading 50 books in 2021, which she surpassed by 10. After completing graduate school at Edinboro University in 2020, she was ready to read for enjoyment and self-care. 

“This year’s reading goal was 40 because I knew we had a PCS to navigate. I also post book reviews online for friends and family. The reviews hold me accountable. I’m a huge proponent of self-care. I know it’s hard as a mom to find time for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes. So, before bed, I take 30 minutes just to read and it’s a great way for me to decompress.”