Social Work Month Alumni Spotlight: Trevor
Name: Trevor Blue
Degree & Graduation Year: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Minor: Alcohol and Drug Studies, class of 2012; Bachelor of Social Work, class of 2016; Master of Social Work, class of 2017. After graduation, Trevor obtained his LCSW and is a rostered Child Parent Psychotherapist.
What brought you to ECU?
I’m from Rocky Mount, NC so the proximity of ECU and Greenville to my family was a major plus for me. With my mom living in Rocky Mount and my aunt living in New Bern, ECU was the halfway point between the two, so I was always able to see them on a regular basis.
When I toured ECU, it just felt right. One of my best friends who was a year ahead of me in high school was already attending ECU, so I was already somewhat familiar with the campus. Once I learned more about what the university offered and the opportunities that were possible, I knew ECU was right for me.
What is your favorite aspect of Social Work?
My favorite aspect of Social Work is its flexibility and reach. There are so many avenues you can take through Social Work. You can go into policy and advocacy, direct practice with clients through case management, work in community mental health, protective services for adults and children, and so many other areas. You will find Social Workers working throughout the entire life span helping to ensure the best for our clients.
Can you tell us about your favorite Social Work course or professor(s) during your time at ECU?
My three favorite professors are Dr. Mary Jackson, Dr. Brenda Eastman, and Dr. Kelley Reinsmith-Jones. These three professors saw potential in me when I didn’t see it in myself and pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone. My favorite classes included Crisis Intervention, Psychopathology, and Social Work Practice-Trauma Informed Care.
Can you tell us about your current job/role/employer?
I currently work for a nonprofit agency here in Greenville called “The Power of U”. I am a Developmental and Mental Health Clinician for the Child First program. Child First is a trauma based early intervention program for children birth-5 years old and their family. Our program addresses instances of trauma that might manifest through behaviors of the child and/or contribute to the child not meeting their developmental milestones and needs. Child First also helps the family to meet their basic needs through care coordination while also working to strengthen the bond between the child and their identified caregiver. It is our hope that the family can overcome the effects of the toxic stressors and trauma in their lives.
I also serve as a part time teaching instructor for the School of Social Work at ECU. I taught online Human Behavior in the Social Environment I for the BSW program and I’m currently teaching Field Instruction Seminar I for the MSW program. I get to help support and have a hand in the education of up-and-coming Social Workers.
What is a typical day like for you?
For me a typical day includes making sure documentation is complete (progress notes, treatment plans, clinical assessments, etc.) and meeting with families who I provide services to within the home setting. I also attend community-based meetings to help familiarize the public with the Child First program and inform others about the importance of the work we do. I also take the opportunity to attend any continuing education trainings so that I remain competent in the field. Social Workers are lifelong learners, so to ensure that we are providing the best services we can to our clients we have to stay on top of our game.
Once I’m off work, I like to go home and either read, watch tv, or play video games to unwind.
What has been your favorite experience working in Social Work thus far?
Being able to see families achieve the goals they set and overcome the trauma’s they have endured has been the most rewarding and among my favorite experience. Knowing that I was able to help them at their most vulnerable and being able to have what we call a “Good Good-bye” at discharge makes it that much better.
Where do you see the field of Social Work headed?
I see the Social Work profession continuing to grow and advance with time. I see it continuing to branch out into areas that some might not even think possible. For example, in recent years Social Work has started to move into the realm of professional sports. Some NFL teams are starting to hire Social Workers and Mental Health Professionals to ensure the wellbeing of players.
In your eyes, what is the greatest challenge Social Workers face?
Burnout poses as one of the greatest challenges for Social Workers. That is why self-care is very important in this field. We deal with some of the most heart wrenching situations across all facets. This can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue so taking care of ourselves mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually is very important.
This year’s theme for social work month is breaking barriers. How do you plan to use your education, experience, and passion for the field to help break barriers for those you work with and in the community?
I want to help break the stigma of mental health therapy in the Black community. Social Work has taught me to look at the “whole of a person” and mental health is just as important as physical health. Social Work is also viewed as a female dominant field, and I would like to show men (especially black men) that we are also needed and have a place in this profession. Also, I plan to continue advocating and showing up for those who are voiceless and need the most support.
Tell us about your ECU and HHP experience?
ECU and HHP has afforded me opportunities that I never imagined possible. I’ve made lifelong friends and colleagues at ECU and for that I am forever grateful. Overall ECU means a lot to me, and I love being able to give back to the university through my service and profession.
Do you have any words of advice for prospective and/or currents students?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions. College is the time to live and learn. Also get to know your professors. They are human just like you and open and honest communication with them goes a long way. All my professional opportunities have come straight from my relationships with my professors and teaching instructors.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your passion for Social Work?
The field of Social Work has helped to shape me into the professional that I am today. I have no clue where I would be without my professors, colleagues, family, and friends. I owe it to them to be the best social worker and therapist that I can be. So, this month, I celebrate not only the social work profession but those who have ensured my continued growth and love for the field.