March is National Social Work Month, and we at HOPE are incredibly proud to have 13 social workers on our staff in various roles with various certifications. These individuals serve our warriors by providing care in critical areas such as PTSD, mental health, and financial wellness. Since most of our staff is part of the warrior community themselves, our social workers understand the importance of continuous support and use their personal experiences to go the extra mile for our clients. In 2021 alone, our social workers spent 2,089 hours working with 689 unique clients!
In addition to the incredible social workers we have on staff, we have a Master of Social Work (MSW) Internship Program so we can help aspiring social workers continue to provide support for our warriors into the future. We take great pride in our MSW internship program. Throughout most of the year, we have several interns working directly with clients to provide clinical case management while developing their skills and learning about military culture. HOPE has had over 70 interns since the program launched in 2012, and in fact, 10 of the 13 social workers on our staff have completed their internship hours with HOPE!
Meet some of this amazing team and learn more about them below!
Meet our Social Workers:
Brianne Sampson, MSW, LCSW, CAADC, has been a social worker for 8 years. She is currently independently licensed as a Licensed Clinical Worker in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California. In addition, she is certified in Substance Use treatment with her CAADC (Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor) in Pennsylvania.
When she was in her graduate program for her MSW, as a military spouse, she wanted to work with the military population for her required internships to be a part of the support system for other military families. This internship with HOPE led to her joining our staff full-time to continue positively impacting the warrior community. In her current role, she feels that working with clients who have recently experienced hardships or challenges, ranging from an unexpected loss to hospitalizations, is the most rewarding. She shares, “Knowing that someone is experiencing something difficult and different than their “normal” life, challenges me to be kind and compassionate. I support my clients the best I can and in a way that seems most helpful to them at that moment.“ Because of these difficult situations, it can be hard for clients to ask for help, but Brianne says that she’s continuously inspired by the resiliency her clients show just by choosing to “show up” and ask for support.
At HOPE, we are grateful for Brianne’s passion for serving other military families and the kindness and empathy she shows while making a difference in their lives.
While Danielle DiPrima, MSW, LCSWA, served in the Marine Corps as a military police officer, her empathy for the victims of the domestic violence and child abuse calls she answered inspired her to pursue a post-service career in social work. She started her MSW in 2021 and graduated in 2022 before interning with the HOPE Clinic in Jacksonville and then joined the HOPE team this past November. As a military spouse and mother of 3, she was drawn to HOPE by the prioritization placed on the relationship between coworkers and family. She shares, “As a military spouse, having this remote position means I can have a career, not a job I have to quit every three years because my husband got orders.”
In her new role at HOPE, she prioritizes fighting one of the biggest issues veterans face – homelessness. Veterans may deal with this if they lose their homes due to a lack of mental health treatment or disability. At HOPE, she can help them get the necessary resources for treatment, employment, or financial assistance.
When asked what inspires her most about her clients, Danielle shares, “The tenacity they have to continue to fight and try to make their own way is amazing. They’re reaching out, but at the same time, they’re applying for jobs and trying to increase their employment skills. They’re trying to make it for themselves, and that’s amazing.”
Haley Guay, BSW, serves as one of HOPE’s Intakes Services Coordinators, working with our clients on the frontlines after they connect to services through the application on our website. Each day, Haley and her team of Intakes Coordinators connect with dozens of individuals personally, hearing their stories and offering them solutions and next steps on how to access what they need. On average, the Intakes team works 300-400 intakes per month.
In her role, Haley is inspired by her team’s dedication to serving our country’s veterans, service members, and families and the perseverance and dedication of our clients as they seek help.
Kady Luke, MSW, LCSWA, has been a part of our social work team for over a year as a Regional Social Worker but has worked in the field of social work for the past 7 years. As a military spouse for almost a decade, she has seen firsthand the impact veteran service organizations have had on the community. This fueled her desire to support the warrior community from a professional standpoint.
Kady values client advocacy and emphasizes the importance of making clients feel truly heard while offering support and resources through their time of need. At HOPE, individualized care for each of our clients is something we take pride in. Kady embodies that value through the personal connections she makes with the clients she serves and assists.
