She's ready to get to work in social work.
On May 12, Candice Nail will graduate from Pittsburg State University with a bachelor's of science in social work. To gain experience in the field, she is looking forward to her placement at the Grace Episcopal Church. This 2002 Carthage High School graduate said she hopes her focus on Carthage will make a positive influence in the city in terms of crime and helping people reach their dreams.
“We operate on a belief that in order to have secure and healthy community people must help those in need,” Nail said. “It's always easiest to identify needs in community you grew up in and have seen the short-comings. But I have also seen the strengths in the community, and it seems that services hinge on personal relationships.”
Judge Brad Cameron, with the Municipal Courts System, who is also the director of social work at Pittsburg State, said he was pleased with Nail's progress.
“She is an outstanding student,” he said, “when I asked her if she wanted to attend a Municipal Court she she was delighted. Now she comes every Thursday morning … I believe she is going to do a great job at the church helping people with a wide variety of things ranging from getting their GED to housing.”
Through August of this year, Nail explained her duties will be tailored to the clients' needs as she connects them to resources and serves as an advocate for social justice. Cameron added her intervention will come when clients are in need of more than just punishment. In June, she is expecting a baby girl, and is planning on attending graduate school in the near future. She says she's not sure what the future holds, but opportunities are bright and dreams are big.
“I would like to bring understanding to the community in the nature of crime and what tends to breed crime,” she said. “What causes people to in trouble? People don't get in trouble because they're rotten to the core, it's because they are trying to navigate their lives with limited set of skills and knowledge … The Hispanic population is a large contributing factor in our community, and they get discriminated against, not just in Carthage but in general – They're people too.”
A major obstacle Nail mentioned that she has seen in her hometown is the lack of Spanish-speaking services. However, she says she's in the right place to do the most good.
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“We have a great working relationship,” Nail said of her placement with the church. “Grace Episcopal has a great outlook on the needs in the community – I love Grace Episcopal. They always have a wonderful attitude geared toward acceptance and no judgments. In social work you need to see the dignity and worth of a person, respect where they come from. In this field you see a lot of people who feel like they know what's best for the client. And with that approach you lose that trust quickly. They are the expert of their lives, and you have to work in those perimeters.”
Anyone interested in, or think they may benefit from Nail's services, contact her at Grace Episcopal Church, 820 Howard St., by phone, 388-3754. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.