Graduate School of Social Work Alumna Karla Perez, Wins 2012 Leadership Award at 8th Annual Latino Social Work Task Force Awards Dinner

Date: March 27, 2012
Photo Credit: Dr. Ivan Quervalu
Photo Credit: Dr. Ivan Quervalu
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New York, New York – Karla Perez, an alumna of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, class of 2009, was recently recognized with a 2012 Leadership Award for promoting community services to Latino families and youth in poor communities.

The award was presented at the 8th annual Latino Social Work Task Force Awards Dinner last week at The Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, where Ms. Perez was an honored guest. In addition to the Task Force, the dinner was sponsored by The Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc., and The National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter.

Ms. Perez was honored for her work during the past four years helping people with disabilities and trying to connect them with higher education and job opportunities. She is currently employed as project director of the Work Incentives Planning Assistance (WIPA) at The City University of New York, a research program that aims to help people in the South Bronx with disabilities enter the workforce or enroll in higher education.

“I am humbled and never expected to be recognized for doing what I love,” said Ms. Perez, who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age seven and grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Academic social work is what I hope to do for the rest of my life. I want to help recent immigrants and other traditionally underserved individuals elevate their standard of living and break the cycles of chronic poverty with the most valuable tool – an education.”

Ms. Perez said that she began working at CUNY as an intern while studying for her master’s degree in social work at Touro. Working with the CUNY Research Foundation’s Youth Transition Demonstration project, she studied youth in the South Bronx who were disabled and transitioning from high school to work or higher education. Prior to coming to Touro, Ms. Perez said she worked with children and youth with disabilities and realized that she was passionate about helping families learn about the best academic options for their children and helping them navigate the complexities of the education system. That realization propelled her to obtain her master’s degree in clinical social work at Touro, she said.

“Touro College was the best option for me – diverse, and intimate, with great professors,” she said.

The Graduate School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work program is designed to train clinical social work practitioners to awaken and enliven the innate ability of individuals, families, groups and communities to learn to meet their own needs and sustain their own state of equilibrium, thereby enhancing human well-being. The program meets all academic requirements for both social work licenses: LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).