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    Social Worker of the Year

    We are incredibly proud and thankful for the work that our Encompass therapeutic team does in helping children, adults and families experience their worth in Christ. Today we celebrate Encompass Regional Director Lisa Haberbusch, MSW, LISW-S for being recognized as Social Worker of the Year for the Mansfield to Canton service region. We are grateful for her leadership as well as heart for others.

    We asked Lisa to share her social worker story.

    What prompted you to a career in social work? My mom used to talk about how my grandmother always kept a pot of potato soup on the stove just in case someone stopped by. She told me about all the people they opened their home up to and provided meals for. I wanted to do this for others. Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” I wanted to be the person who could see Jesus in those who were hungry, thirsty, unclothed, sick, or in prison and care for those needs. As I got older, I realized that helping others with their mental health needs was sometimes just as great if not greater than helping with physical needs. When I returned from the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic, I had a decision to make—graduate school to become a counselor or a social worker. I chose social work and have never looked back.

    What keeps you motivated when the work is hard? I teach social work classes at The University of Akron and tell students what an important job they have—they are the “keeper of the stories.” I feel called to keep the stories of others no matter how difficult or appalling the story may be. That’s what I think about when work gets hard—that people are relying on me and that God has called me to hold even the most heartbreaking story with honor.

    What words of wisdom would you share with those just starting in the social work field? One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received: never leave a piece of paper on your desk more than 24 hours. In today’s world, that would include emails, electronic health records and the like, but you get the idea. I would also encourage others to pace themselves. Social workers are known for their desire to change the world, but just like in the story “Starfish on the Beach” by Loren Eisley, we must never tire of making changes one starfish at a time.

    In addition to her leadership at Encompass, Lisa has served as a board member for six years at The Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Board. Thank you, Lisa, for using your profession and your faith to serve others. Congratulations for this award!


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