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 7 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.
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 2021, we worked 2,967 intakes, an effort that contributed to HOPE serving and assisting over 40,000 individuals since 2006.
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.
Joseph Harkins Jr., MSW, one of the newest members of our social work team, also started as a part of HOPE’s internship program, graduating with his MSW in September of 2021. As a veteran who served for 22 years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, he knows firsthand what our community goes through and wants to give back. He shares, “I missed the camaraderie [of the] military community. When I interned with HOPE, I felt at home, welcomed, and back in the military community.”
In his current role, he is committed to providing his clients with the best care possible, treating them the way he would want himself or his family to be treated if they were to seek out services. Because of his previous military service, he says that the most rewarding part of his job is empowering fellow veterans to overcome the challenges they face. He is inspired by each individual client’s unique story and the resilience they show in reaching out for support.
Kady Luke, MSW, has been a part of our social work team for 6 months as a Regional Social Worker but has worked in the field of social work for the past 6 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, specifically through her work with caregivers in the Caregiver Facebook Hub, which you can learn more about here.
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.”
Michelle Pompos, MSW, has been a social worker since 2012 when she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work. Over the past 10 years, she has completed her MSW and a Military Trauma Certification and Financial Social Work Certification. Michelle first came to HOPE through her husband, who participated in one of our Run For The Warriors events and ultimately joined the team after completing her MSW internship with us.
As Director of Intakes, Michelle oversees and supports the work done by our Intakes Team. This team interacts with clients directly after they connect with HOPE services and are often the organization’s first impression. In addition, Michelle serves as our Gold Star & Family of the Fallen Liaison and is instrumental in helping provide the resources and care these families need and ensuring that our team is trained and educated on how we can provide continued support.
Through her work at HOPE, Michelle finds fulfillment in seeing the impact we make every day. One of her favorite parts of her job is the financial wellness sessions she leads that help to alleviate the stress that comes with finances and the transition to civilian life. She shares, “My clients inspire me every day. Their stories of bravery and courage throughout difficult times inspire me to be a better person and social worker.”
Shelley Rodriguez, MSW, LMSW, CFSW, began her career in social work roughly 15 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, received her bachelor’s degree in social work in May of 2021 and has been with HOPE for over 4 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.”