JF&CS Volunteer News Spring 2012
JF&CS volunteer Susan Adams first learned about social work at a job fair in eighth grade. She decided that’s what she wanted to do when she grew up. But her journey took another road, leading to a career in software development, marriage, and full days raising two children. Now her path has come full circle as her volunteer work for Visiting Moms has led her to the career in social work that she always wanted.
“Software was interesting and challenging but not my calling,” said Susan. “Being a Visiting Mom was super satisfying. Being able to listen and make a difference to somebody. It’s so rewarding to help a mother at her neediest time in her life and to validate that person’s experience.”
Susan’s journey from programmer to therapist began in the 1970s when she was a new mom working as a software developer. On an outing with her one-year-old, she met Peggy Kaufman at The Mall at Chestnut Hill. Peggy also had a one-year-old and invited Susan to join her playgroup for new moms.
“I knew very few people with children and I felt isolated. Peggy’s playgroup was fantastic,” said Susan.
Susan and Peggy kept in touch as Peggy went on to found the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® and its volunteer network of Visiting Moms, a nationally acclaimed program for pregnant women and new mothers who are struggling with the adjustment to an expanding family. At the heart of the program are many caring volunteers, each of whom visits a new mom in her home weekly until the baby’s first birthday, offering support and encouragement. Over the years, Susan considered volunteering for the program but she and her husband Larry had started their own software company from their Newton home, and with a second child she was simply too busy.
The years passed, her children grew up, and in 2000 Susan had the time to volunteer as a Visiting Mom. It was through helping new moms that had been isolated as she was that she found her true path.
“As soon as I began visiting my first mom, I thought ‘wow!’ It reminded me that I had thought of social work as a kid. It reawakened a dormant desire. I decided to look into it,” said Susan.
Within a few months Susan had researched programs and applied to the Simmons School of Social Work. She continued as a Visiting Mom for another two years while she was in school, graduating in 2005 with an MSW and LICSW. She now enjoys a satisfying career as a social worker that combines elder protective services and counseling for children, adults, and couples.
Peggy is thrilled for her, saying, “Susan's story is a tribute to Visiting Moms. Susan came to Visiting Moms to give back to the community of mothers and to add a different dimension to her life. She was challenged by the work and by the range of learning opportunities that the program provides. Susan’s career in social work has been a dream fulfilled. Starting as a volunteer transformed Susan's professional journey.”
For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.