The Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work is proud to announce that Master of Social Work student Carlton J. Smith has been awarded the National Association of Social Workers Connecticut Chapter’s (NASW/CT) Master of Social Work Student of the Year honor. Smith received his award at the annual NASW/CT Awards dinner on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Inn at Middletown in Middletown, Conn.
Anticipating graduation from Springfield College in May of 2020, Smith is the current Director of Programs for Domestic Violence Services for Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis, a community-based domestic violence victim-services agency. During his time at the agency, Smith has excelled in multiple leadership roles and has secured over $20,000 in grant funding that focuses on prevention efforts and further support for individuals impacted by domestic violence.
“Carlton has worked tirelessly over the past five years working with both males and females to achieve his overall goal of ending domestic violence,” said Springfield College Associate Professor of Social Work Anthony Hill, who has been Smith’s course instructor. “It’s a pleasure and honor to work with a committed and devoted individual who has shown an ability to successfully balance his work responsibilities and adeptly put forth maximum effort in his graduate coursework as well.”
Smith has demonstrated a strong commitment to working with diverse populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and families, primarily in the areas of school-based social work and domestic violence. In 2013, Smith was hired by Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis to lead the pilot project “Real Strength,” a program dedicated to challenging the social conditions and beliefs that perpetuate men’s violence against women, and to challenging thinking in such a way as to engage youth and male mentors.
Because of his outstanding work with the “Real Strength” program, Smith earned the Meriden-Wallingford NAACP Community Service Award in 2015, awarded for his commitment to enhancing the futures of young men, through supporting their development of respect, trust, and resilience.
“I met Carlton in 2013 when he was first hired to lead the ‘Real Strength’ program, and I was honored to be with him, his mother, and his wife when he received the Meriden-Wallingford NAACP Community Service Award,” said former Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work Assistant Director of Field Education Sharlene Kerelejza. “Carlton grew to care so deeply about each person he served, he expanded the program to include individual mentorship whenever possible. Carlton has always demonstrated integrity, thoughtfulness, and humility when building the ‘Real Strength’ program.”
Along with excelling in both the professional setting and the classroom, Smith serves his community as a volunteer for The Salvation Army and as a board member of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce. Through an internship at East Hartford High School, Smith conducted individual, group, and crisis counseling in the areas of grief and loss, emotional disturbance, and social skills. Currently, Smith is interning with the Young Adult Services Division of the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn., conducting group-focused therapy for clients that addresses both mental health and substance use needs.
“Carlton’s dedication to service has a long history prior to entering his graduate studies,” said Springfield College Professor of Social Work Miguel Arce. “Most striking is his ability to tackle challenging material with enthusiasm and endurance. He is a true asset to the social work profession.”
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.