She shares, “As a military spouse myself; it is hard to put into words how inspiring the caregiver population is. When I think of caregivers, I think of sacrifice, resiliency, dedication, strength, advocacy, support, and HOPE. Supportive care is a team approach, and caregivers are the backbone of the veteran’s “team.” They support the veterans in some of their darkest moments. They show them unconditional love and support and advocate for them when they need it the most. I am honored to support an inspirational group of men and women who have dedicated their lives to caring for our nation’s heroes.”
Michele Brackin, a current MSW Student, started her career in the social work field about 12 years ago when she worked in child welfare. She joined the HOPE team 5 years ago when she heard about us, and our company name sparked her interest. After visiting our website and reading about our programs and services, she knew she wanted to work here. She said, “The mission and message were so beautiful and resonating; I was drawn to the belief in resilience and rebuilding.”
Michele serves on our transition team as a Career Transition Case Manager but started her time at HOPE as an Intake Service Coordinator. In this role, she served on the “front lines,” the first point of contact our clients speak with after connecting to services. She emphasizes the importance of building connections in her roles at HOPE and is honored to work with our clients and the military community. Today, she cultivates those connections by helping clients pursue their professional endeavors and build networks.
Michele shares, “My clients continue to inspire me daily. Some have faced incredible barriers, yet they remain hopeful and determined. The difficulties that sometimes come with transitioning from military service to civilian life have not slowed them down. They keep going. For me, it puts things into perspective.”
Nicole Howard, BSW (MSW Student), has been passionate about serving others since grade school. But, while others were outside playing, she was inside designing her future counseling office. Nicole spent her high school years volunteering to further that passion within her community and at her school. Since then, she has served her community in various roles before coming to HOPE 5 years ago as an Intake Service Coordinator. In those 5 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and is currently pursuing her master’s while serving our team as our Lead Intake Services Coordinator.
Shares Nicole, “I came to HOPE 5 years ago because I was absolutely on board with their mission. To support our military families in times of need and to give back in a small way was exactly where I felt like I should be. I have never regretted my decision to come to HOPE. Their heart for the military community is inspiring every day. My clients are inspiring every day. Every day I come to work excited about whom I will connect with that day. I am not always able to connect our clients to a program, but I can listen and work hard to provide the best assistance I can. I want my clients to feel heard and cared about during the conversation. Connecting them to one or more of our supportive services is a bonus! The stories of these amazing men and women remind me daily of the resiliency of the human spirit, and that freedom is not free. I think that we as a nation tend to forget that.”
Shelley Rodriguez, MSW, LMSW, CFSW, began her career in social work roughly 16 years ago in the medical community. Over time, she transitioned into working with our military and veteran population and their families. Her work with HOPE began to support our wounded military community while they were in treatment for combat-connected trauma in Queens, NY. Because of her previous work in the medical field, she had a unique and relevant perspective that allowed her to combine her passion for her work with her passion for working directly with her own military family.
It is inspiring to see the connections Shelley and our staff make with clients and their families. She shares, “Our clients’ perseverance to succeed, often despite a myriad of challenges, translates to me as continued hope that we all can overcome our own challenges and find success, happiness, and improved well-being.”
Taylor Donovan, BSW (MSW Student), received her bachelor’s degree in social work in May of 2021 and has been with HOPE for over 5 years. Having been a military spouse since she was 19, she felt a deep calling to serve and support the military community. Taylor is currently pursuing additional training in Military Social Work and Trauma.
While she currently serves as our Transition and Financial Wellness Case Manager, Taylor started as an Intake Services Coordinator. In this role, she had the opportunity to engage with our incoming warrior community directly, hear their needs, and offer solutions. This experience, combined with her background in social work, has helped Taylor build a strong foundation in providing financial and case management support and emotional support for her current clients.
For Taylor, the most rewarding part of her work is watching clients overcome obstacles. She shares, “My clients inspire me with their resilience and willingness to continue. Often, an injury or obstacle will provide a barrier to the client’s desired outcome. At HOPE, we can support them through the process of overcoming and healing from these. The clients’ desired outcome within Transitional programs is to complete a successful transition with minimal impact on their lives. When a client can successfully do this – I find it to be a very brave thing.”